§ 53. Mr. Paling
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the terms of settlement offered to the sugar workers in British Guiana have been rejected on any of the plantations; and will he state the amount of wages paid, the amount of increase offered, and whether the terms include extra tasks for the workers concerned?
The terms of settlement offered were rejected by the factory 1905 workers on one of the estates and the field workers on another. The terms offered represent increases of from 20 to 25 per cent. for heavier field work and from 10 to 12 per cent. for weeding and light field work, and these increased rates work out at from 2s. 8d. to 3s. a day for heavy field work and from 1s. 4d. to 2s. 6d. a day for weeding and light work, on which lads and women are mostly employed. I understand that in no case have the tasks prescribed been increased.
I am afraid I could not say without notice, but I will let the hon. Member have that information.
56. Mr. David Adams
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies when he expects to receive the report of the economic survey now being prepared in British Guiana; and whether its terms of reference include the question of the opening up of the country for further immigration from the West Indies or elsewhere?
I presume that the hon. Member is referring to the programme of agricultural economic surveys of the cane-farming, rice and coffee industries, which is being carried out by the Agricultural Department. These surveys were started this year and are to be spread over a period of three years. As regards the second part of the question, the principal object of these surveys is to secure information as to the type of farm unit most appropriate to the conditions existing in the areas surveyed. Such information is of high importance in formulating schemes for agricultural settlement, but in this connection I would invite attention to the report of the West Indian Sugar Commission, which is most discouraging as to the prospects of permanent agricultural settlement in the interior of British Guiana.
In view of the urgency of some form of immigration from parts of the West Indies, will this matter receive further consideration from the Minister?
It is receiving my consideration, and I hope to get some assistance on the matter from the Royal 1906 Commission which is to visit these Colonies in the near future.