HC Deb 15 December 1919 vol 123 cc36-8
Sir W. MITCHELL-THOMSON (by Private Notice)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he can make any statement as to the extent and origin of the disturbances in Trinidad and Tobago?

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Lieut. - Colonel Amery)

I received on the 6th December a telegram from the Governor of Trinidad, dated the 4th December, reporting that during the three preceding days there had been disturbances in Port of Spain, originating with a strike of stevedores, and that the mob had compelled the closing of the shops and commercial establishments and the suspension of traffic in the business quarter of the town. Other messages indicate that strikes and disturbances have occurred in the interior of the Colony and in Tobago.

The Governor has reported that the strike of stevedores has been settled by the grant of an advance of wages which has satisfied them, and I am happy to be able to state that recent messages indicate that the situation is well in hand both in Trinidad and Tobago. The latest message describes the situation as much easier. Indeed, the conditions in Port of Spain are said to be normal.

The official reports contain no reference to any attack on Government buildings. Valuable assistance was rendered by His Majesty's ship "Calcutta," which is remaining in Trinidad waters for the present.

I regret to have to add that two men, apparently rioters, are reported to have been killed, one in Tobago and one in the interior of Trinidad.

It is, of course, far too soon to form any definite opinion as to the causes of the disturbances, but there are indications that the increased cost of living has given rise to widespread dissatisfaction. I anticipate receiving a full report from the Governor in due course.

Major-General Sir J. MOORE

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the activities of a gentleman named the Rev. Mr. Hercules had a great deal to do with the unrest in the West Indies?


Are all these stevedores negroes?

Lieut.-Colonel AMERY

I understand the stevedores are negroes, but I have no information to indicate how far it is true that the anti-white movement which certain agitators have been fomenting in the West Indies was the cause of this outbreak.


Is it proposed to introduce a mode of permit order in Trinidad similar to that in operation at present in Ireland to put down these troubles?