§ 5 and 6. Mr. LUNN
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) whether he is aware that $203,075 2133 was allocated from the British Honduras Hurricane Reconstruction Loan of 1932 for agricultural settlements; what was the reason for the grant of $100,000, afterwards increased, at the request of the Governor of British Honduras, to $200,000, to the Belize Estate and Produce Company of British Honduras; on what grounds the Governor, when recommending the doubling of the grant, maintained that it could be done without encroaching on other allocations from the Hurricane Restoration Loan; whether the company has fulfilled its obligation to repay the grant made to it, with interest, in three years; and whether the money thus refunded will now be made available for the original purposes of the loan;
(2) whether he is aware that a sum of £60,000 was allocated under the British Honduras Reconstruction Loan Ordinance of 1932, for the purposes of agricultural settlements; whether any additions have been made to this grant; how much of the original grant, and of any subsequent grant, has been used to assist the Belize Estate and Produce Company, Limited; how much has been allocated to the requirements of individual agriculturists; and whether any balance still remains for grants to small agriculturists?
The SECRETARY of STATE for DOMINION AFFAIRS (Mr. J. H. Thomas)
With the hon. Member's permission I will circulate the reply to these two questions, which is necessarily long, in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
My hon. Friend will see in the very long reply that I have given all details, and perhaps, if necessary, he will put another question.
§ Following is the answer:
§ The amount allocated for agricultural settlement in the schedule to the Tanganyika and British Honduras Loans Act, 1932, and in the corresponding Ordinance of British Honduras is £60,000 sterling. No additions have been made to this allocation. Under the powers of virement 2134 conferred by Section 4 (a) of the Tanganyika and British Honduras Loans Act and by Section 11 of the Hurricane (1931) Reconstruction Loan Ordinance (No. 2) 1932 of British Honduras there have been certain re-allocations of the amounts originally prescribed. As a result, the allocations for agricultural settlement (Head 4) and repair and replacement of Government property (Head I) have been underspent, while those under Heads 2, 3 and 6 have been exceeded.
§ 2. The amount allocated to the requirements of individual agriculturists to date is $9,500, and it is estimated that a balance of $20,000 from the Hurricane Reconstruction Loan will remain at the end of 1936, the allocation Of which has not yet been decided.
§ 3. The loan made to the Belize Estate and Produce Company in 1932 was $200,000 and no further advance either by loan or grant has been made to the company; $50,000 of the loan has already been repaid and an extension of three years from the 1st October, 1935, for the remaining $150,000 has been agreed on terms satisfactory to His Majesty's Government and the Government of British Honduras.
§ 4. The loan of $200,000, which was not, as the hon. Member's question suggest, a grant, was made to the company on the ground that it would have been disadvantageous to the colony for the company, which is the largest single employer of labour in British Honduras, to close down its operations. The sum of $200,000 was required by the company in order to enable it to plan a comprehensive programme of work. The grounds on which it was maintained that the loan to the Belize Estate and Produce Company might be increased from the figure originally proposed ($100,000) to $200,000 without encroaching on other allocations were that apart from any possible economies under other heads, a considerable time would elapse before the full loan funds could be expended on the purposes for which the loan was being raised, and that the rate of exchange then current gave a balance of more than half the additional $100,000.
§ 5. The question of the disposal of sums received in repayment of loans is under consideration.