HC Deb 05 July 1922 vol 156 cc371-2
39. Mr. HANNON

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies why it is essential for the success of the present financial negotiations for the development of British Guiana that control of the finances of this important colony should be transferred to the Colonial Office; and whether he has given full consideration to the local opposition to this step?

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Mr. Edward Wood)

The policy of the Colonial Office on the subject is explained in some detail on pages 87 and 88 of the report upon my visit to the West Indies and British Guiana which has been recently presented to Parliament (Cmd. 1670). and to which I would refer my hon. Friend.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that a British Delegation is at present in British Guiana with the object of encouraging development in that colony, and have not differences of opinion in the past prevented very large schemes of development taking place, and will he see if any arrangement can be made to reconcile local opinion and the policy of the Colonial Office?


Would it not be possible to localise the present antiquated system of financial control to Georgetown, its immediate neighbourhood, and work the hinterland entirely under Colonial Office control?


To the last hon. Gentleman I would say that this is a very difficult and broad question of policy which I must excuse myself replying about now. As regards the first question, I am aware that there is a British deputation at present in British Guiana, but I think it is more prudent to await the result of that deputation, whatever it may be, before making any statement.


Could not the hon. Gentleman give some encouraging words to these gentlemen, in order to enable them to carry on their negotiations?


That was the object of such observations as I made yesterday in the Debate—to offer encouragement in these matters.