HC Deb 25 April 1956 vol 551 cc139-40W
38 and 39. Miss Lee

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) how many citizens of British Guiana have their freedom of movement restricted; and when such emergency measures will terminate;

(2) whether complete freedom of public assembly has now been restored in British Guiana.

49. Mr. Brockway

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies when British troops are to be withdrawn from British Guiana; when the restrictions on freedom of speech, Press, association and movement are to be removed: and when the former constitution is to be restored.

74. Mr. Braine

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the ban on public meetings in British Guiana has now been raised; and to what extent results prejudicial to law and order have been noted.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

In December last the Governor relaxed the Emergency Regulations regarding permits for public meetings and processions. Permits are still required for out-door meetings, except religious meetings and meetings in enclosed spaces. But for all meetings, including political meetings, these permits are being issued freely and with as few conditions as possible.

So far as I am aware, apart from one or two incidents, there have been no results seriously prejudicial to law and order. Permits are now required for processions only under the general law as before the Emergency. The Governor also in December revoked the restriction orders on eight persons and varied those on three others so that they need no longer notify their movements daily to the police. Restrictions are now in force on only eight persons. British troops will not be withdrawn nor restrictions under Emergency Order removed until both Her Majesty's Government and the Governor are satisfied that activities of the handful of Communist-trained agents will no longer interfere with the political and economic development of the Colony.

As regards the last part of the Question, by the hon. Member for Eton and Slough, I have answered a separate Question about this by the hon. Member for Salford, East (Mr. Allaun).

68. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what further political or constitutional developments have taken place in British Guiana; what troops are still stationed in the Colony; what is the extent of unemployment; to what extent the economy has progressed during the past 12 months; and whether real wages have risen or fallen.

Mr. Hare

As regards the first part of the Question I would refer the hon. Member to my reply today to the Question by the hon. Member for Salford, East (Mr. Allaun).

The number of troops has recently been reduced to one company.

Figures of the extent of unemployment in the Colony will not be available until the completion of a survey of unemployment and under employment in the Colony now being carried out by an I.L.O. expert.

The following factors are evidence of progress of the economy. External trade increased from $165 million in 1954 to $185 million in 1955, including a rise in domestic exports of $5 million. It is estimated that national income increased 5 per cent. in 1955 over 1954, and there was a similar increase in total capital in vestment. Government expenditure under development estimates was $18 million, more than twice the expenditure in 1954. As regards the last part of the question a year is too short a period in which to make comparisons but the Governor reports that there is no doubt that both real wages and the general level of living have risen appreciably over the past few years.