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Volume 387: debated on Wednesday 10 March 1943

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the extent of unemployment in Jamaica and the principal West Indian Colonies; the recent steps which have been put into operation to deal with unemployment; and how many persons are now employed on public relief works?

As regards Jamaica, it is not possible to give a reliable estimate of the total number of unemployed persons, but approximately 12,000 persons are at present employed on Government relief works. When the census has been completed more precise figures will, of course, be available. A loan of £1,000,000 has been authorised, of which it is proposed to raise £500,000 as a first instalment, for relief works, which include schemes for swamp reclamation, road construction, anti-malarial measures, food storage and rural water supplies. No figures of persons employed on public relief works are available for the remaining West Indian Colonies. I am circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT details of relief works in certain other West Indian Colonies.

Following are the details referred to:


The latest information indicates that there is no appreciable unemployment in Trinidad, but lists of work have been ordered to be prepared by the various departments to be used if the necessity arises.


The necessity is not acute, but funds have been made available for a relief scheme in case of necessity.

British Honduras.

The position has been seriously affected by the recent hurricane, and various relief measures are in operation for which a total sum of approximately £31,016 has already been provided.

British Guiana.

The position has been recently aggravated by prolonged rains and flood. One major and seven minor drainage schemes, estimated to cost £118,584, have been sanctioned in the last few weeks and these are expected to provide work for the majority of the unemployed in the Colony.