HC Deb 14 March 1934 vol 287 cc363-4
4. Mr. PALING (for Mr. LUNN)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what progress has been made in the development of the goldfields in British Guiana by the building of the Bartica-Potaro road; whether any improvement in the communications with the Mazaruni diamond fields has been effected; whether the geologists engaged in examining the area have made any preliminary report; and, if so, what are its conclusions?


The quantity of gold produced in the Potaro area increased from 4, 999 ounces in 1932 to 10,020 ounces in 1933. This increase may be in part attributed to the improved communications afforded by the Bartica-Potaro road. A survey of a branch road to Tiboku in the diamondiferous area on the River Mazaruni is in progress. A brief preliminary report by the Director of the Geological Survey has been received, and this indicates that certain new gold finds have been made; but the report is not sufficiently detailed to admit of any conclusions being drawn as to their economic value.

5. Mr. PALING (for Mr. LUNN)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that there has been an extensive flood and destruction of small farmers' lands throughout the coast lands of British Guiana; that the Government of the colony has closed to the local miners the entire river frontage on both banks of the Mazaruni through the proved diamondiferous lands for a depth of one mile and a length of some 136 miles; and whether, seeing that exclusive permission has been granted to a company to prospect over the area for a year, he will state the name of the company and the promoters?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. A despatch has now been received from the Governor reporting on the steps taken to afford immediate relief to sufferers. Funds have been made available for relief measures. As regards the second and third parts of the question, I am not aware that action of the nature indicated has been taken, but I am causing inquiry to be made.


Can my hon. Friend say whether the Minister proposes to make any grant out of the funds at his disposal for the relief of the distress caused by these floods?


A good deal of relief is being given out of administration funds, and, in addition, there have been contributions from private sources.

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