HC Deb 10 February 1943 vol 386 cc1297-8
26. Mr. Riley

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware of the widespread dissatisfaction in the West Indies at the slowness with which the powers of the Colonial Development and Welfare Act, 1940, are being administered; and whether he will take steps to end delays due to lack of whole-hearted co-operation between the Stockdale Commission and the local Colonial Government and those due to his Department?

Colonel Stanley

I am not aware of any widespread dissatisfaction being expressed in the West Indies in this matter. Nor is there any lack of whole-hearted co-operation between Sir Frank Stockdale and the local Governments. While there have been some delays in certain cases, the hon. Member will realise that war conditions make it impossible to proceed as rapidly as would be desirable. I am certainly anxious to expedite the procedure under the Act as far as possible, and I discussed this question with the Comptroller during his recent visit. In the light of this discussion I am considering what further steps can be taken.

Mr. Riley

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman not aware that in the West Indian Press great dissatisfaction has been expressed at the slowness with which the development Act has been carried out, and can he say who is responsible? It is a question which is constantly being raised.

Colonel Stanley

I think it would be well worth while for the hon. Gentleman to suggest to his correspondents that the person chiefly responsible is Hitler, because it is the war conditions that make it impossible to proceed as fast as we should like.

Mr. Shinwell

Are we going to put upon Hitler all the responsibility that should attach to the Colonial Secretary?

Colonel Stanley

No, Sir; I am perfectly prepared to bear the responsibility that should rightly attach to me, but the hon. Gentleman must not put the blame for everything always on to the Government.