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British Guiana

Volume 344: debated on Wednesday 1 March 1939

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make a statement respecting the disturbance last week in British Guiana; how many were killed and wounded; and approximately the number of Natives and Indians working on the plantations?


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has any statement to make in respect of the recent disturbances in British Guiana?

The Governor has reported that since the disturbances, of which particulars were given in my reply to a question by the hon. Member for Shipley (Mr. Creech Jones) on 22nd February, there have been stoppages of work on several estates, but that work has been resumed except in one or two cases where it is hoped that work will be resumed this week. He adds that the position generally is much improved; and that there have been constant conferences between the Commissioner of Labour and the managements of various estates and with the trade union concerned. As a result, a working agreement as to procedure in settling disputes has been arrived at between the Sugar Producers' Association and the trade union. No casualties have been reported by the Governor in connection with the incidents last week. It is estimated that approximately 60,000 persons are employed in field labour on the sugar estates.

Has the right hon. Gentleman taken any further steps to meet the undoubted discontent that continually erupts in this part of the Empire?

I hope that the arrangements which have just been reached between the Sugar Producers' Association and the trade union will avoid trouble of this nature in the future, or at any rate reduce it to a minimum.

Will this have an adverse effect on the right hon. Gentleman's consideration of the reception of refugees in British Guiana, or not?