HC Deb 23 June 1904 vol 136 c988
MR. SYDNEY BUXTON (Tower Hamlets, Poplar)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the coolie steamer "Tweedale," on arrival in Durban Harbour, was guarded by armed police boats; whether the wharves where the Chinese coolies landed were surrounded by armed police; whether the coolies are to be taken up the Rand in locked railway carriages, and whether, before their departure, their photographs and finger prints are to be taken for purposes of identification; whether these precautions are taken to prevent the escape of the coolies, and to ensure that they are not brought into contact with the colonists; and whether such precautionary action has ever been taken in the case of the arrival of coolies at British Guiana or Trinidad.


I have not received any official information on the subject, but I think it not unlikely that precautions were taken to prevent an evasion of the Natal Immigration Acts. I will ask for a report on the proceedings and the reasons for them. I am not aware that similar measures have been taken in British Guiana or Trinidad. I presume the hon. Member is aware coolies landing in British Guiana or Trinidad are not in transit to their destination through a colony in which they would not be allowed to remain.

MR. BRYN ROBERTS (Carnarvonshire, Eifion)

Might I ask the right hon. Gentleman, arising out of that answer, whether there is any authority for taking photographs and finger prints of these coolies for the purposes of identification, and whether the coolies will be informed that it is not lawful to do so.


It will be better to ascertain the facts before I give any hypothetical reply.