§ THE EARL OF DERBY
My Lords, I wish to take this opportunity of putting to the noble Lord, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, a question of which I have given him private notice. My noble Friend stated last week, in answer to a question that was put from this side of the House, that the West Indian Legislatures had been considering what new taxation should be levied in order to make up for the loss of Revenue resulting from the arrangement come to with the United States in consequence of the McKinley Tariff Act. My Lords, I have no doubt that the answer of my noble Friend was accurate as regards the West Indian Colonies generally; but, since that answer was given, I have received communications from certain persons connected with the Colony of Jamaica, who complain of the statement then made as not doing justice to the actual financial position of the Colony. They inform me that, although the total loss of the Revenue, consequent upon the new arrangements, exceeds £30,000 a year, it has not been found necessary, nor is it intended, to levy any new taxation in consequence. I understand that, since that answer, to which I refer, was given, some further information has been received at the Colonial Office, and I should be glad to know whether, in consequence of that information, my noble Friend is inclined in any way to modify or add to the statement he lately made.
§ * THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Lord KNUTSFORD)
My Lords, the statement which I made on the former occasion was made purposely in very general terms so as to comprehend all the Colonies; and, speaking broadly, the statement was correct; for the Colonial Legislatures have, speaking generally, been considering the question of what taxation, if any, would be necessary in order to make up for the loss occasioned by their action to meet the views of the United States. It is true that, as 1462 regards Jamaica, the Governor, in his speech on the opening of the Legislative Council, stated, as his opinion, that it would not be necessary to raise any new taxation in Jamaica,—the Revenue being, as the noble Earl opposite has pointed out, in a very prosperous state,—and that, therefore, he did not propose to ask for fresh taxes. I have no official or other communication or intimation that this view has been adopted by the Legislative Council; but, at the same time, I have not the least doubt but that it will be. I may perhaps mention some other facts a little more in detail as regards the other Colonies, as this opportunity is now given me by the noble Earl. I may state that in British Guiana the Court is probably now considering Ways and Means. In Trinidad I have just approved of some votes imposing new taxation; but there are some proposed Stamp Acts which have not been settled by the Council so far as we know. In Barbadoes fresh Acts have been passed and have been sanctioned. In St. Vincent measures came before me after I had spoken on the former occasion, and I have now approved of those measures. In St. Lucia the questions are still under consideration; and so also in the Leeward Islands.