Colonial Affairs.

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons on 4th August 1942.

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Photo of Mr Benjamin Riley Mr Benjamin Riley , Dewsbury

Yes, but the announcement to which I now refer is to the effect that President Roosevelt, on the request of the American Governor, has recommended that as from 1944 the Porto Ricans shall elect their own Governor on a popular vote. They will not only appoint their own Governor, but will have charge of justice and education which hitherto have been the prescription of the United States. Are we to lag behind in this respect? Someone has already asked when, in connection with our Colonial administration, our old-established Colonies are to have the opportunity to appoint their own governors.

Why should not the people of Jamaica, with their long experience, have that right which we deny them? There are large numbers of Colonials, who are as well educated as any in this country and who have no right to expect ever to become Chief Secretary, Governor or even chief officials. It is on those lines that I want the Under-Secretary to visualise the problems with which he is face to face in connection with our advanced Colonies, particularly in the West Indies, and I ask him to recognise that, sooner or later—it cannot be staved off for ever—the right of responsible self-government must be the privilege of the Colonial people as well as ours.