HC Deb 28 February 1945 vol 408 cc1368-9
41. Wing-Commander Roland Robinson

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he can give the House any information about the recent fire in Georgetown, British Guiana; and what steps are being taken to alleviate the resulting distress.

Colonel Stanley

I regret to say that the fire which broke out in Georgetown on 23rd February involved very serious losses in the commercial quarter. Important textile, hardware and drug stores were destroyed, both banks were gutted and a number of Government buildings including the post office and the savings bank were destroyed. Foodstuffs were fortunately not seriously affected. The library and museum and the Georgetown club were also destroyed. The question of replenishing essential supplies is being taken up urgently. I have no official information yet as to casualties but I understand that these were not heavy.

Captain Gammans

May I ask my right bon. and gallant Friend if the Colony will be eligible for a grant under the Colonial Development and Welfare Act, if they are unable to meet the cost of this expenditure out of their own funds?

Colonel Stanley

Certainly they can put up any proposals, but I would point out that this fire occurred in commercial quarters where, presumably, the buildings were covered by ordinary insurance.

Dr. Morgan

Can the right hon. and gallant Gentleman say whether there is any possibility of a Government inquiry being instituted into this fire, especially from the point of view of whether firefighting appliances were available in the town and were used?

Colonel Stanley

I will certainly find that out from the Governor.