HC Deb 22 February 1898 vol 53 c1354

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has received from the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce representations as to the interference with Native traders and others on the Gold Coast, especially in November last, under the Gold Coast Compulsory Labour Ordinance; and whether that Ordinance sanctions the forced employment of carriers for Government service without resort to the revived authority of Native chiefs?


The Liverpool Chamber of Commerce communicated to me representations which they had received from the Gold Coast Colony, as to the manner in which the Compulsory Labour Ordinance had been enforced in November last. That Ordinance authorises the Native chiefs to call upon able-bodied male labourers residing in their districts, towns, or villages for service as carriers for the Government, but does not sanction forced employment, except under the authority of the chiefs. On the occasion in question the police, who were called in by the chiefs to assist them in putting the Ordinance in force, appear to have gone beyond the powers of the Ordinance, and caused a temporary disturbance of trade. I am in communication with the Acting Governor, with a view to the establishment of a better system of carriers for the Government, which will, I hope, obviate the necessity of resorting to the powers of the chiefs.