HC Deb 02 December 1953 vol 521 cc1156-7
48. Mr. M. MacPherson

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what action has been taken by the Kenya Government, following upon the recent trial and sentencing in Tanganyika of a Kenya screening team led by a boy of 19 years of age.

Mr. Lyttelton

Standing instructions have been repeated, requiring strict supervision of screening operations and care in selecting officers in charge of screening teams. I have called for a full report from both Governments.

Mr. MacPherson

Is it not true that repetition is not good enough in a case like this? Is it not clear, although the sentences are light, that in the case of one of the victims who died in consequence of this episode, it might well be held that the action of the team resulted in his murder? Is it not also true that if the ultimate justification of our being in Africa is—as it is—to hope that we can lead the Africans to a better level of understanding of living, then the entrusting of a task of this sort to a 19-year-old boy is evidence of casualness quite out of keeping with a sense of such responsibility?

Mr. Lyttelton

I have said already that not only have these standing instructions been repeated, but I have called for a report from both Governments. This episode is particularly regrettable, but I could not accept the general censure on boys of 19. Many of us owe the fact that we are here to their efforts in the last war.

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