HC Deb 18 October 1944 vol 403 cc2362-4
37. Mr. Riley

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he can give the composition of the committee set up by the Governor of Jamaica to deal with the recent damage done by hurricane to the banana industry; whether he is aware that there is no representative of the industry on the committee and that the committee has refused to recognise representatives of the banana growers.

Colonel Stanley

The hon. Member, no doubt, has in mind the committee appointed by the Governor to advise him on the requests made by the banana industry for financial assistance. Its work is completed now that decisions on those requests have been taken on the lines stated in my reply to the hon. Member on 27th September. I am circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT the names of the members of this ad hoc Committee, which included a number of persons experienced in matters concerned with financial assist- ance to the banana industry. No question of this committee according recognition to the banada growers appears to have arisen, as no further representations were made beyond the initial requests upon which they were appointed to advise.

Captain Peter Macdonald

Was there any representative of the banana industry on the committee?

Colonel Stanley

I do not think my hon. and gallant Friend can have heard my answer. The committee was appointed to consider a specific request put up by the banana industry itself.

Captain Macdonald

Is my right hon. and gallant Friend aware that the decision was very unsatisfactory?

Colonel Stanley

No, I am not aware of that. I believe that the decision, which involves the taxpayers of this country in a large sum of money, provides a very adequate basis for the banana industry to rehabilitate itself.

Following is a list of members of the Committee: R. W. Taylor, C.M.G., C.B.E., Financial Secretary and Treasurer (Chairman); Sir Alfred D'Costa, Privy Councillor, Director of various companies and Vice-Chairman of the Produce Advisory Board; Hon. H. E. Allan, O.B.E., Privy Councillor, Member of the Legislative Council, Member, Board of Management Jamaica Agricultural Society and of the Agricultural Loan Societies Board; Sir Gilbert Wainwright, retired Manager of the Bank of Nova Scotia, and Chairman of the Banana-Industry Aid Board; H. V, Alexander, C.B.E., Solicitor, Company Director, Chairman of the Agricultural Loan Societies Board and Vice-Chairman of the Food Production Coordinating Committee; H. H. Croucher, Acting Director of Agriculture; E. L. Jack, M.B.E., Manager Agricultural Loan Societies Board; W. D. B. Bruce, Food Controller and competent authority; G. G. R. Sharp, Superintendent of Banana Purchases and Chairman, Banana Disposals Committee.

38. Mr. Riley

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what it is intended to do with the surplus receipts from the sale of Jamaican bananas, which are now likely to be at the disposal of the Government; and whether any undertaking can be given that the surplus receipts will be used for the future stabilisation of the industry.

Colonel Stanley

His Majesty's Government can give no promise at present about the disposal of any surplus which may result from the operation of the Jamaica guaranteed banana purchase scheme over the period from now until the expiry of the present guarantee at the end of 1946. If such surplus is realised, its disposal will be considered at the time in the light of all the circumstances including the very substantial deficits incurred up to date in the operation of this purchase scheme.

Mr. Riley

Has the right hon. and gallant Gentleman no estimate of the damage done by the hurricane, and is the one institution which will make a profit likely to be His Majesty's Government?

Colonel Stanley

That is grossly unfair. His Majesty's Government, as the result of the appeal for help from Jamaica, are going to propose to the House the provision of a very large sum of money, and it is a great mistake to denigrate the generosity with which the taxpayer of this country is asked to behave.