HC Deb 13 April 1921 vol 140 cc1093-4

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that Dugald Cameron, late of 4, Baird Street, Govan, Glasgow, was granted a free warrant to New Zealand; that he had a situation to go to which he would lose if he was not in the Colony by a particular date; that his relatives in New Zealand had to advance his passage money owing to the delay in receipt of his warrant; and that he gave written authority to Mr. J. Coutts, secretary of the Discharged and Demobilised Soldiers and Sailors, Govan, to act on his behalf; whether a letter was sent to the Department on 17th December by Mr. Coutts returning the warrant with a full statement of Cameron's departure and enclosing the signed authority of Cameron, and, as no acknowledgment was received, a reminder was sent on 19th January, 1921; whether, on 27th January, a letter was sent from the Overseas Settlement Office stating that the first letter of 17th December could not be traced and asking for a copy; that on 28th January this copy was forwarded by Coutts and on 19th February a further note reminding them of the case; that on 2nd March a letter was received from the Overseas Settlement Department that the letter of 28th January, which was a copy of the letter of 17th December, could not be traced; and that on the 8th of March a further letter was received from the Overseas Department stating that a thorough search had been made but the letters of 17th December, 1920, and 28th January, 1921, could not be found; whether, on 14th March, another letter was received from the Overseas Department intimating that all letters had been found and asking to be furnished with evidence that Cameron had actually arrived at New Zealand, and asking Coutts to obtain from the steamship office evidence in the form of receipts that Cameron's passage was not paid from public funds; whether Coutts sent a letter on 15th March protesting against the conditions and on 19th March the Overseas Department wrote informing him they would communicate direct with the steamship company; whether he can explain the evident negligence in his Department as evidenced by the letters of 17th December and 28th January being mislaid; and whether, in view of the fact that four months have elapsed since the first letter was sent to the Overseas Settlement Department, he will promise a prompt settlement in this case?


It is true that there were oversights and delays in connection with this case, which I very much regret. I have given instructions that the matter shall be settled at once.