HC Deb 26 March 1885 vol 296 cc654-5

asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether the Venezuelan Government have granted large concessions of territory belonging to the Colony of British Guiana to an American named Fitzgerald, who has formed a company to work the concession, called the Manoa Company (Limited); whether the concessionarie has taken possession of the land comprised in the concession, notwithstanding notice of its forming portion of the colony, and although some of it is the most valuable, the most fertile, and the most densely populated of any part thereof; whether residents have been seized by those acting for the persons entitled to the concession and suspended by the feet, head downwards, until they fainted, or the time for which they were to be suspended expired, on the ground that they had told the Indians, who were being forcibly taken away to work for the company, to go away into the far forest, or for any other and what reason; and, if these statements are true, what steps have been, or will be, taken by Her Majesty's Government to preserve the territory of the colony intact, to protect its inhabitants, and to punish the persons guilty of the cruel outrages referred to?


The Venezuelan Government have granted a concession of territory for a Company called the Manoa Company. The concession purports to extend to the boundary of British Guiana; but the Company claim as included in the concession territory which Her Majesty's Government consider to belong to the Colony of British Guiana. The agents of the Company have] issued notices asserting their claim, but they do not appear to have actually taken possession of any portion of the Colony. A Portuguese and I believe some others residing in the disputed territory were treated in the manner mentioned in this Question by a person who professed that he was employed by the Company. The Governor of British Guiana, under instruction from Her Majesty's Government, has sent a magistrate with a police force to notify to the agents of the Company and to the inhabitants of the disputed territory that it belongs to the Colony and that the Company will not be allowed to encroach upon it, and has taken steps to protect the inhabitants from further outrage. The person who committed the past outrages has been arrested and committed for trial at Essequibo.