HC Deb 25 January 1956 vol 548 cc33-4W
Mr. Beresford Craddock

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies to make a statement on the recent announcement of financial aid by Her Majesty's Government to the Government of Grenada for hurricane rehabilitation.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Yes, As I informed the House in the statement I circulated on 14th December, the Governor of the Windward Islands was then in London to discuss this matter. He had prepared in the light of expert advice a draft programme of rehabilitation in all fields, covering both Grenada and Carriacou, and it was on the basis of this programme that the discussions took place.

Hon. Members will know that the damage caused by the hurricane to Grenada was extremely severe; all parts of the island were affected and all crops were very seriously damaged, with effects on the economy which will certainly persist for years. The resources of Grenada are quite insufficient to meet the cost of rehabilitation of damage on this scale. As a result therefore of the discussions Her Majesty's Government agreed, subject to the approval of Parliament, to make available to the Government of Grenada assistance up to £3.5 million, up to £2 million to be by way of free grants and up to £1.5 million by way of loans. This assistance, together with a sum of £312,500 from the current Grenada allocation of funds under the Colonial Development and Welfare Acts, and a further sum of £30,000 from Grenada's reserve funds, which the Governor agreed to make available, should enable an adequate rehabilitation programme to be carried out.

This programme aims in the first place at the restoration of Grenada's economy by means of loans to farmers to enable them to clear and replant their land. It is expected that the concentration will be first on food crops, and then on crops giving a quick return, such as bananas. Later the emphasis will shift to tree crops such as cocoa and nutmegs which take longer to mature. The programme provides also for the repair or replacement of destroyed and damaged houses and for the repair of damaged public buildings and services including the replacement of the pier at St. George's, the capital.

Hon. Members on both sides of the House will, I am sure, welcome this information. The need in Grenada was great and Her Majesty's Government have done their best to meet it.

Parliamentary approval will be sought in due course for the provision of these sums by means of a Supplementary Estimate during the current financial year and in the main Estimates during subsequent years. It is expected that the total assistance will be made available over a period of three or four years. Meanwhile, Parliamentary approval has been anticipated and sums totalling £200,000 have been advanced from the Civil Contingencies Fund in order to keep the Government of Grenada in funds pending the approval of Estimates; and it may be necessary to make further advances in this way before the Supplementary Vote is made available.

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