HC Deb 21 June 1921 vol 143 cc1074-5

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what is the present position with regard to the direct mail steamer communication between Great Britain and Trinidad and the adjacent West Indian Colonies; and whether an early arrangement will be reached to re-establish a regular direct service?


The present position is set out in my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Frome on 31st May. When His Majesty's Government have decided upon the question of a contribution from Imperial funds, the possibility of reaching an early arrangement will depend upon the tenders received from shipping firms.

26. Mr. G. MURRAY

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that the Air Minister has certain airships at his disposal; and whether he will, in consultation with the West Indian Aviation Committee, consider the desirability of securing these airships for utilisation in connection with transport services in the West Indies?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. I should be pleased to discuss with the West Indian Aviation Committee the possibility of using airships to improve communications in the West Indies. At the same time, I must point out that these large craft are not suitable for communication over comparatively short distances, and would in any case be uneconomical, if not actually impracticable, owing to the very large overhead charges involved for sheds and mooring masts.

27. Lieut.-Colonel Sir S. HOARE

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the proposal to lay new cables from Bermuda to Barbadoes, Trinidad, and British Guiana will immediately be carried into effect; and what steps are being taken to ensure the use of British wireless for British Honduras?


As a result of inquiries regarding the cost of carrying out the proposal for a new cable from Bermuda, it has been thought desirable to suspend negotiations in the hope that the total cost of the scheme to the West Indian Colonies and to His Majesty's Government may be substantially reduced in the near future. Improvements are being effected in the wireless station in British Honduras with a view to ensuring direct communication with the naval station in Jamaica.

Lieut.-Colonel ARCHER-SHEE

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the State-owned cable to Australia has been an enormous financial success; and cannot the Government come forward and help the communications of the Empire more liberally?


I can assure my hon. and gallant Friend that the Government are anxious to do everything they can in the direction he suggests. The whole matter is at present under review.