27. Mr. WILSON
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what changes there have been in he control of the liquor traffic in the Seychelles Islands; why the changes were necessary; and whether there are any statistics to indicate the condition generally before the changes and since?
§ 25. Mr. LECKIE
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has received from the Governor of the Seychelles any indication of the promised proposals for a more effective control of the liquor traffic; and, if so, what are their nature?
Mr. J. H. THOMAS
Ordinances were passed in December last for the more effectual control of the production of alcoholic beverages in the Seychelles. As a description of the changes which these Ordinances effect involves points of detail, I am circulating a full statement in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
§ Following is the statement:
§ Ordinances were passed in December, 1935, regulating the manufacture of bacca and toddy, which are fermented beverages made from the juice of crushed sugarcane and the coconut palm respectively. Prior to their enactment no alcoholic beverage might be manufactured in. the Colony except bacca. The previous system of licensing sugar-cane areas for the production of bacca proved to be unsatisfactory, as it did not prevent the adulteration of the product with cheap imported sugar. Manufacture is now permitted only under strict police supervision in licensed mills, and an excise tax is levied on the product. The registration of sugar-cane areas is maintained as an additional check on the production of bacca. The manufacture of toddy was formerly illegal, but the prohibition proved impossible to enforce, owing to the fact that the inhabited part of the Seychelles Group includes many scattered islands, with some of which communication is infrequent, and where supplies of the permitted beverage, bacca, are frequently not procurable. In addition, the raw material, namely the coconut palm, is readily available in all parts of the Colony. I have no detailed statistics as to the position regarding the manufacture of alcoholic beverages before the passage of the recent Ordinances; but I understand that in 1933, for example, the 215,000 litres of bacca sold by the licensed taverns were more than could have been manufactured from the registered sugarcane areas. The attempts to suppress the manufacture and consumption of toddy involved the Police Department in a quite disproportionate amount of fruitless labour, especially in the remoter islands. Too short a time has elapsed since the introduction of the new methods of control to enable a report to be furnished as to their operation.