HC Deb 02 April 1930 vol 237 cc1262-4
29. Captain P. MACDONALD

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies what has been the nature of the replies to the communication from the Government announcing their policy in respect of the West Indian sugar industry; and whether any further communications have been made by the Government in response to these replies?


A telegram has just been received from the Governor of the Leeward Islands conveying the text of a resolution from the Antigua Agricultural Society and unofficial members of the Executive Council. The resolution states that the society and unofficial members heartily support the summarised recommendations of the West Indian Sugar Commissioners as being a solution of the sugar problem if given immediate effect, and urges that to prevent distress and destruction of the sugar industry, expenditure by His Majesty's Government in giving effect to the Commissioners' recommendations is reasonable. No reply has yet been returned.


Is it not a fact that all the islands have now rejected the proposals put forward by the Government with regard to the sugar industry; and do the Government propose to adhere to their original intention of doing absolutely nothing for the industry?


I am sorry that I have nothing to add to the statement which I made a few days ago.


Do the replies of the hon. Gentleman really mean that the policy of the Government is to destroy the sugar industry of the West Indies?


No, Sir.


Is that the only reply which has been received?


That is the only reply so far received.

21. Captain BOURNE (for Mr. TINNE)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether any of the improved seedling varieties of sugar cane raised in the West Indies and now in cultivation have been produced in Government establishments?


The majority of the seedling varieties of sugar-cane under commercial cultivation in the West Indian Colonies have been raised by Government Departments of Agriculture, notably those of Barbados and British Guiana. A very large number of seedling varieties, similarly raised by Government establishments, are also under experimental test both on Government experiment stations and on trial plots on estates. A number of seedling varieties of sugar-canes have also been raised upon sugar estates independent of Government institutions, especially in British Guiana, and a small number of such seedlings have possessed commercial possibilities and are being grown on small areas in some sugar-growing Colonies. There have also been introductions by Departments of Agriculture from other cane-growing countries of canes which have been reported upon favourably. A small number of Java seedlings so introduced recently are now under experimental trial in Barbados, Antigua, Trinidad and Jamaica.


Would the hon. Member tell us the name of the best variety, and who originally raised it?


One of the best varieties is Barbados B.H. 10–12, which was produced by the Barbados Department of Agriculture, and the standard variety in British Guiana is D. 625.


Will the hon. Gentleman tell us the parents of that particular variety? I would like to know whether on one side there is not rather a weakness.


I think I have given as much information as the hon. Member can assimilate this afternoon.