asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies to what extent there is a shortage of coal in Jamaica; whether the Government railway has had to dismiss employees because of the coal shortage of that undertaking; to what extent the Kingston Corporation had taken precautions to prevent either a coal or gas shortage; and why the Government stipulated earlier on that all coal purchase must be from Britain rather than from wherever it could be secured?
§ Colonel Stanley
The Governor reports that there is no immediate coal shortage in Jamaica, although there was a temporary shortage earlier in the year owing to shipping difficulties. The answer to the second part of the Question is in the negative. The Kingston and St. Andrew's Corporation took precautions to secure cargoes of gas coal well in advance of its needs, and there has been no shortage of this coal. Requirements of steam coal are small and have been obtained locally, and although some difficulty was experienced recently the corporation has carried on by substituting wood as fuel wherever possible. The instructions referred to in the last part of the Question were issued at an earlier period of the war, when it was necessary to restrict purchases in the United States, even of essential requirements, to the absolute minimum in order to conserve dollar resources. More recently orders for coal for Jamaica were placed in the United States, but the shipping situation caused considerable delay in supplies.