§ 68. Mr. G. M. Thomson
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement on the situation in British Guiana arising out of the general strike there.
§ Mr. Sandys
The eight week general strike unfortunately continues. The situation was already grave when my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Undersecretary visited the territory at the end of last month. It has since grown worse. Fuels and imported foodstuffs are running short, although limited amounts of essential supplies are being brought in. There were a number of violent incidents last week. The economic damage to the country is, of course, considerable and cumulative. The struggle is now more political than industrial, and it has become clear that the two sides are evenly balanced.
I should like to pay tribute to the British Guiana police force which, although hard pressed, has proved itself efficient, loyal and disciplined.
My hon. Friend received many appeals for intervention by Her Majesty's Government. I must make it clear that there can be no lasting settlement unless the Guianese people themselves work out a widely acceptable settlement of the dispute. I urge them to do so soon.