HC Deb 17 May 1944 vol 400 cc169-70
32. Mr. Mathers

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the draft Constitution for Jamaica has been made available to the public in the Colony and when action will be taken to give effect thereto.

Colonel Stanley

Informal and confidential discussions have already taken place with the elected and the unofficial nominated members of the Legislative Council. The Federation of Citizens' Associations and the People's National Party have been invited to join in these discussions, but the latter party have declined the invitation. The substance of the proposals will shortly be made available to the public in the Colony.

Mr. Mathers

Is not the use of the word "already" rather curious, in view of the long time it has taken to deal with this matter? Will the Minister see that real progress is made, and will it be assisted by him?

Colonel Stanley

It will, but I do not think the hon. Gentleman has any idea of the length and complexity of the necessary documents which have had to be prepared, and on which I want the opinion of the people of the island.

Mr. Riley

May I ask the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the reasons why the National People's Party are not to take part in the consultations?

Colonel Stanley

Because, although one of their members is one of the elected Members, and therefore knows exactly what is in the document, they are not prepared to enter into consultation until the proposals have been published.