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West Indian Troops At St Helena

Volume 90: debated on Thursday 7 March 1901

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I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether on the 2nd of January last a number of West Indian troops now stationed in St. Helena raided the town with clubs and razors tied to sticks; whether a number of the people were injured, several women beaten, and some children cut with the razors, and twelve of His Majesty's sailors injured; whether the West Indian soldiers broke out of barracks, and set their officers at defiance; whether when they were ordered to leave the town they refused, and threatened to blow up the town; and, if so, will he state what punishments have been inflicted; and whether the West Indian troops have been removed from St. Helena.

There was a quarrel between the sailors and the West Indian detachment, some men of which created disturbances; several had razors tied to sticks, and one is said to have had a club. Some few of the inhabitants were injured, but no women are reported to have been beaten or children cut; five sailors were injured. Several West Indian soldiers broke out of barracks, though they are not reported to have set their officers at defiance. They hesitated to march next morning, but eventually did so. Nothing is known of any threat to blow up the town. In consequence of the disturbance the detachment was moved at once to Sierra Leone, where fifteen men were tried by court-martial, six men were convicted and sentenced to terms of imprisonment varying from six weeks to six months, seven were acquitted, and two are still in hospital awaiting trial.

With this experience will the right hon. Gentleman give an undertaking that these regiments of coloured troops will not be moved into the more civilised portions of the Empire?