HC Deb 23 June 1948 vol 452 c133W
23. Mr. H. Hynd

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies in what circumstances police fired on unarmed plantation workers in British Guiana on 16th June, killing four and injuring 30; and what steps are being taken to settle the present labour unrest in British Guiana.

Mr. Creech Jones

A strike of cane cutters on seven sugar estates began at the end of April. As recently as the middle of April the established unions made agreements with the Sugar Producers Association providing for increases in basic pay to cane cutters and increased war bonus for all employees on all estates throughout the Colony. The strike, which was called by a new union and is not supported by the unions representing the main body of sugar workers, was orderly until loth June, when some intimidation appears to have occurred. On 16th June large crowds assembled on the Enmore Estate, and a small body of police were attacked by a crowd armed with cutlasses, lead piping and sticks. They were obliged, I understand, to fire in self-defence. Fourteen casualties resulted. Two of the rioters were killed and three died subsequently. A Commission has been appointed to inquire into the circumstances.