HC Deb 14 June 1939 vol 348 c1325W
Mr. Sorensen

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware of the continuing and increasing unrest among British West African Natives with particular reference to recent ordinances operative in Sierra Leone, in particular the deportation ordinance through the provision that the judge may accept and act on less than legal evidence; whether he is also aware that as no system of birth registration exists in Sierra Leone it is impossible for persons charged in that Protectorate to prove they belong to it as required in paragraph 18 (1); and what steps he is taking to remove these and similar causes of unrest?

Sir T. Inskip

My right hon. Friend is aware that there have been some demonstrations in Freetown against certain proposed legislation, apparently owing to misapprehensions as to its nature and object, which is not to interfere unduly with the freedom of British subjects and British protected persons, but to ensure that the Sierra Leone Government has adequate powers to safeguard peace and good order. My right hon. Friend is in communication with the Governor with reference to the provision relating to the admissibility of evidence.

Compulsory birth registration is not in force in the Protectorate of Sierra Leone, but my right hon. Friend is advised that it should be much less difficult for a person to adduce evidence to prove that he belongs to Sierra Leone, if such is the fact, than it would be for the Crown to prove that a person does not, in a case of that character.