HC Deb 30 May 1951 vol 488 cc207-9
31 Mr. Braine

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) whether any estimate has yet been made of the total financial loss sustained during the recent disturbances in Grenada; and what steps have been taken or are contemplated to assist those who suffered such loss;

(2) what steps have been taken since the recent disturbances in Grenada to strengthen and reorganise the island's police force;

(3) how many prosecutions have been initiated in respect of acts of violence committed during the recent disturbances in Grenada.

Mr. Cook

The strength of the Grenada police force has been increased and a deputy superintendent appointed. In addition, a proposal for the creation of a special police reserve is now being considered by the Legislative Council. Steps have been taken to secure a more effective distribution of the force, to improve its mobility and patrol arrangements, and to provide special training in dealing with disorders. Up to 19th May, there had been 27 prosecutions for acts of violence during the recent disturbances. These involved 57 persons, of whom 45 were convicted.

As regards Question No. 31, I would refer the hon. Member to statements made in reply to Questions on this subject on 4th and 11th April.

Mr. Braine

Is it not clear that the inability of the island's police force to cope with the situation which led to the employment of Service men is an added reason for pressing on with the integration of the services, particularly the police, in the West Indies? In respect of the last part of the Minister's reply to Question 31, would he agree that, to the extent that these losses were sustained as a result of the breakdown of authority in the island, there is a clear moral obligation upon the part of the authorities to make compensation to those who lost?

Mr. Peter Smithers

Will the Minister reconsider the decision not to issue a White Paper on these disturbances? Does he not think that in view of their prolonged and serious nature a White Paper would be extremely valuable?

Mr. Cook

That will be considered.

Mr. Eden

The hon. Gentleman will probably remember that on the occasion of the earlier statements we asked for a full report on what had happened so that the House could consider all its implications which, of course, extend beyond the island itself. I should be obliged if the hon. Gentleman would see what he can do in this matter.

Mr. Cook

In reply to the earlier part of the question, my right hon. Friend's labour adviser is in the territories and we are awaiting full reports before deciding what further steps to take.

Mr. Eden

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that we have been awaiting this report for some months and we have shown every restraint? Surely the labour adviser could send a telegram or something of that sort?

Mr. Cook

It is much better to wait until we get the full information, so that we can consider every implication.

Mr. Eden

When will that be?

Mr. Cook

As soon as possible.

Mr. E. L. Mallalieu

What steps are being taken to cure the disease underlying these disorders?

Mr. Pickthorn

Can the hon. Gentleman tell us whether the ante-penultimate shaking of his head meant that His Majesty's Government take it for granted that there is no question of any compensation for any person injured in his personal property during these disturbances?

Mr. Cook

Ex gratia payments are under consideration, and there was no ante-penultimate shaking of the head.