HC Deb 08 March 1939 vol 344 cc2127-8
34. Mr. Lyons

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he can make any statement on the position of the recent strike in Trinidad and Jamaica; whether Mr. Uriah Butler is still in custody and for what sentence; for what offence he is being detained; and whether, in view of the representations made in the matter, any decision has been reached as to his release?

Mr. M. MacDonald

As the answer is rather long I will, with my hon. and learned Friend's permission, circulate it in the Official Report.

Following is the answer:

With regard to the recent strikes in Jamaica I have nothing to add to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Consett (Mr. David Adams) and other hon. Members on 22nd February. In Trinidad 450 employés of the Trinidad Lake Asphalt Company stopped work on 22nd February demanding wage increases. The stoppage was not authorised by the two unions to which the workers belong, and they immediately urged the men to return to work. They had all returned to work by 27th February, pending negotiations. There was also a short strike of about 80 unorganised sugar workers on one of the estates of the Sainte Madeleine Sugar Company. There was some friction here between a few of the strikers and the management on 27th February, but prompt intervention by the police prevented the development of trouble. All the strikers resumed work on 2nd March in a peaceful atmosphere which still continues.

As regards the latter part of the question, Mr. Uriah Butler is in custody serving a sentence of two years' imprisonment with hard labour following a conviction by the Supreme Court of Trinidad for sedition. He appealed to the Trinidad Court of Criminal Appeal, but his appeal was dismissed; and he has now been given leave to appeal to the Privy Council on the ground that the Trinidad Appeal Court was not legally constituted. This case must therefore be regarded as sub judice.

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