§ Mr. WATT
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that an assistant engineer at Lagos Harbour works named Kirkwood, employed tem- 1206W porarily there, has recently been notified by the Crown Agents that he cannot be considered by them for further employment in any part of the world; whether he is aware that the conduct of this engineer was certified as satisfactory by the resident engineer at Lagos Harbour works; that when such notification was made to the assistant engineer he asked for an interview with the Crown Agents and asked that the resident engineer, at present in this country, should be present at that interview, and that such interview was refused, and, if so, will he say why this course was adopted; and whether this is the recognised method of the Crown Agents' Department to permanently bar from their employment efficient engineers without giving them an opportunity of expressing their views?
The facts are not correctly stated. The decision of the Crown agents not to offer re-employment to Mr. Kirkwood was taken after consultation with the resident engineer, who, although he had stated in a certificate of service given to Mr. Kirkwood that his general conduct had been satisfactory, did not report favourably on him in certain other respects. Mr. Kirkwood, on being informed of this decision, requested that a meeting should be arranged, not with the Crown Agents, but with the resident engineer and the consulting engineers for the harbour works, in order that the latter might decide as to the justice of the resident engineer's report. The consulting engineers were referred to, and expressd the opinion that in such matters the resident engineer was best qualified to judge, and, as they saw no reason to disapprove his action, it was considered that no useful object would be served by the proposed interview.