§ 33. Mr. Sorensen
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is now prepared to make a public statement on the action to be recommended by the Governor of the Bahamas to meet the present situation; whether there is any intention to recommend a more equitable taxation system, an extension of the franchise, or lowering of the qualifications for elected members and the grant of expenses to members from the Out Islands so that these communities may be represented by their own people?
§ Colonel Stanley
I would refer the hon. Member to the written statement on the subject which has been placed in the Library of the House. I will send the hon. Member a copy of this statement, paragraph 7 of which deals with the matter of taxation. As regards the question of the franchise, the recent Commission of Inquiry recommended that no change should be made in the present qualifications. As regards the last part of the Question, the Bahamas Legislature will no doubt be giving early consideration to the extension of the secret ballot to the Out Islands. Meanwhile, the Governor does not recommend the payment of expenses. He thinks, however, that if the secret ballot is so extended and results in a certain number of Out Island residents being returned for their own districts, assistance in the form of an allowance might then be considered.
§ Mr. Sorensen
Does the right hon. and gallant Gentleman realise that the point of my Question lay precisely in the desire for a public statement? Could he therefore publicise the information which has been laid in the Library?
§ Colonel Stanley
The hon. Gentleman knows that we are having a Debate on the next Sitting Day which covers exactly this point. No doubt he, and certainly I, will make use of that opportunity.