HC Deb 05 May 1913 vol 52 cc1695-7W

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will give the exact terms of the present apportionment of the cost of immigration in Jamaica, British Guiana, and Trinidad, between the Colony, the agricultural community, whether employing indentured labour or not, and the direct charge to those employing indentured labour, giving the annual total costs under each head and the proportional per capita cost per labourer employed?


In all the three Colonies—Jamaica, British Guiana, and Trinidad—the cost of immigration is defrayed from an immigration fund. The revenue of the funds in the different Colonies is derived from the following sources:—

  1. (1) Jamaica.—Hitherto a fee of £15 10s. cash on allotment or £17 10s. by instalments charged to the employer of each immigrant indentured. The fee has recently been raised to £20 10s. A fee of 1s. a week or, in certain circumstances £2 10s. a year, is charged for each immigrant not engaged under a contract of service during the five years succeeding the expiration of his indenture. The sums received in the year 1911–12 under these heads were £12,408 16s. 9d. and £1,688 6s. 3d., respectively. In this Colony 1696 general revenue has hitherto defrayed any deficiency in the fund, but it is calculated that the recent increase in the indenture fee will render any such contribution unnecessary for the future. In the year ended 31st March, 1912, the charge to general revenue, according to the Report of the Protector of Immigrants, was £282 10s. 4d., which, on 2,841 labourers, came to 2s. per head.
  2. (2) British Guiana.—The fund is composed of: (a) An indenture fee fixed from time to time by the Governor and Court of Policy, at present £12 10s. per head for each adult labourer introduced, and one-half of that sum in respect of each minor; £13,186 9s. 2d. (63,295 dols.) was received from employers in 1911–12. (b) A special tax on sugar estates of:—(i.) 6s. 3d. per acre on land actually under cane cultivation; (ii.) One penny per acre on land which is not actually under cane cultivation. Land leased to farmers is exempt. This tax produced £21,808 11s. 4d. (104,681.13 dols.) in 1911–12. In British Guiana there has not of recent years been any deficiency in the immigration fund, and consequently no charge on general revenue.
  3. (3) Trinidad.—The fund was until recently raised from (a) a fee of £5 for each adult introduced; (b) a fee of £2 10s. for each minor, and (c) a special fee of £1 11s. 6d. per head on all persons introduced towards the expenses of repatriation. In 1911–12 the fees received amounted to £11,459 17s. (d) A special tax on certain specified articles of produce exported. This Export Duty varies from year to year, but is at the present time:—On sugar, 4s. 9½d. per 1,000 lbs.; on molasses, 2s. 4d. per 100 gallons; on rum and bitters, 10s. 3d. per 100 gallons; on cocoa, 5½d. per 100 lbs.; on coffee, 9½d. per 100 lbs.; on cocoanuts, 1s. 2d. per 1,000 nuts; on copra, 4s. per 1,000 lbs. The revenue from these taxes in 1911–12 was £24,824 3s. 11d. In Trinidad general revenue has hitherto been supposed to pay one-third of the cost of immigration, but owing to the difference in the systems of reckoning adopted, the accounts are not easily comparable with those of British Guiana and Jamaica. A change has recently been made in order to bring the apportionment of the cost into line with that adopted in those Colonies and to ensure that the immigration fund shall in future be self-supporting. As from 1st April instant the Governor in Executive Council has received power to vary the indenture fees, which have been fixed 1697 for the present at £7 5s. per head for adults and £3 12s. 6d. per head for minors, and it is estimated that this increase will make the fund self-supporting.

The expenditure from the above funds for the last year in respect of which figures are available is as follows:—

  1. (1) Jamaica.—In the year ended 31st March, 1912, the expenditure out of the fund, according to the report of the Protector, was £14,546 7s. 4d. in respect of 2,841 labourers, or £5 2s. 5d. per head, of the Indians under indenture. General revenue contributed £282 10s. 4d., or 2s. per head.
  2. (2) British Guiana.—In 1911–12 according to the report of the Receiver-General 211,833.70 dols. (£44,132) was expended in respect of 9,141 labourers under indenture, or £4 16s. 6d. per head.
  3. (3) In Trinidad.—Figures are, of course, not as yet available as regards expenditure under the new system which came into force on 1st April. Under the old system the total expenditure paid from the immigration fund was £81,846 13s. 9d. for the year 1911–12 in respect of 9,627 indentured labourers, or £8 10s. per head, of which, according to the method of calculation then in force, 1–3, namely, £27,282, or £2 16s. 8d. per head, would have been reckoned as paid from general revenue.

Under the system now in force in all three Colonies expenditure out of the Immigration fund does not include services rendered by the medical departments to East Indians, whether under indenture or not, or the salaries of the Protector and Staff of the Immigration Departments, which are part of the general expenditure of the Government of the Colony.