Nos. 1 50
April 1954- June 1955
PUBLISHED BY THE
GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES,
In British Guiana there are many subjects of topical interest
on which there is usually much background information useful
to interested persons, overseas as well as in B.G.
Some of this background material has been prepared and
issued by the Government Information Services during the past
year in a series of articles entitled "Informatives". The first
50 of these articles, issued between June, 1954 and May, 1955,
have now been brought together under a single cover for use as a
handy reference book.
This first volume covers the background to various phases
of industrial, social and political development in the Colony.
It also includes a summary of the discussions in British Guiana
on the proposed British Caribbean Federation.
The facts and figures stated in these Informatives are based
on information collected up to the time of their individual
issue (see Table of Contents). Another volume of 50 Informa-
tives will shortly be issued.
ISSUED JUNE, 1954
Amerindian Affairs (No. 1) ..
Tenant Canefarming Pilot Scheme ..
The British Guiana $44 Million Development Programme
The Rice Industry in British Guiana
The Co-operative Movement .
ISSUED JULY, 1954
7. Schools Broadcasting
8. The Beef Industry
9. The British Guiana Credit Corporation
10. Copra Production in British Guiana
11. Bauxite in British Guiana
12. The Forests of British Guiana
ISSUED AUGUST, 1954
13. Health Conditions in British Guiana
Drainage and Irrigation in British Guiana ..
Education in British Guiana
Some Aspects of Community Development
in Rural Areas .
ISSUED SEPTEMBER, 1954
17. Mining in British Guiana
18. British Guiana Timbers, Ltd., a subsidiary of the Colonial
Development Corporation .
ISSUED OCTOBER, 1954
20. Amerindian Affairs (No. 2)
21. Fisheries of British Guiana
22. Trade Unionism in British Guiana
ISSUED NOVEMBER, 1954
23. Broadcasting in British Guiana
24. British Guiana Credit Corporation-Progress Report
25. Rural and Cottage Industries ..
26. Population of the Corentyne Coast, 1953
27. The "Pay-off": Bigger Population, Better
Life Expectation .
Development Programme (Progress Report)
British Guiana Constitution Commission Report, 1954.,
Address by Sir Alfred Savage to Legislative Council
Summary of Report ..
ISSUED JANUARY, 1955
30. Conditions for Entry into British Guiana .
ISSUED FEBRUARY, 1955
31. Government Broadcasting
32. Development of Government Technical Institute ..
33. The B.C.G. Campaign in British Guiana ..
34. The Post Office Savings Bank
35. The Essequibo Coast ...
36. The Public Free Library
37. Family Allowances .
ISSUED MARCH, 1955
38. Some Notes on British Guiana for Prospectors
ISSUED APRIL, 1955
39. Recruitment and Training in British Guiana Public Service
40. Sugar Production, 1954
Banking in British Guiana
Guianese Farmers on Work-
on American Farms
Cattle Rearing in British G
Soil Surveys in British Gui
Governor's Address at Oped
The Co-operative Movement
Government Technical Insti
Government Analyst Depar
ISSUED MAY, 1955
49. Self-Help. in Berbice
50. British Caribbean Federatic
The Record of B
! of Second
- Refresher Co
No. I. Amerindian Affairs.
His Excellency the Governor recently appointed a Central
Amerindian Development Committee, which will be responsible
for advising the British Guiana Government on the economic
and social development of Amerindians throughout the Colony.
In order to ensure that the views of the widely scattered Amerin-
dian communities are represented as fully as possible the Cen-
tral Commnittee has been authorised to appoint area sub-commit-
tees where necessary.
By the appointment of this Committee, Government recog-
nises that the Amerindians, being for the most part a backward
people, are the wards of Government, deserving of special privi-
leges and protection. Moreover, that it should be possible
and certainly desirable to adapt Amerindians to western civili-
zation so that they are able to play a larger part in the general
life of the Colony.
The total Amerindian population in British Guiana, which
may be divided into two main groups:-Coastland and
-Hinterland, is approximately 1-6,000. The Coastland group num-
bering approximately 9,000 are mainly engaged in farming and
the timber industry where they have given notable service. The
majority of these are civilised and literate and have discarded
the primitive habits and modes of living of their ancestors.
The Hinterland group numbering approximately 7,000 are dis-
tributed throughout the forested highlands of the Pakaraima
mountains and the savannahs of the far interior. These have
retained their distinctive languages and semi-nomadic habits.
Owing to the wide dispersion of the Amerindian communi-
ties, the administration of schemes for their welfare and edu-
cation has hitherto been difficult. But the rapid development
of air communications in recent years has changed the picture
and made possible the policy which was crystallised in the
Amerindian Ordinance of July 1951. The Ordinance came into
operation by proclamation in September 1953, the intervening
time being necessary for the setting-up of administrative ma-
The Ordinance provides inter alia for the establishment of
Amerindian districts, areas and villages; (on the principle of
the "Reserve"), the registration of Amerindians; the protection
of their property; legal proceedings on their behalf; conditions
for their employment; the establishment of a Welfare Fund;
and the establishment of Area and Village Councils.
In the initial stages these Area and Village Councils will
be purely advisory bodies under the Chairmanmhip -of District
Officers and it is proposed that the operation of these Councils
will serve as a means of introducing the Amerindians to the
elementary principles of local government. The Amerindians
will eventually advance to the stage of electing their own Coun-
cil Chairmen from among themselves.
The education of Amerindians, which was pioneered by
various Christian denominations, still remains a responsibility
of the Missions, but the development and expansion of this
work is now made possible by generous grants from Govern-
Several specific schemes for the training of Amerindians for
work among their own people are in train. Many have already
been trained as police constables, medical rangers and nurses
and are known to be doing good work among their people.
The delicate task of promoting the advance of these peoples
for their benefit, and with their co-operation is being made easier
by anthropological studies designed to record the mode of
thoughts, beliefs and way of life of some of the nine various tri-
bal units to be found in Guiana. The Government has co-oper-
ated with London University and the University Coollege of
the West Indies in giving assistance to a young Oxford Gradu-
ate, Miss Audrey Butt, in a study of two of the more primitive
Hinterland Amerindian tribes (the Arecunas and the Akowoios)
and her report will shortly be received for study by the authori-
The following are the Amerindian Tribes in British Gui-
1. Coastal: Arawaks, Warraus, Caribs and Akowoios.
2. Hinterland: Arecunas, Akowoios, Patamonas, Macusi,
Wapisishianas and Wai-Wais. These have distinct
No. II. Tenant Cane Farming Pilot Scheme.
An 800 acres Pilot Scheme at Pin. Wales on the West Bank
of the Demerara River to create a new class of tenant cane farm-
ers (on the Sudan Gezira Board model) will shortly be inaugu-
rated in British Guiana.
This experiment, in partnership between the cane farmer
and the sugar companies, if successful, might be copied else-
where in the West Indies as an answer to many problems in
agricultural territories where the standard of living is not high
and the population generally are lacking in economic and poli-
Mr. G. B. Peterkin, agriculturist and social development
expert, employed by the Sudan Gezira Bcard which grows cotton
and rotating crops, has been appointed Director of the new
scheme in British Guiana.
The establishment of a pilot scheme to determine the prac-
ticability of such a partnership had been recommended by Mr.
Frank A. Brown and approved by the Legislative Council on
Friday, May 21, 1954. Mr. Brown, who was formerly Deputy
General Manager of the Gezira Land Settlement Project in the
Sudan, considered that the sugar producers desired to identify
an increasing number of those dependent on the industry with
the prosperity -of the business.
British Guiana, said the Brown Report, was fortunate in
having a highly organised industry which had already estab-
lished and developed the pre-requisites necessary to the promo-
tion of this type of scheme.
The size of the individual holdings would be governed by
the answer to the question: "How much land can a farmer
with an average family (say total 4) cultivate, so that he is
kept fully employed during as large a part of the year as possi-
Consideration will also be given to the use -of agricultural
machinery, and the layout will allow of mechanised agriculture
The period of tenancy will be that of the whole period of
one or more crops, i.e. from the initial preparation ,of the land
until the harvesting of the last ratoon.
The greatest care will be exercised by the Companies in
the selection of tenants, so that the men chosen are good farmers,
intelligent, thrifty and appreciative of the benefits of a reason-
able amount of discipline. There will be no racial segregation
within the area of the scheme. Cultivation loans will be made
to farmers to assist them during the period of cultivation of
their first crops.
Mr. Peterkin will select occupants who will pay rent. The
farmers will be advised when to plant cane and when to fer-
tilise the ground. They will be directed whole-time, exactly as
in the Sudan.
The central organisation will supply ploughs and other
equipment on a non-profit basis. The farmers will be paid for
what cane they produce at a reasonable price after subtracting
the cost of fertilisers and irrigation and hire of equipment.
No. III. The British Guiana $44 Million
A 44-million-dollar programme to accelerate the develop-
ment of the resources of British Guiana and to improve living
conditions in the Colony, was approved by the Legislature on
May 21, 1954.
It is proposed tp spend a total of $19 million in 1954 and
$25 million in 1955.
Economic Development and Social Services take priority
in the programme as drawn up. In the field of Agriculture,
which in future years will include drainage, irrigation and land
settlement, the provision made amounts to $1,061,802; under
Forestry, a sum of $384,890 is provided, and under Public
Works, Communications and Surveys, a sum of $7,350,484 -
a total provision under economic development of $12,547.176
inclusive of the sum advanced to and spent on the Credit Cor-
In Social Services, provision has been made for housing,
schools, hospitals and dispensaries to a total of $3,293,501.
The programme includes the establishment of a Credit Cor-
poration to stimulate the creation and expansion of industries
and to promote "self-help" schemes in various fields, the in-
auguration and implementation of large scale Housing Schemes
with emphasis on working class accommodation in urban and
The B.G. Credit Corporation
The sum of $31/2 million has been provided initially for the
establishment of the British Guiana Credit Corporation.
Provision is made for the Corporation to grant loans
for agriculture, housing, industry and technical assistance
to industry, where applications for such loans are accepted as
loan-worthy. A sum of $200,000 has also been provided for
organisational and operational expenses.
The Corporation will replace existing credit banks, taking
over medium and long-term credit, but will continue to operate
short-term credit through the Co-operative Credit Societies.
For the first time, short-term credit and long-term credit will
be operated in their own respective fields, by separate bodies
without rival competing claims. The Corporation is not a new
idea. It is indeed quite old. It is without doubt one of the
features of the Programme most eloquent of development.
It is estimated that more than 114,000 people live in
Georgetown and its environs and to relieve congestion, some
10,000 houses will have to be built over the next 20 years
More than 90,000 people live on sugar estates; 5,000
houses are required to provide them with homes;
More than 250,000 people live in the rural areas, apart
from sugar estates; their housing needs are pressing. Nearly
5 million dollars have been allocated for housing before the end
of 1954. The target for 1954 is to provide some 800 dwellings
for sale; for rental and for rental with a view to purchase later
A low-cost house has been built for about $1,500 (B.W.I.),
and models are being erected in various parts of the Colony.
Under a scheme of "self-help" for teams of people who are
willing to build their houses for themselves, Government in 1954
proposes to start self-help groups and will assist with bulk pur-
chase -of materials and supervision.
At mid-year some 40 of the schemes planned for execution
and approved were already in operation, and these schemes had
already begun to improve the Colony's agricultural production
and to establish a giant series of drainage and irrigation works
by the harnessing of the Colony's main rivers. Other schemes
in progress will improve the efficiency of timber extraction, map
out the geological deposits, rehabilitate the road, steamer and
railways services along the coastland.
No. IV. The Rice Industry in British Guiana.
The cultivation of rice in British Guiana as an economic
crop commenced with the influx of East Indian labourers under
a system of indenture to sugar plantations The majority of
these workers, having completed their terms of indenture, con-
tinued in the employment of the sugar industry, but many of
them branched 'out on their own and commenced cultivating
small areas of land under rice as their sole means of livelihood.
The commercial community and, in some instances, private
individuals were not long in developing an export trade, mainly
within the British West Indies and in 1938, some 34 such ex-
porting agencies were in existence. It was, however, very diffi-
cult to maintain uniformity in the quality of exports as the
varieties and the milling differed.
Prior to 1939, rice from the Far East had a strong hold on
the British West Indian market and the British Guiana export
trade had to face a formidable oc'mpetitor, especially in regard
to price. Apart from this competition amongst the local pur-
chasing agents was very keen indeed, and the exporting agents
were continually under-selling each ot~er in the West Indian
When war was declared in 1939, the rice industry bore all
the marks of lack of organisation, instability and uneconomic
prices and Government decided to regularise the situation.
The British Guiana Rice Marketing Board was established
as a single-buying/single-selling organisation through which all
rice produced in the Colony, save a specific quantity which each
producer is allowed to retain for domestic consumption, was
channelled for distribution on the local market and for export.
After the cessation of hostilities, Government, acting on a
mandate given by representatives of rice producers, introduced
legislation for the establishment of the Rice Marketing Board
as a Statutory Body.
Rice purchased from producers is bulk blended by mechani-
cal means into particular grades required for distribution on
the local market and for export. Local sales are effected in co-
operation with the Transport and Harbours Department, and
there are twenty-seven established local sales depots throughout
the 160-mile coastline, at which consumers may buy rice at uni-
In 1946, agreements were concluded with the Governments
of Trinidad, Barbados, the Leeward and Windward Islands,
which provided for the supply of the full requirements of rice
to those islands for a period of five years at fixed prices, and for
a further period of three years at prices to be negotiated at the
end of the initial period. The requirements of the various Is-
lands were stated as follows:-
Trinidad 15,000 long tons
Barbados -- J9200 ,, ,,
St. Vincent 800 ,,,
St. Lucia 400 ,,
Grenada 1,075 ,, ,,
Dominica 260,, ,
St. Kitts 960,, ,,
Montserrat 120 ., ,
Antigua 1308 ,, ,,
Total 29,123 long tons
Jamaica has also entered into an agreement with British
Guiana to buy 12,000 bags of rice a year for the period 1955-56.
The rice will be purchased at the same price as paid by the
other West Indian colonies.
Storage facilities being inadequate, the board has con-
structed a number of bonds throughout the coastline, which
provide farmers with storage. The bonds also serve as distri-
buting centres for pure line seed.
In addition, the Board constructed modern warehouses
specially designed to provide more economical handling facili-
ties by the introduction of mechanical equipment.
A Scheme was sponsored by the Board whereby farmers
might acquire agricultural machinery on easy terms. The
Scheme embraced the importation by the Board of suitable
equipment and the resale of same to producers under Hire
Purchase Agreements. Under this scheme, 113 tractors, 148
ploughs. 103 harrows and 65 rice combines have been handed
over to farmers.
In January, 1951, the Board embarked on a new phase of
operations the packaging of high quality whole grain rice in
attractively lithographed cardboard boxes, each containing
21, lb. rice. under the brand name "PEARL RICE". This
rice was released for the export trade only, and results have, so
far. been very gratifying. It is planned to expand this project
as far as the availability of supplies will permit, and incentives
have been provided for encouraging the processing and produc-
tion of the very high standard required.
No. V. The Co-operative Movement.
In 1948 a department was established with the enactment
of the Co-operative Societies Ordinance for the development of
the Co-operative movement. in the Colony alor g sound lines.
The Co-operative Societies Ordinance provides for the formation
and regulation of the operations of co-operative societies and
the appointment of a Registrar of such societies. The Registrar
has wide powers to ensure that the provisions of the Ordinance
and the rules of a society are carefully observed. There is also
provision for the exemption of such societies from payment of
income tax, stamp duties, and registration fees.
Since the establishment of the department, the movement
has shown the most remarkable development. At 31st
December. 1953. there were 254 registered societies in existence
in the Colony; 252 primary and 2 secondary.
The following table shows the position of the primary soci-
eties as regards types, membership and shares, savings and de-
Thrift & Credit
The British Guiana Co-operative Union Ltd., and the B.G.
Co-operative Supply Association Ltd., had together at the end
of 1953, a membership of 172 primary societies. The B.G. Co-
operative Union publishes a quarterly magazine "The Co-
operator" containing news of co-operatives and instructive
articles on the movement.
No. VI. Population, 1953.
The estimated population, excluding Amerindians, at the
31st December, 1953 was 447,280 as compared with 434,900 for
1952 and 368,340 at the Census of the 9th April, 1946.
With the increase of 12,380 or 2.9% over 1952, progressive
annual accretions have been maintained since 1946. The Regis-
trar General states in an interim note however, that the true sig-
nificance of this growth can only be fully assessed from an ana-
lytical study of the age groups 0-4 years, representing children
under school age; 5-14 years representing children of school age;
15-64 years representing persons of child bearing and working
age; and 65 years and over representing dependents past work-
65 & over
Population growth under 5 years was most striking, bearing
witness to the notable decline in morbidity (especially malaria)
and mortality rates and a steadily improving birth rate during
post-war years. Less striking, though still considerable was the
increase of the school age population 8-14 years, and this in-
crease of 24.2% coupled with that of 49.2% under 5i years is of
interest in relation to the problem of school accommodation which
is already being experienced. The groups 15-64 and 65 years
and over had also expanded substantially, but the phenomenal
fertility experience of the population 15-64 years, supported by
a steadily declining death rate outlines quite distinctly the
pattern of a young and rapidly growing population.
British Guiana's high fertility experience was reflected in
a total number of 19,445 births being registered in 1953 giving
a birth rate of 44.1, as compared with 18,971 in 1952 with a rate
of 44.3. There were 1,881 marriages in 1953 as against 1,943 in
1952, but while the average ages of bridegrooms and brides were
32.5 and 27.2 respectively in 1952, in 1953 the average ages
showed signs of earlier marriages, being 31.6 and 25.2 respect-
The death rate dropped from 13.5 in 1952 to 13.3 in 1953,
while the infant mortality rate was 79.3 in 1953 as compared
with 81.8 in 1952. These figures are significant of a steadily
declining mortality rate.
Excluding Amerindians The registration of vital
events for Amerindians, especially in the remote areas is
very incomplete, consequently, this racial group has been
excluded from the population and other references in the
note above. If however, their estimated numbers were
included in the population the fiugres would become
384,756 for 1946, 462,6343 in 1952 and 465,416 in 1953.
Morbidity rate Number of cases from specified diseases
per 1,000 of the mean population.
Mortality rate Total number of death occurrences in a
given year per 1,000 of the mean population of the
Fertility experience Average number of births per 1,000
estimated population of potential mothers (female
population 15 49 years) among other factors.
No. VII. Schools Broadcasting.
Schools Broadcasting was inaugurated in British Guiana
on May 7, 1954, by His Excellency the Governor, Sir Alfred
Savage, K.C.M.G., thus making this country the second terri-
tory in the British Caribbean to introduce this educational aid.
The inauguration programme included messages of goodwill,
recorded in London, from Sir Christopher Cox, Educationat
Adviser to the Secretary of State for the Colonies and Mr. -J.
Warren MacAlpine, Head of the Overseas Service of the BBC
On May 10, the Service began with a series of daily half-hour
programmes (2.30 3.00 p.m.) in selected subjects, with em-
phasis on Guianese themes. These were Music (i) (Let's Sing
Together), Music (ii) (Instruments of the Woodwind Family),
Guianese Travel Talks (the Rivers of British Guiana), Guian-
ese History, English (Famous boys and girls/in Books), Na-
ture Study, Current Affairs, Civics and Health and two series
of recorded BBC Broadcasts, Great Thinkers and Great Dis-
coverers (in the BBC Colonial Schools Transcription Service)
and Science Talks, originally prepared for children in schools
There is a Schools Broadcasts Advisory Committee under
the Chairmanship of the Deputy Director of Education. Other
members include the Principal of the Government Training Col-
lege for Teachers, the Deputy Principal of Queen's College. 3
representatives of the British Guiana Teachers' Association, the
Secretary of the British Guiana Music Teachers' Association,
the Assistant Public Information Officer (Broadcasting) and
the Schools Broadcasts Organiser.
Four weeks before May 7, 320 cycle-styled copies of Notes
to Teachers, designed to cover the schedule of broadcasts for
the 10 weeks, May 10 July 16, were prepared and forwarded
to Head Teachers of the Government Primary Schools in urban
and rural areas throughout the Colony and to Principals of
recognized Secondary Schools.
60,000 copies of an illustrated leaflet "Learning by Radio"
were printed and despatched to schools. This leaflet, intended
for the individual use of children, contained detailed informa-
tion, such as the words of songs to be taught and short de-
scriptions of the Great Thinkers and Discoverers and of musical
instruments and scientific experiments.
The Service is being taken by 145 schools, the headteachers
of which make use of the Weekly Report Cards, specially de-
signed to elicit reaction to the content and the presentation
of the broadcasts. In addition headteachers frequently forward
by letter. more detailed criticisms and suggestions for improv-
ing the Service.
A noteworthy feature has been the fact that pupils past
and present of several schools, teachers and parents have co-
operated in special fund-raising efforts e.g., concerts and sub-
scriptions lists, to obtain radio sets for their respective schools.
The Co-operative Department, through its Educational Sup-
plies Association, has been instrumental in obtaining radios for
schools at special low prices and on easy terms. Various busi-
ness firms have also lent radios to schools so that the children
could listen in.
The Service was able to draw upon the resources of the
BBC for two of the present series cf programmes, Great
Thinkers and Great Discoverers and the Science Talks. Great
Thinkers and Great Discoverers produced by the Colonial
Transcription Service for Schools like these in British Guiana,
has proved a real success. It has introduced school children
to important figures in World History. The series of talks on
Science presuppose a knowledge and experience of scientific
apparatus, which primary school children in British Guiana do
not possess. Teachers have not hesitated to point this out, al-
though they appreciate the need of such talks for the future de-
velopment of the country's resources.
A survey of the comments on the Service based on Weekly
Report Cards received for the 6-week period, [fay 10 to June
16, disclosed that the subjects most appreciated were those not
included on the regular curriculum of schools Music (Let's
Sing Together), Current Affairs and Introduction to Wood-
wind Instruments. Other subjects which proved popular were
Nature Study, Guianese History ,nd English (Famous
boys and girls in Books). The general impression has been
gained that teachers appreciated Schools Broadcasting and that
the imagination of the child was being stimulated and enriched
in a new creative partnership between the broadcaster and the
No. VIII. The Beef Industry.
Beef production is now carried on in two sharply defined
areas the coastland and the Rupununi savannahs.
The Coastland: Until recent years the beef cattle industry
was concentrated on the narrow alluvial coastal strip of the
Colony. Today the industry on the coast is on the decline
because rice cultivation which is far more profitable ($110 acre
for rice as against $15 for beef cattle) has extended into areas
formerly used as grasslands during the rainy season.
Breed: A three way cross of Brazilian or Spanish longhorn,
Hereford and Zebu.
Organisation: The industry is for the most part in the hands
of small farmers average, 15 animals per owner.
Rupununi Savannahs: The encroachment of rice in pasturage
on the coastlands is now leading to the rapid extension of the
cattle industry in the Rupununi Savannahs which lie in the
South West of the Colony close to the Brazilian border. The
Rrass is sparse and deficient, in minerals and permits only a
very expensive form of cattle raising 15 cattle to a square
mile, as compared with 45 to tihe square mile on the coast.
Breed : As on the coast.
Organisation: The industry is in the hands of the Rupununi
Development Company and a few large scale ranchers. One
ranch, the great Dadanawa ranch of the Rupununi Develop-
ment Company is believed to be one of the largest single-unit
ranches in the world. (Available grazing 2,000 square
miles, 25,000 cattle).
Transport: Transport has always bee-1 a m-jor problem for
the cattle industry in the Rupununi. Until the rapid develop-
ment of air transport in recent years, ranchers depended on a
200-mile trail to the coast a trip which caused losses in weight
or from death of up to 10% of output. In 1953 the larger part
of the output, well over one million pounds, was transported by
air as meat.
A new abattoir and Refrigeration plant (C.D. & W. grant
scheme) is under construction at Lethem, the administrative
centre of the Rupununi. When completed this project will
facilitate the shipments of beef to Georgetown.
Livestock Experiment Station, St. Ignatius : To increase beef
production in the Rupununi a livestock experiment station
(C.D. & W. grant scheme) is being established at St. Ignatius in
the Rupununi. Experiments are in progress on savannah
burning, improved grasses, mineral feeding and breeding. The
Rupununi Development Co., is co-operatzing with the Station in
the introduction of a new breed of cattle, the Santa Gertrudis
developed in Texas, U.S.A. in conditions similar to those in the
Intermediate Savannahs, Ebini Downs : As it is already clear
that even a substantial increase in beef production in the Rupu-
nuni Savannah will be insufficient for the Colony's rapidly
growing population (See Informative No. 6......) the possi-
bility of extending the beef industry into the intermediate sav-
vannahs, 50 miles inland from the mouth of the Berbice River,
is being investigated at another Livestock Experiment Station at
Ebini (C.D. & W. grant scheme). There is as yet no cattle indus-
try in these savannahs which appear to be even less fertile than
those of the Rupununi. But as they are mor., accessible and
the rainfall higher than in the Rupununi there is the possibility
of improving the grasslands with fertilizers and fodder crops.
No. IX. The British Guiana Credit Corporation.
Charged with the responsibility of providing financial
credits where necessary and desirable, and stimulating and fa-
cilitating private investment in British Guiana by local and
external capital, the British Guiana Credit Corporation came
into being on Monday, June 21. The Corporation is the Gov-
ernment's main instrument to stimulate industry and to give
financial help to those who have ideas to create further indus-
Credits will be provided in respect of agriculture, industry,
rural and urban housing, utilities both of a public and private
nature and other undertakings of a like nature.
The sum of $31/ million in the Development Budget has
been allocated to the Corporation, and $200,000 has been pro-
vided for organisational and operational expenditure.
The duties of the Corporation shall be:
(a) .To take over from time to time any credit activities
of the Government including outstanding loans to
private enterprises, but excluding advances of sa-
laries to public officers and advances to local au-
thorities constituted under the provisions of the
Local Government Ordinance, 1945.
(b) To provide agricultural and industrial credits to Co-
operative Societies registered under the Co-opera-
tive Societies Ordinance, 1948.
(c) To provide credits for land settlement schemes.
(d) To provide such credits as are necessary for agricul-
tural undertakings other than those engaged in the
manufacture of sugar.
(e) To make loans to individuals, and make loans to, and
purchase shares or debentures of, companies en-
gaged in new or existing industries.
(f) To promote the introduction of private external capi-
tal for investment in agriculture, industry and
(g) To promote useful innovations in agriculture and in-
(h) To provide credits for private or mixed private and
public investment in rural and urban housing.
On June 26, 1954, His Excellency the Governor appointed
the members of the Corporation as follows:-
Dr. Norman Duthie, Chairman;
Mr. John Durey, M.B.E., Managing Director of Messrs.
T. Geddes Grant Ltd., Deputy Chairman;
Dr. G. Giglioli, O.B.E., Medical Adviser to the Sugar Pro-
ducers' Association and Honorary Malariologist Gov-
ernment of British Guiana;
Mr. W. M. Green, President of the Georgetown Chamber
Mr. T. P. Jaundoo, President of the Rice Prcducers' Asso-
Mr. C. P. B. Melbourne, Member of the Local Government
Mr. J. H. McB. Moore, Secretary (acting) of the British
Guiana and Trinidad Mutual Fire Insurance Co. Ltd.;
Mr. Vincent Roth, O.B.E., Curator of the B.G. Museum.
Mr. W. G. Carmichael was appointed General Manager and
Mr. David Yhap, Secretary/Accountant.
The former 27 Co-operative Credit Banks have been ab-
sorbed by the Corporation but the local Secretaries and Officers
are being retained in other capacities.
The shareholders of the Co-operative Credit Banks will be
repaid their capital (at par), as well as their full share of all
undivided profits and reserves.
Because of its wider discretionary powers, the Corporation
will be able to help many people, who ordinarily would not have
been able to obtain loans through the Credit Banks.
The first meeting of the Corporation was held on Tuesday,
July 6, when resolutions were passed empowering officers of the
Corporation to execute documents, and on July 12, the Cor-
poration executed 15 mortgages for small agricultural purposes
to a total in the vicinity of $9,000.
No. X. Copra Production in British Guiana.
The Coconut Industry is the third major crop of British
Guiana. The cultivation covers an area of about 33,500 acres,
and producing an estimated 50,000,000 nuts per year.
During the period 1939-1954, considerable interest was paid
to the industry and the income per acre has steadily increased.
Before 1939 the unremunerative returns severely hindered the
expansion and careful supervision of the cultivation, mainly as
a result of the cost of drainage and irrigation.
The world shortage of oils and fats emphasized the need
for British Guiana to meet her domestic requirements by her
own coconut production. An impetus was given to produc-
tion by better prices. The export of copra was controlled
under the Defence Emergency Regulations and the price ad-
vanced from 3c. per lb. in 1940 to the present price under grad-
ing of 111/c. to 121/20. per lb. for grades from No. 3 to No. 1 re-
Before grading of copra began, a Copra Brokers Board
was set up to administer the Coconut Products (Control)
Ordinance 1935. Through this organisation all copra pro-
duced in the Colony was sold either for export or local consump-
tion. It consisted principally of copra brokers, a coconut
products manufacturer and an officer of the Department of
A system of grading was instituted in 1950, and the speci-
fications under which the grades of copra are classified are as
Grade I Copra which is fully dried, which is made from
fully matured coconuts and which is free from
mould and rancidity.
Grade II Copra which is free fr-.m mould and rancidity
but which in respect of degree of dryness or
the maturity of the coconuts from which it is
made is not of sufficiently high.quality for in-
clusion in Grade I.
Grade III Copra which is good mercantile copra
but which may show burning by excessive
drying or shows excessive mould or is made
from seriously immature nuts or is seriously
Prior tp 1949, one edible-oil-producing plant was in opera-
tion with a maximum capacity of 2,400 tons copra per year.
Apart from this no other units were in operation for extracting
oil from copra. As a result a large percentage of the colony's
coconut crop was converted into crude coconut oil by a primi-
tive method of extracting the milk from the kernel of the nut
and boiling. It has been determined from tests carried out
under Government supervision that the loss of oil per million
nuts by this primitive method against the extraction by the
mills from copra is approximately 4,500 gallons.
The plant is capable of producing about 6,500 tons copra
per year. As a result of the conversion of fully 60% of the
nuts into crude coconut oil the loss to the colony was 135,000
gallons of oil per year.
With the erection of a second oil refinery in 1949, the
demand for copra rose and at present more than 70% of the
nuts are converted into copra. Below are listed the produc-
tion figures for the period 1940 to 1953.
1940 1512 tons
1943 2426 ,
1945 2321 ,
1947 2431 ,
1949 2787 ,
1953 4949 ,
A coconut industry committee was appointed by Govern-
ment in 1950 with the following terms of reference:-
(a) to make recommendations concerning the organisa-
tion of the Coconut and Copra Industries and for the
legislation necessary for implementing these recom-
(b) to make any other recommendation for the improve-
ment and expansion of the Coconut and Copra Indus-
This Committee submitted its report in 1952 and recom-
mended that a Coconut Industry Board should be set up on
which all interests are to be represented. This, however, has
not been put into operation and in the interim period the
administration of the industry is in the hands of the Controller
of Supplies and Prices.
No. XI. Bauxite in British Guiana.
"Bauxite", a name originally given to rock from Les Baux
in southern France, has now, through world-wide usage, be-
come a generic term for ore mixtures of hydrated aluminium
oxides (Al 2 0 3) with impurities in the form of compounds
of iron silicon titanium and other elements.
Bauxite deposits are currently being worked in the United
States, the Caribbean Islands, the Guianas Brazil, West Afria,
France, Italy, Spain Hungary, tumania, Greece, Yugoslavia,
Russia, China, India, Malaya, Indonesia and Australia. Still
other high grade deposits have been discovered elsewhere and
are yet to be developed, but nearly all of the great commercial
deposits are centered on low-lying land in warm or tropical
climates where the more soluble constituents in the earth's crust,
have been gradually removed by abnormal decomposition of
rock through years of intense weathering. Under these con-
ditions and with abundant intermittent rainfall to wash away
the soluble matter accumulating in the ground water, a con-
centration of insoluble hydrous aluminilm silicates and oxides
result (i.e., clay and bauxite).
The largest single bauxite operation within the Aluminium
Limited Group, and possibly the world is conducted by Dem-
erara Bauxite Company, Limited in British Guiana on the
north-eastern coast of South America. Bauxite mining and
processing in this British colony is of major importance to the
economy of the country and its 450,000 people. Bauxite first
began to move northward from British Guiana in 1917, and be-
tween that period and the early days of World War II. all of
British Guiana's bauxite came from the Mackenzie area. Since
then, additional mines and another community have been esta-
blished in the Ituni district, some 35 miles to the south-east.
When an orebody of workable size has been discovered and
proved by exploration crews of geologists, surveyors and drillers,
the forests are cleared away by chopping, burning and bulldoz-
ing. The overburden which may range in depth from 10 to
100 feet is cleared away by mechanical scrapers, draglines or
hydraulic monitors and sand pumps, before mining operations
can proceed by the open pit method which involves blasting
bauxite loose from beds 15 to 451 feet in thickness. Loaded by
power shovels into dump cars on a diesel-powered railway, the
reddish-brown .ore is taken to Mackenzie where it is crushed
and, by means of a conveyor, moved to the top of a double-
banked benefieiation plant to remove the free clay and sand.
Dried by oil-fired kilns, it is stored, ready for loading into
ocean-going ships at the rate of 6,000 tons a day for final use in
kettles, aircraft, bridges, etc.
Continuous automatic conveying networks carry the ore
through the kiln process and mechanical coolers, to storage
warehouses then on out to one of two electric leading maehinef~
located on a deep sea wharf 970 feet in length.
SAt Mackenzie, a- fast-growing second industry is already
established in the field of calcined bauxite. This process is
carried out in somewhat similar, but much larger, rotary kilns
to those used for bauxite drying operations. A chemical
change takes place in the calcining kilos at appreciably higher
drying. Quality control of calcining operations is very exacting
and the handling problems with this hat abrasive product are
unduly complicated. The pioneering obstacles in this new in,
dustry have, nevertheless, been mastered at Mackenzie, and the
)Oenerara Bauxite Company's forces are devoted to the task of
reducing production cost factors which should permit compet-
ing calcined bauxite sales in a number of fields heretofore mon-
opolized by other products. Because aluminium oxide is one
of the hardest materials known, calcined bauxite has proven to be
one of the most rugged abrasive and refactory base components
as well as a constituent of increasing importance in the chemical
The Demerara Bauxite Company, Limited was established
in 1916 by its principal shareholder, the Northern Aluminium
Company (now re-named the Aluminium Company of Canada,
Limited), for the mining, processing and selling of bauxite.
The main operating site was located 62 miles up the east bank
of the Demerara River, opposite Wismar. A Plant for the
crushing, washing, kiln drying, storing and ship loading of
bauxite from the regional bauxite mines was erected and a
planned residential area was built, up to accommodate employees
in this newly established district named Mackenzie. Apart
frdm these investments in the Colony, large sums were expended
on the exploration for, and development of, 'bauxite deposits.
road making, rail laying, bush cutting, overburden removal,
river dredging and the provision of complementary services.
SThe magnitude of operations for the calendar year 1953
give a fair indication of the Company's size. All figures are
stated in English long tons:
Crude Ore Mined. 3,014,420
Kiln Dried Bauxite Production. 1,769,993
Dried Bauxite Sales 1,812,242
S Crude ,Ore Washed 2,105,160
Calcined Bauxite Production 247,680
Calcined Bauxite Sales 244,900
The Company is represented by 33 sales officers and 95 resi-
dent agents, covering some 80 countries around the world.
Sales value totals reached an all time high high record an d
additional monies were brought into the Colony through con-
comitant shipping operations of the Company's numerous cus-
tomers who sent nearly 500 sea-going vessels to load bauxite as
Mackenzie during 1953. Bauxite is exported to meet many
varying consumer specifications on every continent of the
world. The Company contributed well over $4,000,000 in
direct taxation towards the British Guiana Government's
revenue in 1953, and otherwise assisted in the country's devel-
opment by carrying out hydro-electric surveys at 7 metering
stations in conjunction with the Department of Lands and Mines,
as well as making available much valuable topographical, geo-
logical and geographical information to Government. British
Guiana benefitted additionally from Customs duties, royalties,
lease rents, personal income tax receipts, licence revenue and
local purchase price taxes, all occasioned by Company opera-
The Company employs approximately 2,400 workers and
pays out approximately 4 million dollars directly to employees
in personal earnings. Additional benefits accrue to employees
through Company sustained training courses, pension schemes,
life assurance plans, medical care, hospital centres, churches,
schools, recreational facilities, housing funds, police and fire pro-
tection services, as well as many other intangibles such as the
support of outside welfare organizations. The Company maiti-
tains planned, modern residential villages near the two princi-
pal mining sites at Mackenzie and Ituni, where houses are ser-
viced with running water, electricity, sewage and garbage dis-
posal. Free use of passenger trains over the 80 miles of track
is auth prizedd for employees and the Company maintains road,
rail and wire communications between all of its locations being
worked, in addition to river stellings and a 5,000 feet airstrip.
The working force is represented by the B.G. Mine Workers'
Union and a calendar year contract with Management is nego-
tiated annually during the month of December.
An extensive plan of expansion was embarked upon in 1951
and has now matured with the completion of three additional
kilns, new ore washing, waste stripping, mining and machine
shop installations. Employee residential benefits were a key-
note in this spending programme and include a new water puri-
fication plant at Mackenzie, new fire-proof housing additions,
an interest free home building loan fund and an automatic tele-
phone exchange with available ies for all ll sbsribrs. The
Aluminium Company of Canada Limited advanced the major
portion of the funds required for this poi-oi ;kfne.
Demerara bauxite in the various forms as shipped from
Mackenzie serves science and world wide industry in the mak-
ine of aluminium, chemicals, abrasives, lefractory bricks, liners
and miscellaneous other products.
No. XII. The Forests of British Guiana.
Giant groves of greenheart rising above a carpet of dense
tropical shrubs-such perhaps is the image evoked in the mind
by the forests of Guiana. For. the Guianese, however, the con-
notation is at a much more practical level logs to be used to
carry out the Colony's extensive housing programme and to earn
hard currency as a marine construction material. These forests
stretching over an area of approximately 70,000 square miles,
(83% of the total area of the Colony) are perhaps potentially
her greatest economic asset, They provide the fundamental
basis of major and secondary industries, and with prospects
of developments in techniques and the introduction of new
industries, their potential importance for the economic condi-
tion of the colony cannot be over-estimated.
It is possible to discover in this vast sheet of country, three
areas (1) the forests adjoining the coastlands and which must
be cleared since they are considered as an encroachment on the
agricultural belt. (2) The forests of the near interior -
which constitute the main area of forests accessible for com-
mercial exploitation; (3) The forests of the far interior at
the moment difficult of access, and the exploitation of these
areas at the moment might prove economically unsound.
The forests of immediate commercial value represent ap-
proximately 31.72% of the total forest area, and 30.03%
of the total area of the country. The soils in this area
vary from the pegasse of the swamp areas to sandy soil
with a fair proportion of clay, and the country- is in general
unsuitable for agriculture except for the production of
The principal forest types exploited are greenheart, crab-
wood, wallaba and mora. Around the junction of the Essequi-
bo-Mazaruni-Cuyuni Rivers may be found the vast areas of
greenheart forest by which the territory is principally known
abroad. It extends southward as far as the Pakaraima Moun-
tains; in the east it stretches to the boundary with Surinam.
Nowhere outside these forests does this valuable tree grow in
commercially significant quantities.
The Economic Position -
The ownership of the forest areas is divided between the
Government tand private enterprise. Effective official control
over the policy governing the exploitation and organization of
the C own forests dates back to 1953, when an ,Ordinance to
Consolidate and Amend the Law Relating to Forests, was
.passed which gave the Government authority to declare any
Crown land area Crown Forest under the Jurisdiction
of the Forest Department. This is intended to provide effec-
tive forest and forest land management. Previously as a re-
sult of the lack of co-ordinated control, the fragmentation of the
accessible forest area into an infinite number of small conces-
sions had proved to be economically unsound.
The forest industry has also been seriously handicapped by
the lack of integration of the logging and milling industries.
In general the larger companies concentrate on the export
trade, the smaller producers supplying the home market,, and it
is possible for the Forest Departhment to exercise a certain de-
gree of control over the larger companies; as from 1952, the
old policy of granting concessions on the basis of priority of
application has been abandoned.
The labour force employed in the forest industries is
largely unskilled, and there exists a definite shortage of men
trained to operate with efficiency logging-extraction and saw-
mill machinery. This is one of the few occupations in which
Amerindians provide a significant proportion of the labour
The development of forest industries falls far below the
potential possibilities. The industries already in existence
include logging, lumbering, fuel production, railway ties,
hardwood spars, marine construction, beams and poles, shovel
and axe handles furniture, turnery, general interior ornamen-
tal work, and the manufacture of matches.
There exists, however, a large potential supply of material
available in quantities suitable for several industries, which
include the production of wood-pulp for paper manufacture,
ply-wood, wood-flour, and pressed wood-fibre boards, and the
products of the destructive distillation of wood.
Easily accessible transportation is provided by a network
of rivers, making it possible for people without capital to en-
gage in logging. Production and transportation methods have
been hitherto very unsatisfactory, and it is expected that
under the new administrative system, more efficient methods
will be put into effect
The British Guiana Government has undertaken to train
sub-professional staff for forestry work; and has inaugurated
a training scheme for forest rangers at Bartica.
There exists locally and abroad a ready market for the
products of forest industries and -the development of seasoning
techniques is leading to an increased us, of the Colony's many
woods. To meet the demands of the local market there existed
in 1947, 46 sawmills, producing lumber and scantling, and
numbers of sawpits scattered throughout the community.
Chief among consumers are the wood-working establishments
which manufacture furniture.
The most important foreign markets are the British Carib-
bean, the United Kingdom, the U.S.A., Canada, Venezuela and
Dutch Guiana; the main exports consist of marine structures,
materials for general construction and conversion, shipsheath-
ing used for vessels sailing in Arctic seas, and for (fuTniture
construction. Shipping costs are relatively high and are rela-
ted to the restrictions on the draught of ships which can load at
No. XIII. Health Conditions in British Guiana.
A new era in the medical history of British Guiana began
in the year 1946, when a successful D.D.T. campaign was inau-
gurated for the extermination of the mosquito carriers of ma-
laria. Since then, the other main menaces to public health,
filaria, enteric fever, and tuberculosis have been tackled with
vigour, and, under the stimulus of the World Health Organi-
zation, these campaigns have become au integral part of the
social services. Two direct results of these improved conditions
of health have been a sharp rise in population and an acute
shortage of school provision. The problem of tuberculosis,
responsible for a death rate (in J952) of ;.8 per 10.000 as
against 0.3 for malaria and 1.1 for enteric fever was tackled
in 1954 under a BCG campaign, sponsored by UNICEF and
the World Health Organisation. Although the problem of
tuberculosis is bound up with those of general education, nu-
trition and housing, this campaign affords a relatively high
degree of protection against various aspects of the disease.
One group of the population the Amerindians is highly
susceptible to tuberculosis. Infections usually regarded as
belonging to childhood, e.g. measles, whooping cough and influ-
enza are usually much more serious, among the adult members
of this group, but the problem of tuberculosis among the
Amerindians is particularly grave, the death rate being five
times higher than that of the other sections of the population.
To deal with the health of this section of the community, the
Government has appointed a Medical Officer for Amerindian
The provision of medical facilities for sugar estate work-
ers continues to be the responsibility of the sugar companies,
although their original liability to do so, under the system of
indenture ceased in 1917. With the general decline in malaria,
one of the main menaces to health has been removed, with a
subsequent deterioration in housing conditions. Rehousing of
sugar workers .is being vigorously pursued with loans provi-
ded from the Sugar Industry Labour Welfare Fund; but even
prior to the establishment of this Fund, the sugar companies
had had a scheme for developing housing areas on their estates,
and making loans to workers to build their own houses.
The Report of the Venn Commission of Enquiry into the
Sugar Industry of British Guiana in 1949, named hookworm as
the most common disease after malaria. Typhoid, tuberculo-
sis, nephritis, filariasis, and yellow fever are less common than
in the towns and villages. This Commission has recommended
that the provision of adequate health facilities in all areas is
the responsibility of the Government.
The Government of British Guiana has realized that ade-
quate medical service for children is the very cornerstone of
the colony's health improvement programme. Two branches
of work are being carried on The Infant Welfare and Ma-
ternity League and the School Medical Service. The first of
these organizations operates through 79 welfare clinics,
throughout the Colony with a staff of 17 health visitors and
45 subsidized League midwives. The emphasis of the work
done by this organization is on health education.
The School Medical Service discovered as a result of a
nutrition survey, that there was a major Vitamin B complex
deficiency among school children; necessitous children attend-
ing City schools, found suffering from nutritional defects, are
provided with meals at School Breakfast Centres, the meals
being supplemented with additional vitamin compounds.
As a result of the report of the Housing Survey of George-
town in 1945 comprehensive planning and housing legislation,
enacted during 1946 was brought into operation in 1948 and a
Central Housing and Planning Authority appointed. In ac-
cordance with a slum clearance plan, alternative housing has
been provided at a decanting centre and in a new low-cost
housing scheme on the outskirts of the city. Government pro-
vides all money required for planning and housing schemes
for the low income groups.
The Director of Medical Services is administrative head
of the Medical Department and the person responsible for all
executive phases of the Department's activities. The admin-
istration of all matters relating to health is vested in the Cen-
tral Board of Health, a statutory body constituted under the
Public Health Ordinance, 1934. This Board decides upon
policies, promulgates regulations and is the overriding author-
ity in all matters pertaining to the health of the Colony's in-
habitants. The Director of Medical Services is Chairman of
the Board, the Assistant Director of Medical Services (Health)
is the Board's Chief Executive Officer, and there is a Secretary
to the Board. Other executive officers are the Assistant
Director of Medical Services (Curative); the Health Officer,
Demerara; the Health Officer, Berbice; the Chief Officer,
Mosquito Control Service; the School Medical Officer; the
Lady Health Officer, Infant Welfare and Maternity League;
three County Sanitary Inspectors and 58 District Sanitary
On April 8, the new Constitution which had been granted
to the Colony came into force. The Medical Department was
linked with the Central Housing and Planning Authority and
the Director of Medical Services, in addition to performing his
substantive duties, was appointed Chairman of the Central
Authority. The two departments were placed under the
control of a 'Minister with portfolio.
The new Constitution was prorogued on October 9, 1953,
and the Medical Department as well as the Central Authority
were placed temporarily under the direction of the Chief
Secretary. In December, 1953 under the Interim Govern-
ment, the Medical Department was again placed under the
direction of a Minister with portfolio.
The Public Hospital Georgetown has been approved by
London and other Universities and Medical Schools as a pre-
registration hospital for four interns. Up to date four in-
terns are undergoing their pre-registration training at the
The health services are carried on by a small well-quali-
fied professional staff assisted by a larger number of trained
personnel. There are in the Colony 5 general hospitals run
by the Government, (1038 beds) and two which are privately
run; (266 beds), there are three specialised hospitals for the
treatment of leprosy (382 beds), tuberculosis (264) and men-
tal diseases, (507). There are also 21 Cottage Hospitals (pri-
vate) with a total of 1,371 beds.
Indirect Methods of Improving Health
A Commission under the chairmanship of a United King,
dom official will shortly consider ways and means of improv-
ing the health services.
The following table gives comparative vital statistics
(provisional figures) for the year 1953 as compared with the
years 1951 and 1952. These figures: exclude Amerindians.
Year Pop- Births Rates
416,720 17,700 42.5
428,670 18,971 44.3
441,250 19,524 44.3
2 a Mater-
I n al 2
5,772 13.5 82 5'
5,637 13.5 87 5
5,779 13.1 89 5
Statistics of the principal groups of diseases and mortality
are as follows:-
Rate per 10,000
1951 1952 1953 19511952 1953 1951 1952 1953
Influenza 1,1812,862 946 13 21 3 0.307 0.483 0.067
Malaria 1.008 181 70 31 3 0.733 0.391 0.067
Enteric 701 419 682 69 53 1.633 1.173 1.184
Tubercu- 279 209 109 178 63 4.213 3.863 1.403
Chicken Pox 128 223 65 -
Diptheria 33 27 33 6 .953 0.412 0.115 0.134
No. XIV. Drainage and Irrigation in
In any agricultural country there are problems connected
with drainage and/or irrigation, and these problems are
accentuated in British Guiana where agriculture is concen-
trated on the coastland, the average land level of which is two
feet below mean high water.
Because of the low level of the land and the intensity of
the rainfall in the wet periods amounting to something in the
region of 100 inches per annum, drainage can only be efficiently
accomplished at great expense by means of pumps or by
gravity between tides. On the other hand, there are prolonged
periods of dry weather each year which give rise to an irriga-
tion problem unless provision is made for conserving a portion
of the rainfall during wet periods.
From the earliest days of settlement in the Colony in the
late sixteenth century, the proprietors made their own
arrangements for irrigation by empoldering their lands with
raised banks or dams around their properties, and utilizing the
water collected in the swamps behind for irrigating their
lands during the dry months. Drainage was accomplished by
means of outlets through the river or sea dam.
During 1924 to 1928, the British Guiana Government car-
ried out extensive drainage and irrigation schemes along the
coast, including the erection of pumping stations. In 1928.
separate District Drainage Boards were established with a
view to ensuring efficient operation of the Schemes. Un-
fortunately, in most cases, effective control once again devolved
on the private owners and eventually these Districts Boards
proved unsatisfactory through lack of technical information,
insufficiency of funds, and the low standard of maintenance
To remedy this unsatisfactory state of affairs, a Committee
of six was appointed in 1939, to enquire into the financial
aspects of the works under the control of the District Drainage
Boards, and to advise whether another system of management
and control was desirable. Consequent upon the report of the
Committee, the Government decided on the formation of a
Central Drainage Board now known as the Drainage and Irri-
gation Board. This decision was put into effect on January
1, 1941 by Ordinance No. 25 of 1940 under which the Board at
The Drainage and Irrigation Board is charged with the
sole control and management of all works for drainage and
irrigation within Declared Areas throughout the Colony, and
is comprised of twelve members, of whom the Director of
Public Works and the Commissioner of Local Government are
ex officio members.
Drainage and Irrigation Areas usually come into being as
a result of requests from proprietors in the areas, or on the
advice of the Commissioner of Local Government. These re-
quests are considered by the Drainage and Irrigation Board
and may be' recommended to the Governor in Council who may
issue an order that the areas be investigated with a view to
their being declared as Drainage and Irrigation Areas.
The objects of the Drainage and Irrigation Board are to
direct the construction of such works as they consider essen-
tial to protect the areas under their control from the effects of
floods and drought, and to provide conditions under which the
maximum benefit may be derived from the land under cultiva-
The Declared Drainage and Irrigation Areas functioned
as separate entities and any empoldering of small areas .in the
flood plains of rivers did not really cope with the main pro-
blem of flood control in the upper reaches of the rivers. It
therefore became increasingly evident that the question of
drainage and irrigation for the coastlands had to be considered
as a whole and not piecemeal. The services of Mr. F. H.
Hutchinson were therefore obtained in 1949 as Consulting
Engineer to consider and advise on drainage and irrigation and
flood control measures to be adopted on the coastlands, and
also to prepare comprehensive schemes for overcoming these
Mr. Hutchinson's main objective was to confine the flood
water from the catchment areas of the rivers by means of dams
constructed in the rear of the cultivable lands in order, not only
to conserve water for irrigation purposes during periods of
drought, but also to reduce considerably the volume of flood
water which has to be taken care of by drainage works on the
Mr. Hutchinson submitted to Government Flood Control
and Drainage and Irrigation Projects covering the whole
coastland of the Colony from the Pomeroon River to the Cor-
(i) the Tapakuma Project covering the area between
Annadale and the Somerset/Berks Canal on the
(ii) the Boerasirie Extension Project covering the area
between the Demerara, Essequibo and Bonasika
(iii) the Mahaica Dam and Lamaha Conservancy Project
covering the area between the Demerara River and
the watershed between the Mahaicony and Mahaica
(iv) the Canje Project which covers the whole Berbiee
Area from the Berbice River to the Corentyne River.
In addition, surveys were commenced to obtain data for
the preparation of a similar project to cover the area between
the Mahaicony and Berbice Rivers.
Prior to these proposals, construction work had been com-
menced in 1945 on the Torani Canal alnd Block III, which are
parts by the Corentyne Drainage and Irrigation Scheme pre-
pared by the late Mr. G. O. Case, previous Consulting
Engineer, for the supply of irrigation water to and drainage
of the Corentyne coastlands between Pins. Port Mourant and
Springlands. The Block III portion of the scheme was com-
pleted in 'May 1954, while the Torani Canal and Regulators are
still in course of construction.
It, is hoped that construction work will soon be started on
the other portion of the scheme known as Blocks I and II and
this can eventually be incorporated in the Canje Project pro-
posed by Mr. Hutchinson.
Of Mr. Hutchinson's schemes, the Boerasirie Extension
Project, has already received administrative approval and is
at present under construction. Pending a decision to let the
work out tp contract, construction was commenced in 1953 by
the Public Works Department. The contract has now been
awarded to the firm of Sir Lindsay Parkinson & Co., Ltd., who
expect to complete the scheme in approximately five years time.
In 1953, Mr. Gerald Lacey, Adviser tp the Secretary of
State in London on drainage and irrigation, with extensive
experience in drainage and irrigation problems, was invited by
the British Guiana Government to examine the technical
aspects of the Corentyne Scheme put up by Mr. Case and the
projects put up by Mr. Hutchinson. In addition to this,, his
terms of reference included the examination of and advice on
water control legislation suitable for conditions obtaining in
the Colony, the system of levying drainage and irrigation rates,
and the departmental organization necessary for drainage and
In principle, Mr. Lacey agreed with Mr. Hutchison's pro-
posals, but emphasized they were only in project form aLd
that detailed designs would have to be prepared in the light
of further hydrological, topographical and soil surveys. He
also stated that it would be a great, mistake to conclude that,
if the money and contractors were forthcoming, these projects
could be executed forthwith. A separate Department. of
Drainage and Irrigation adequately staffed was essential.
One of the important recommendations in Mr. Lacey's
report was that drainage and irrigation works should be con-
structed, owned, controlled and maintained; by Government.
The responsibility of the cultivator should be limited to the
care of his fields and the economical use of water. The print,
ciple enunciated was that channels should be owned and main-
tained by Government up to that point where water can be de-,
livered in manageable quantities to the proprietors. This has
a special application in British Guiana where large and well
organized sugar estates could continue to take bulk supplies
of water and maintain their own, in general very efficient in-
ternal system of drainage, irrigation and navigation
This does not mean that drainage and irrigation in Bri:ish
Guiana would become a Colonial question in the same manner
as sea defences. Mr. Lacey has recommended that the princi-
ple on which rates are collected in India from the proprietors
and occupiers may advantageously be adopted in this country,
but this is a far reaching proposal which must) be the subject
of further extensive study.
In order that British Guiana should be in a position to
utilize potential farming land and design, construct and main-
tain the necessary drainage and irrigation works, Mr. Lacey re-.
(a) a separate Drainage and Irrigation Department be
psfablished as early as possible, with a staff adequate
for it to perform its functions.
(b) the Department should be an independent Depart-
ment under its own Director and not a part of the:
organization of the Public Works Department.
(c) the responsibility for sea defences should remain
with the Public Works Department and not be
transferred to the Drainage and Irrigation Depart-
(d) as a first step to re-organization, a Director of
Drainage and Irrigation should be appointed.
The appointment of a Director of Drainage and Irrigation
has already been made by Government, and proposals for the
organization of the new Department are now under considera-
No. XV. Education In British Guiana.
The system of Education in British Guiana falls into three
main categories -(a) Primary, (b) Secondary and (c) Tech-
.As in many other Colonial territories the origin of the
Primary.School is to be found in the voluntary Church School,
and in British Guiana the Church still exercises a certain,
amount of control over school management, in partnership with
Government. In the interior of British Guiana, education
among the Amerindians has been undertaken almost exclu-
sively by various Christian denominations.
In 1953 there were 287 elementary schools, of which 281
Primary Schools cater for 83,287 children between 5 and 16
years. The remaining 6 were nursery schools with an en-
rolment of 804 pupils. These figures represent an increase of
5,398 pupils over 1952.
It is proposed to establish 2 Secondary Modern Schools,
and the introduction of Handicraft and Domestic' Science
classes in all schools is being encouraged.
The main difficulties are lack of provision to keep pace
with a rapidly increasing school population, lack of adequate
facilities for training teachers and insufficient equipment for
In spite of slender financial resources steps have been
taken to improve educational facilities and opportunities. In
1953, the government scholarships were increased to 50 to en-
able more primary school children to benefit from secondary
educational facilities. In addition, the Government Training
College for Teachers recently increased the annual quota of
students from 20-30.
The inauguration of Schools' Broadcasts in May 1954, was
a historic occasion in the educational life of the children of
British Guiana. This service is in the exploratory stage.
In 1951, a Primary 'Education Policy Committee was
appointed under the Chairmanship of Mr. J. L. Nicol, O.B.E..
Educational Adviser to the Comptroller for Development and
Welfare in the West Indies, "to enquire into and report on the
present and future cost of primary education in the colony
and to make recommendations as to future policy with respect
to the provision of schools and teachers, having regard to the
expectation of a progressive heavy increase in the enrolment
of pupils, and with particular regard to the prospective finan-
cial resources of the colony."
The Committee's report was published in March 1952.
It proposed that a small Policy Sub-Committee under the
chairmanship of the Director of Education and appointed
from members of the Legislative Council Advisory Committee
on Education, the Education Committee and that Primary
Policy Committee. should assume the responsibility for pro-
moting action to implement its recommendations.
The Committee made a number of recommendations con-
cerning the certification, grading and conditions of service of
teachers. It recommended (1) that the "double-shift" sys-
tem should be tried in selected areas, and, if this proved sue-
ceesful, adopted in schools where it seemed necessary. (2)
that the statutory age of admission to schools should be raised
to 6, and that the school-leaving age should be 14; (3) that
schools should be reorganized immediately into Infant, Junior
and Senior Schools; and (4) that early consideration should
be given to the revision of the curriculum of rural and urban
The Committee's recommendation for a shift system and
for the dilution of the teaching staff have not found popular
support. Many of the less controversial proposals have
however been carried out.
There are 2 Government, 2 grant-aided, and approxi-
mately 38 privately-owned Secondary Schools receiving no
government aid. Enrolment at the Government Schools is
902, at the grant-aided 609, and in the private schools some
6000. In general, the curricula of these schools are planned
to meet the requirements of the London, Oxford and Cam-
bridge University Examining Boards, and students reach a
level of attainment adequate for University Entrance.
Science teaching in all but the Government Secondary
Schools is handicapped by inadequate facilities; provision has
recently been made for students from Private Secondary
Schools to receive initial science training at the Government
Secondary School for Boys, and a Remove form has been in-
stituted for this purpose. A small number of scholarships
enable a few students to proceed to Universities abroad.
In 1948 the University College of the West Indies was
established. In 1952, of a total of 31 Guianese students at the
College, 13 were holders of Government. Scholarships, 14 were
reading for first degrees in medicine, 11 in Natural Science and,
6 in Arts. The Colony's contribution to the upkeep of the
University College, based.on a system of proportionate repre-
sentation, was $222,708 in 1953 -12.9%.
The Government .Technical Institute, established in 1951,
provides courses in technical education, but its work has been:
so far handicapped by staffing difficulties. Until 1951, there
was very little provision for vocational training apart, from a
Trades School for Women. Secretarial and Commercial
training are provided by private schools only and technical
training provided either by private firms or by Government
The extra-Mural Department of the University College,
and the British Council are doing valuable work in the field of
Adult Education, working in conjunction with the British
Guiana Trades Union Council and the B.G. Teachers' Asso-
ciation, and the Civil Service Associations.
No. XVI. Some Aspects of Community
Development in British Guiana.
Local Government in the Rural Areas.
To appreciate the problems of local government in the rural
areas of British Guiana, it is necessary to keep in mind the phy-
sical conditions existing on the coast. It is in this region that
local government took root in the second half of the last century,
and it is here that the most advanced examples are now to be
2. The following reports of Commissions that have visited
British Guiana over the past 25 years will be of interest to those
who are desirous of obtaining a detailed picture:-
Report of the Sugar Commission 1930 (Olivier)
., Royal Commission 1938-1939 (Moyne)
.,, British Guiana and British Honduras
Settlement Commission 1948 (Evans)
S ,,,, Sugar Industry Inquiry Commission
From those reports will be obtained an excellent description
of the economic history of the Colony, and the unceasing
struggle that has been fought against the inroads of the sea, and
against the flood waters from the backlands. The coastal
region is some three feet below sea level, and the annual rainfall
is about 100 inches. The development of the coastlands has
been affected to a considerable extent by these conditions.
3. The first settlements after the emancipation of the
African slaves, were established by the ex-slaves themselves,
who by bard work and sacrifice saved enough money to purchase
blocks of land usually abandoned plantations on which
they built their houses and raised their farms. These freed
people-entrusted their savings to their own leaders known as
"Headmen", and it, was in the names of these "Headmen"
that the lands were bought. The lands were subsequently divided
among the participants in proportion to the individual contri-
butions. Over the years a number of such settlements were
formed. The lands were roughly divided into house-building
areas, and cultivation areas. The house-building areas being
to the north near to the main highway, and the cultivation
areas farther behind. This type of layout for farmers was
necessary on account of the communal system of drainage. It
was not and is not feasible for each farmer to have his dwelling
in the same area as his farm.
4. After the freeing of the African slaves and because of
the reluctance of the freed people to continue to work on the
sugar plantations, the plantation owners had to look elsewhere
for labour. So it came about that people from India were
brought under contract for employment on the sugar estates in
British Guiana. On the expiration of the contracts, many
exercised their right to return to India, but many remained and
their off-spring now constitute the largest racial group in the
Colony. Of those who remained, many continued to work on
the sugar plantations preferring the sheltered life of the plan-
tation with free quarters such as they were, regular employment
and other amenities, to the unknown world outside. Many, how-
ever, of a more adventurous spirit, left the estates as soon as
they had saved enough to buy land. Usually they planted rice
and reared cattle. These people and their descendants created
the rice industry. Several settlements were made possible
through Government help for these people. In some cases
completely Indian communities have developed and in many
other cases there was infiltration into the African villages. At
present there are villages populated entirely by Indians,
villages populated entirely by Africans and villages
populated by both in varying degree. The law rela-
ting t,o Local Government makes no distinction on racial
grounds in the administration of any of these villages.
5. Sixty years ago in 1892, an Ordinance was enacted to
provide a measure of self government for the village com-
munities. Since then, there have been many changes too
numerous to recount. In 1945, a consolidating ordinance was
passed which regulates our present system of local government.
6. Prior to 1932, the villages were under the direct
supervision of the Local Government Board which had at, its
disposal a number of Inspectors. While these Inspectors did,
without doubt, good work, they did not as a rule live in the
rural areas, and were only concerned with village administra-
tion in its narrowest sense. In 1932, the present decentral-
ised system of District Administration was brought into being..
Up to that time, there was no department of Government re-
sponsible for the local administration of the rural areas. The
Colony was accordingly divided into appropriate Administra-
tive Districts and a District Commissioner with subordinate
staff was assigned to each. The principal duties of the Dis-
trict Commissioners were to co-ordinat,e the activities of the
various other departments of Government with their respective
districts, and to be guide, philosopher and friend to the village
communities. In addition, they assumed the duties of the
Inspectors of Districts, and of the principal revenue collecting
departments. They are responsible for the payment of public
assistance. They continued the work of the old Immigration
Agents in assisting Indians as regards their birth and death
certificates and marriage arrangements.
7. Under the Local Government Ordinance of 1945, pro-
vision is made inter alia for the following :-
(a) The appointment and powers of the Local Govern-
(b) The establishment of village, country and rural
(c) The constitution of local authorities for the manage-
ment of village and country districts.
(d) The election of members, Chairman and Deputy
Chairman of village districts.
(e) The collection of rates and the framing of estimates
of revenue and expenditure of village and country
8. The Local Government Board consists of ten members
three of whom are ex-officio, namely the Commissioner of Local
.Government, the Director of Medical Services, and the President
of the Village Chairmen's Conference. There are two members
of local authorities, a representative of the British Guiana Sugar
Producers' Association, and four other persons. Appointed
members hold office for two years. The Board has very wide
powers indeed, and may exercise in any village or country dis-
trict any or all of the powers of a local authority. It can re-
view the decision of a local authority on any matter and substi-
tute its own decision therefore. The annual estimates of revenue
and expenditure of the local authorities are submitted through
the District, Commissioner to the Board for approval and the
Board may make such alterations at it sees fit. In actual
practice, however, the Board uses its powers of intervention in
*oxly extreme cases and where the good government, shall we say,
of a village is in jeopardy. In every case that comes before the
Board, the views of the District Commissioner and the advice
of the Commissioner of Local Government, are available. The
post of Commissioner of Local Government was created in 1938
as the burden of streamlining the work of the several District
Commissioners had become too heavy for the Secretariat.
9. The Local Government Board, with the approval of the
Executive Council, can declare any part of the Colony, other
than the towns of Georgetown and New Amsterdam to be a
village or a country district. Any area not so declared is a
rural district, and is administered by the Board through the
10. Village districts are managed by village councils. Two-
thirds of the members are elected by secret ballot by the regis-
tered voters who are the proprietors, and one-third is appointed
by the Board. Elections are held every two years. The
Chairmen and Deputy Chairmen are elected by the councillors
11. The qualifications for a candidate at an election are as
(a) he must have resided in the village or within five
miles thereof during the twelve months immediately
preceding the election.
(b) he must be able to read and write English;
(c) he must be a registered voter; and
(d) he must be under no legal incapacity.
The qualifications of a voter are as follows:-
(i) he must be not less than 21 years of age;
(ii) he must, be under no legal incapacity;
(iii) he must be a British subject; and
(iv) he must be the proprietor of property in the village
of an assessed value of not less than $50.00.
12. Country districts are managed by country authorities
all of the members ,of which, including the Chairman, are
appointed by the Board. It is the declared policy of the
Board tp raise the status of any country district to that of a
village district should the majority of the proprietors express
a. wish for the change and provided the Board can be satisfied
that it would benefit the area. The question of liitiracy is of
some importance. The Board has decided that where more
than 40% of the prospective voters are illiterate, the change tc
village status will not be made.
13. The principal source of revenue of the local authori-
ties is through the collection of rates. These may be levied on
the appraised value of land or buildings or on both. The
rate of assessment may vary as between residential lots and cul-
tivation lots. Once a ratp has been determined by the local
authority and approved by the Board, it is legally collectible.
14. Local authorities are required to pay weekly to the
District Commissioner all revenue collected during the previous
week, and to obtain the sanction of the District Commissioner
for the payment of the wages and other liabilities incurred du-
ring the previous week. The local authorities and the District
Commissioners keep up-to-date records of all revenue and ex-
penditure. The accounts of the local authorities are audited
regularly by officers of the District Administration.
15. Local authorities as a rule meet not less frequently
than once a month. An agenda is circulated a week in advance
and minutes are kept by the Clerk who in most cases, is also
the overseer and as such, is responsible for the supervision of
all village works. The District Commissioner is authorised to
attend meetings, and to take part in the discussions, but he
may not vote. Copies of the agenda are sent to him in ad-
vance, and he makes a point of attending as many meetings as
may be convenient and desirable. It is not desirable that he
should be present at all meetings, as the members of a local
authority may tend to lean too much on him, and not shoulder
the responsibility which is properly theirs. In every instance,
the District Commissioner acts as an adviser. Decisions of the
local authority are by a majority vote. The Chairman has an
original and a casting vote. Meetings usually take place in
the later afternoon to meet the convenience of members, many
of whom are farmers and have to travel many miles on foot to
and from their farms. The public is allowed to attend ordi-
nary meetings, but may be excluded on a majority decision of
the members of the local authority. In recent years, several
new Village Offices have been built providing better accom-
modation for the local authorities, their staffs and for the
16. The problems that local authorities have to face are
numerous and varied. As I mentioned at the outset, sea de-
fences and drainage are the two permanent problems of the
coastal region. It, is in this region that nearly all of the
ninety-two local authorities are to be found. The land being
below sea level, provision has to be made against the inroads of
the sea. This problem has in relatively recent years been
assumed by the central government, and the owners of the
lands along the foreshore are not as a general rule required to
make any direct contribution towards the very high costs of
maintaining permanent sea defences.
17. Drainage and to a lesser extent, irrigation, are under
;the control of the Drainage and Irrigation Board in those areas
-over which it holds jurisdiction. The Drainage and Irrigation
.Board sits in Georgetown and the Commissioner of Local Gov-
ernment is a member. Two representatives of village councils
are also members. When it appears to the Central Govern-
ment that, it would be expedient for th. Board to take over the
control of the drainage and irrigation of any area, the area -
declared and the Board takes -over. An elaborate procedure is
laid down for consulting the persons concerned and every
opportunity is given to hear all the pros and cons before any
work is started or any rate levied. The capital cost of the
works is usually borne by the central government, but the
annual maintenance charges are collectible from the proprie-
t,ors. In the case of villages managed by local authorities, the
charges are recovered through the village rates. In many
cases where natural drainage cannot cope with the volume of
water that has to be taken off, expensive pumps have been
installed by Government. To meet the annual maintenance
charges for these pumps would be quite beyond the financial
ability of the farmers, and the central government has per-
force to help or abandon the people to their fate. Grants are
made to cover that, part of the. maintenance charges which in
the opinion of government is beyond the means of the people.
Private estates and areas not under any established form of
local government get no financial help. In the case of areas
that can be drained effectively without the use of pumps, and
which have an established form of local government, help is
also given by the central government to the extent, of 20% of
the annual maintenance charges. From time to time, there
has been strong criticism of the manner in which the Drainage
and Irrigation Board has performed its duties. Recently, it
has been decided that local authorities and private proprietors
should be given the opportunity of carrying out the necessary
maintenance work under the supervision of the Board, and of
controlling the various sluices, etc. They would also be given
the opportunity of framing their own annual estimates of
maintenance costs for the consideration of the Board. Most
local authorities have accepted these proposals by Government,
and have thereby assumed responsibility for one of the most
important matters affecting village life.
18. Local authorities are responsible for the maintenance
of proper means 'of communication within their villages. The
main roads which sometimes pass through the villages are
maintained by the central government, but, the village roads
and the irrigation and drainage canals and the dams have to be
kept up by the local authorities with the exception of those
works under the control of the Drainage and Irrigation Board.
The provision of potable water is also a matter with which local
authorities are concerned. The cost of all earth works neces-
sary for the laying of pipes is met by the local authorities.
The central government provides the artesian wells and the
pipe lines. The provision of irrigation water and pasture
lands are matters which also concern the local authorities. The
laying out\ of land for building purposes and the control of
trades are others. The local authorities are responsible to the
Central Board of Health for the general sanitary condition of
the villages. They may provide markets, abattoirs and ceme-
teries. The Commissioner of Local Government is a member of
the Central Board of Health. All of the things mentioned
are the constant concern of the local authorities, the District
Commissioners, and the Local Government Board.
19. In addition to the machinery of management and
consultation provided by law, local authorities have established
unofficial bodies for the consideration of matters of general
concern. Fifty-two years ago, the first Village Chairmen's
Conference was held. It has been the annual occasion for the
meeting of delegates from all over the colony. The Confer-
ence enables the representatives of the people in the established
villages to meet and consider matters of common interest and
to decide on the means of improving conditions and the admin-
istration of the villages. The agenda is always full and
interesting and the debates are keen. 'More often than not, a
special speaker is asked to declare the conference open, and on
many occasions the Governor has done so. As a rule, the
Commissioner of Local Government is expected to speak.
20. Within the six administrative districts in the coastal
region are to be found Unions of Local Authorities. These
bodies, like the Village Chairmen's Conference are voluntary
organizations. They meet quarterly and, to a restricted extent,
perform much the same functions as the Village Chairmen's
Conference. The District Commissioner attends the quarterly
meetings and his address often forms the most, important sub-
ject for discussion. He reviews the main happenings of the
preceding quarter, and touches on the affairs of the day, and
the plans for the future. In addition to the District Com-
inissioner, other district Government Officers attend. The
Agricultural Superintendent, the District Engineer, and the
District Social Welfare Officers are usually present'. In re-
cent years, the habit of inviting guest speakers had developed,
and addresses by Specialist Officers of Government are fre-
quently given. Government's policy in many fields is ex-
plained and discussed.
21. The decisions of the voluntary bodies are not binding
on anyone, but the force of the decisions is definitely felt. The
opportunities for debate and discussion on an almost unlimited
range of subjects are well appreciated, and provide good train
ing ground for anyone concerned with the welfare of the rural
inhabitants of British Guiana. These bodies may possibly be
the means of throwing up some of the future members of the
22. In making his recommendations for the development
of Social Services in British Guiana, in 1942, Professor Simey
suggested a close association of these services with the work of
the Local Government Department. His view was that local
authorities should play a large part in the social development
of the countryside.
23. His recommendations were closely followed in most
respects. In 1943, the Commissioner of Local Government
was appointed Social Welfare Officer, and charged with the
responsibility for developing the social services in addition to
his other duties. An Assistant Social Welfare Officer, a Co-
operative Organiser, a Youth Organiser, and a small field staff
for carrying out Rural Betterment work, were appointed to
his Department. At the same time, he was given administra-
tive charge of the Poor Law Department, the Approved Schools
and Prisons and all correspondence on matters pertaining to
these services was dealt with in his Departtnent as though it
was a branch of the 'Secretariat. A Probation Service has
since been built up with the same relationship to the Depart-
ment. From 1953 the post of Assistant. Social Welfare Officer
was redesignated Social Welfare Officer and this officer now
has charge of the Social Welfare Division under the super-
vision of the Commissioner of Local Government.
24. An advisory Social Welfare Co'imittee was appoin-
ted in 1942, with representatives of other Departments, the
Churches, voluntary bodies and local authorities included in
its membership. Sir John Verity (then Chief Justice) was
made Chairman of the Committee in the early stages, but the
chairmanship devolved later upon the Social Welfare Officer.
25. The administrative arrangements havs remained for
the most part unchanged. The promotion and registration of
Co-operative Societies have, however, become the concern of a
separate Department. The advisory Social Welfare Commit-
tee has fallen into disuse for one reason or another.
26. In the early days, the Rural Betterment staff had
some difficulty in gaining the recognition of the field officers
of other Departments, as this new activity of Government' was
regarded with some scepticism. There are distinctly encour-
aging signs of a change of attitude at the present time, but
the part that Social Welfare can and should play in Govern-
ment policy is notl yet fully appreciated.
27. A close association between Social Welfare and Local
Government, has, however, now been achieved. District
Social Welfare Officers are regarded as part of the staff of the
District Commissioners, although their work is directed by the
Social Welfare Officer. District Commissioners take an
active interest in welfare activities in their areas, and men-
tion new developments in their quarterly addresses to meetings
of the Unions of& Local Authorities.
28. Community Councils have been created in almost all
villages where the Rural Betterment staff is working. These
councils are voluntary bodies composed of representatives from
the local authority, each society, club or other group in the
village, and they undertake to plan as far as possible the social
development of the village, co-ordinate existing activities,
stimulate new activity where necessary, and control community
centres, playing fields, and other communal facilities. Pro-
fessor Simey had expressed the view that it would be a mistake
to create special Community Associations when local repre-
sentative organizations already exist.
29. It is too early yet to judge of the success or otherwise
of the Community Councils, but some encouraging signs have
appeared. Local authorities were inclined to regard the Coun-
cils with suspicion at first, believing that they would grow
into something like Ratepayers' Associations. Some Com-
inunity Council members did in fact hope to use the new
Councils as levers for their own political purposes, but the
Department made it clear from the beginning that any
attempts of that sort should be frowned upon, that the Coun-
cils should seek the co-operation of the local authorities, that
Ratepayers' Associations could be represented on Councils, but
that the Council itself should avoid taking direct political
action. It was also proposed that a Community Council should
always invite two representatives of the local authority to sit
on the Council (the voluntary bodies have .nly one each);
thereby giving recognition to the statutory authority responsi-
ble for the administration of the locality and linking its efforts
to their own as closely as possible.
30. All Councils have accepted this suggestion, and in
many cases the Chairman of the Village Council is also Chair-
man of the Community Council. It seems possible that the
Councils will become a source of strength to, progressive local
authorities and a healthy educational influence on those which
are not too wisely managed.
31. There is reasonably close association between the
district officers of the various departments of Government who
meet folimally once a quarter for general discussion of district
affairs. And again within the Department of Local Govern-
ment there is regular contact between the District Commis-
sioners and representatives of the Land Settlement and Social
Welfare branches who meet quarterly under the chairmanship
of the Commissioner of Local Government.
32. There are at present nineteen Community Centres in
the Coastal Region and at six of them there are libraries pro-
vided by the Public Free Library Committee. As new funds
become available, more and more rural libraries will be esta-
blished. Good use is being made of the facilities offered but
better use would be made if electric current were available.
The Public Free Library Committee of which the Commis-
sioner of Local Government is a member will expand its acti-
vities as fast as its finances allow.
33. As mentioned in the earlier part of this paper, the
earliest land settlements outside the plantations were established
by the ex-slaves and later by persons from India.
34. From time to time special attention has been directed
to the need for further land settlement. Since its establish-
ment, the Department of Local Government has been primarily
responsible for the development of new land settlements. A
definite policy has been laid down with the approval of the
Legislature and is being followed as closely as possible.
35. Four schemes have been undertaken in recent years,
and one has recently been completed. This scheme which
was started in 1945 has made available some 8,000 additional
acres of land for rice cultivation. Land is also available
for mixed farming and cattle rearing. Some of the lands
were administered by local authorities before the scheme was
launched. All the lands are now administered by local
authorities for it is Government's policy to retain control only
for so long as may be absolutely necessary, and after that to
allow the people to manage their own affairs.
3,6. Two other schemes started in 1944, and 1948, are by
no means complete but even so the settlers have elected CoM-
mittees to meet and discuss regularly the- affairs of the day
with the authorities. The experience gained by these Com-
mittees should stand the members in good stead when the time
comes for them to manage their affairs.
37. Other schemes of some magnitude are under con-
sideration. One will provide new rice lands amounting to
some 27,000 acres and the other new rice, farm and cattle lands
amounting to over 50,000 acres. It is hoped that mode)
villages will be established on sound town planning lines.
38. The policy of Government in regard to land tenure is
(a) freehold for the residential areas after a qualifying period
of three years, and (b) long term leasehold in respect of the
39. This relatively short paper is designed to record in a
compressed form some of the efforts that are being made by
the Government and the people of British Guiana to promote
community development in the rural areas. That further
improvements can be made in the machinery and methods, no
one will gainsay. The achievements of the past, however,
augur well for the future.
No. XVII. Mining in British Guiana.
British Guiana is one of the world's largest producers of
Bauxite. She also possesses other mineral wealth in the form
of gold, diamonds, and manganese ore.
The geological map of British Guiana sho vs four distinct
areas: (1) the coastal plain, containing no known mineral;
(2) the white sand areas, extending inland to the base of the
Kaieteurian escarpment, where are to be found workable de-
posits of diamonds, and bauxite; (3) the crystalline basement
areas, which lie between the white sand and the Kaieteurian
plateau and in which can be found the rest of the Colony's
known knineral wealth, gold. columbit', low grade manganese
and iron ores, and small quantities of minerals containing
chromium and titanium; (4) the potentialities of the Kaieteur-
ian plateau which are unknown. (In addition silica sand
and kaolin have been found).
The mining industry is an old and important one, and
although it employs only 3% of British Guiana's labour force,
it provides 1/3 of the colony's exports, 15% of the govern-
ment's total revenue, and 9% of the National Income. Recent
production statistics are as follows:
In 1952, a total of 2,387,938 tons (374,491 tons more than
the previous year) were mined by the Demerara Bauxite Com-
pany, a subsidiary of the Canadian Aluminium Company, and
the Berbice Co'mpany Limited. One third of the production
was from Crown Land, and the remainder from private prop-
erty. Royalty was collected to the value of $81,000 and duty
paid on the bauxite export amounted to $1,108;000. About
5% of the bauxite ore was calcined locally and the remainder
dried for export.
About 85% of British Guiana's gold is produced by the
B.G. Consolidated Goldfields Limited, which is partly financed
by Colonial Development; Corporation funds. A new dredge
was put into operation in 1954 in order to double the 1952
output of 24,000 ozs. The remainder comes from several
small companies and a number of individual prospectors, called
The Mazaruni District produced 187,934 stones weighing
22,055 metric carats in 1952, and representing 58% of the total
production. Royalty for that year amounted to $18,560, and
duty paid on the diamond exports was $5,722. The bulk of
this diamond output is produced by individual miners. In
the 1920's British Guiana was an important producer of dia-
monds, but the industry has declined. Diamonds are cut and
polished in British Guiana.
Columbite is being produced and deposits of manganese
and chromium are being examined for further exploitation.
Two grades of bauxite are shipped from British Guiana,
dried ore for the manufacture of metallic aluminium. 95%
of the bauxite production is shipped to Canada for reduction,
because of the cheap power supply, and the existing metal
manufacturing capacity there. The remaining 5% is calcined
for shipping to the United States and Europe for the manu-
facture of abrasive and refractory materials. Gold and dia-
monds go largely to the United Kingdom.
The Department of Lands and Mines
All metal and mineral wealth within the land, rivers and
creeks of British Guiana are the charge of the Department of
Lands and Mines. Ownership of mineral rights is vested in
the Crown which grants prospecting and mining rights.
Royalty is payable on gold, diamond and bauxite production,
(with the exception of bauxite mined on private lands), and
export duty on diamonds and bauxite.
The Geological Survey of British Guiana carries out topo-
graphical and geological surveys for the purpose of producing
maps and reports which will eventually cover the entire colony.
The World Bank Report pointed to this extension of surveys of
the colony's mineral wealth as tihe principal way in which
Government action might promote the expansion of mineral
PRODUCTION OF PRINCIPAL MINERALS 1948--1952
Bauxite Diamonds Gold
Amt. Value Amt. Value Amt. Value
(000 tons (000$) arts) (000$)ou ) (000
1948 ...... 1879 9601 36600 1399 20650 761
1949 ...... 1763 12022 34800 1172 21100 884
1950 ...... 1594 13825 37500 1345 13750 691
1951 ...... 2105 16417 43300 1798 14700 805
1952 ...... 2286 22240 38300 1490 24200 1300
No. XVIII. British Guiana Timbers, Limited.,
A SUBSIDIARY OF THE COLONIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
A new band mill which lays claim to being the largest in
the Caribbean and South America was officially opened by the
Governor of British Guiana, Sir Alfred Savage, K.C.M.G., in
February of this year after receiving the blessings of His
Grace the Archbishop of the West Indies. The mill which has
cost some 600,000 has a capacity of 5,000 cubic feet input per
day. Owned and operated by British Guiana Timbers Ltd., a
subsidiary of the Colonial Development Corporation, for whom
Steel Brothers and Co. Ltd., are managing agents, the comple-
tion of this mill is a significant landmark in the development of
British Guiana's timber resources.
Early in 1949, the Colonial Development Corporation with
the help of staff seconded from Messrs. Steel Brothers' Burma
forests interests conducted an investigation into the potentialities-
of British Guiana's forests and sawmilling as outlined in the re-
port by Sir Geoffrey Evans. As a result, of these investiga-
tions a forest concession was secured at Manaka on the Esse-
quibo River and the Colonial Development Corporation acquired
the assets of Bookers Timber Co. with forest, concessions at
Supenaam, Cuyuni and Wineperu, all on the Essequibo River.
These concessions served as pilot areas while negotiations
were under way for the acquisition of some 500 square miles in
the Bartica Triangle which became the main extraction area,
with Wineperu as the forest headquarters. The other areas
were leased out'on a sub-contract basis for the purpose of amor-
tisation. After the appointment of Mcssrs. Steel Brothers as
managing agents in 1949, operations in the forest were concen-
trated on a development programme to enable some 40,000 tons
of timber to be extracted during this year (1954), with the'new
mill in full operation.
With the assets of Bookers Timber Co., British Guiana
Timbers (C.D.C.) acquired two gang-sawmills, one situated
at Stampa Island on the Essequibo River and the other in
Georgetown, but with the opening of the new band mill, the old
Georgetown gang mill was closed down. A Company known
as British Guiana Timbers Ltd., was formed in 1951 to take
over all the existing assets of British Guiana Timbers (C.D.C.).
The shareholders are the Colonial Development Corporation,
Steel Brothers & Co.. Ltd., and Industrial Holdings (B.G.)
Ltd., (Booker Bros. McConnell & Co., Ltd.,)
The new band mill at Houston has.been built on a 25-acre
site two miles outside Georgetown. The site chosen has a road
frontage on the main East Bank Road and lies on the Demerara
River, thus allowing good berths for pontoons and a shipping
wharf for ocean-going vessels. All timber comes to the mill by
river transport, mainly on flat-decked pontoon barges towed by
itgs. The company has a fleet of some 25 vessels employed on
river transportation. Rafting unfortunately is impossible as
none of the main species will float.
The site was at one time part of a sugar plantation and the
designer of the mill, the late Mr. J. G. Scott, had no existing
buildings to hamper him in his design which was based upon
many years of experience as a sawmill engineer in Burma and
India. The mill is designed as a self-contained unit' with its
own power-house supplying from waste sawdust all the power
and light required. The power derived drives all the necessary
equipment required to convert greenheart and other local tim-
bers into dressed and undressed lumber for export or local
Kilns for seasoning timber are provided and ample space
exists on the site for any improvements that may be envisaged.
Accommodation for the labour force is not provided but there
are four houses for executive staff which compare favourably
with the housing in Georgetown. Some mile and a half of con-
crete roads have also been laid down.
Construction of the mill was in the hands of Mr. L. V.
Cole who in a full career of constructional engineering has
such notable landmarks to his credit as the Singapore-Johore
Causeway and the Calcutta Electric Works. Immediate diffi-
culties were encountered with the alluvial muddy foreshore on
which the foundations were to be built. Several hundred 40
feet piles had to be driven before concrete could be laid.
On arrival at the foreshore, logs are unloaded from the
pontoons by a powerful winch which drags them up a timber
flume to a point under the skyline. The 500 ft. span skyline
with its 80 ft. masts then picks up the logs and conveys them
either to the storage bays or the mill ramp. On the mill ramp,
the logs, some as long as 75 ft. are butted to lengths depending
on the size of lumber required, and then winch-hauled into the
mill where a five-ton overhead gantry crane takes over the
handling on to the log carriages.
The mill is laid out in two lines which can be run as a com-
bined unit or in two independent halves. Equipment com-
prises two 72 in. band mills, two 54 in. band resaws, three 48
in. ban resaws, four-48 in. circular saw benches, three-42 in.
circular saw benches and three 36 in. pendulum cross-cut saws.
All machines are electrically driven by individual motors. The
building, which is of all-steel construction with ample roof
lights, is built in two storeys; the mill floor proper being some
10 ft. above ground level. This arrangement provides space
for electric motors, conveyors and other equipment to be placed
below the working deck, out of the way of the timber.
Logs are broken down on the two band mills which can
accommodate logs up to 15 fti. in girth and 32 ft. long on the
carriages which are controlled by variable speed hydraulic feed
gear. Log turners are operated pneumatically. The band
mills carry 12 in. by 15 gauge saws running at, 6,800 ft./min.
and feeds of up to 90 ft. per min. have been found possible on
the smaller greenheart logs.
Lumber from the band mills is taken away down the mill
on power driven rollers tp be cut to width and thickness on band
resaws and circular saw edgers, eventually being cut to length
on pendulum cross-cut saws and finally conveyed by chute on
to the slowly moving sorting chains. Here the lumber is sorted
and graded before being loaded on to Lister petrol-driven
trucks and trailers for transportation to the export and local
All waste sawdust from the milling processes is extracted
by a pneumatic plant which blows it into a cyclone at the boiler
house some 100 yards away. The boilers have been fitted with
special furnaces and burners of a design developed in Burma.
The sawdust is injected into the furnaces and burns almost en-
tirely in suspension leaving practically no ash. At present
some firewood is still being used but when in full production
it is hoped that firewood can be dispensed with, except for
starting up. The power unit consists of two Browett & Lindley
steam engines direct coupled to 250 K.W. alternators. When
the mill is not working power for lighting and auxiliary ser-
vices is supplied by two Lister diesel alternators
Next to the mill building, but not connected to it so-as to
avoid vibration, is the sawshop. Here the band saws and
circular saws are examined, benched and sharpened on auto-
matic grinding machines. This very important work is carried
on under the direct supervision of the two saw-doctors.
About 30 bandsaws and a dozen circular saws have to be
sharpened every day as well as chain saws, moulding cutters
and other ancilliary equipment. Separated from the sawshop
by a concrete road lies the workshop where the engineers can
carry out all repair and maintenance jobs required in the
normal run of sawmill operation.
An innovation to British Guiana is the introduction of
two "Wells" type seasoning kilns each with a capacity of
12,000 ft. b.m. Provision has been made for the installation of
up to eight kilns if sufficient, demand exists for kiln-dried
lumber. Seasoning up to now has been carried on only by the
Government, Forest Department by air-drying a process
taking up to 6 months. Considerable research is being con-
ducted to produce good quality kiln-dried lumber.
The mill and its operations are in a comparatively early
stage of productivity and teething troubles are still being ex-
perienced. It is, however, significant that with an untrained
staff and witch a type of mill quite novel to the Colony, input to
date has achieved a figure of 3,800 cu. ft.'per day.
Gregenheart. (Ocotea Rodiaei) is the wood in predominant
demand today both for local consumption and export trade.
Its resilient nature and resistance to sea watec make it ideal
for- heavy marine constructional work. The durability of this
species was demonstrated when timber in use for 60 years at
Southampton Docks was found to be in such good condition
that within the last 5 years a number of old piles have been
drawn and re-used intact for other purposes; they were in al-
most perfect condition. The spring in greenheart does, in-
deed, present some problems when converting by band saw but
results to date have proved that band mills are capable of
producing a very high standard of sawn output, and recovery
even at this early stage has been 15 per cent. better than with
the more prevalent gang-sawmill.
Greenheart is used extensively on local construction work
and all but a very few houses are built from this species. It is
hoped, however, to supplement supplies of greenheart by intro-
ducing to the local and export markets other readily available
woods of great strength and durability. Mora (Mora Excelsa),
Locust (Hymenaea Sp), Simarupa (Simaruba Amara),
Purpleheart (Peltogyne Sp.) and many others will be sawn at
the Houston Mill.
The Company provides employment for 1,150 persons -
300 in the forests., 250 at the Sta'mpa Mill and 600 at the
Houston mill. Of the 31 persons filing Executive Posts 12
There is no doubt that the Houston mill has filled a much
needed want in British Guiana and that its success will be as-
sured in years to come. All concerned fully realise that the
mill is at present in an adolescent stage and for this reason it
seems fitting that in opening the mill recently the Chairman
should have quoted the words of Her Majesty the Queen used
in Jamaica; "Let us go forward in a spirit of exciting oppor-
tunity, eager optimism and high adventure."
British Guiana exports of hardwood shipped to U.K. in
1953, were Hewn Hardwood measuring 265,644 cubic ft. and
costing 179,805; and Sawn Hardwood measuring 134,118 cubic
feet and costing 110,026.
No. XIX. Agriculture.
For two hundred years sugar has been the main item in
West Indian agriculture. In British Guiana it provides 68%
of the revenue derived from agricultural products. Rice, second
to sugar in annual cash value produces 16% and the total re-
maining revenue is divided equally between animal products -and
all other crops including coconuts, fruits, ground provisions,
coffee and cacao. British Guiana is, despite major natural
handicaps, predominantly an agricultural country. Agricul-
ture today is almost entirely concentrated in a narrow strip of
fertile land along the coast and on the inland banks of a few
large rivers to a depth of between 2 -- 8 miles. In this rela-
tively restricted area are to be found 98% of all the farmers,
96% of the agricultural land and all the sugar estates.
British Guiana has an equatorial climate, with 2 rainy and
2 dry seasons; however, wide deviations from the mean occur
with sufficient frequency to constitute a major handicap for
agriculture. In the low-lying coastal areas irrigation is often
needed for sugar cane; dry crops, on the other hand frequently
require good drainage. For purposes of agriculture there are
three natural regions in the country:
(1) the coastal plain which extends to a depth of 20 -
30 miles inland and is composed of alluvial soil
brought down probably from the mouth of the Ama-
zon by the sea current.
(2) the interior peneplain, of complex bedrock, present-
ing a relief with gently undulating land between 50
400' in height.
(3) the Kaieteurian plateau in general about 2,000' high,
but with peaks rising up to a height of 8,600' com-
posed mainly of sandstone and extending from the
centre of the colony westward towards Venezuela and
British Guiana has one major asset in the fact that unlike
her West Indian neighbours, she possesses large stretches of
level land. In physical texture and chemical character the soil
shows wide variations, and although no systematic survey has-
yet been made to determine the nature and distribution of the
various soils throughout the colony, there is available reasonably-
reliable information about the soils of the coastal plain, ob-
tained from on-the-spot ,observation and laboratory analyses-
Broadly speaking, there exist 4 types of soil in the coastal belt:
frontland clays, in which are found 75% of the sugar-cane; pe-
gasse soils, in which are grown sugar, maize, tannia and coffee
riverside silt, formed by the alluvial deposit of the rivers at
flood seasons; and coconut-bearing reef sand.
The Report on Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry and Veter-
inary Matters of the West Indian Royal Commission pointed to-
the vital necessity for a soil survey as a necessary preliminary
to agricultural development. The Report of the World Bank
Mission made similar recommendations. A grant of $16,000'
from C.D. & W. funds has been made in 1954 by the Secretary-
of State for the Colonies for this purpose and plans for such
a programme are being completed.
Land Ownership and Use
The total area of the coastal plains is 3,839,000 acres; the
total acreage under cultivation 282,800, represents 7.4% of the
coastal plain. When there is added the rough estimate of 18,000
acres to represent the land in use under the system of shifting
cultivation of food crops by the Amerindians, an approximate
estimate reveals that the cultivated lands represent .5% of the
total area of the colony. The total area of pasture land, 400,000
acres on the coastland and 2,450,000 in the Rupununi savannahs,
is 2,850,000 acres. Thus nearly 60% of the land is given over
Coastal Zone Crops .. 282,800 acres
Inland Shifting Cultivation 18,000 acres
Cattle Raising .. .. 2,850,000 acres
Total agricultural land .. 3,150,800 acres
The fact that British Guiana has virtually a dual agricul-
tural economy is directly reflected in the pattern of ownership.
On the one hand there exist the sugar cane estates, cultivated
by wage labour, exporting 90% of its production; on the other
hand the small peasant proprietor engaged chiefly in rice cul-
In general permanent cultivation is based on a system of
monoculture sugar cane or coconut palms, and on peasant
farms rice fields with one or two subsidiary crops per year.
Sugar cane is cultivated very intensively and by methods
which retain or improve the fertility of the soil. On peasant
farms the loose combination of land cultivation and animal
husbandry hampers the most efficient utilisation of land, al-
though the rice lands under the single crop system apparently
keep their fertility without special manuring or the use of fer-
tilizers. Shifting cultivation is practised by the Amerindians
for ground provisions.
The following table represents the numbers of gainfully
employed : (in thousands).
1871 1881 1891 1911 1921 1931 1946 1952
etc. 1.8 2.2 3.1 8.2 7.2 22 9 19.3 21.8
labourers 98.3 108.2 105.4 98.3 77.7 51.8 40.8 36.2
occupations 137.0 167.5' 183.6 191.1 178.4 146.7
Main Lines of Production
Sugar Cane: 17 sugar estates, covering an area of 155,000
acres produce 98% of the colony's cane output. In 1952 ex-
ports of sugar and its by-products amounted to $45.' million or
56.4% of the total value of exports from the colony. It is
generally .believed that with the fullest use of the present
equipment the estates can achieve a maximum production of
275,000 tons without any increase in production costs. The
average weekly numbers employed in the field in 1952 was
about 22,000 and in the factories just over 6,000. Sugar
production costs are high $145 per ton of sugar according to
a 1953 estimate, partly owing to the costs involved in the main-
tenance of drainage and irrigation works.
Rice: This is the most important domestic food crop and is
second only to sugar among agricultural exports. It, is grown
almost exclusively by peasant farmers in the coastal area, and
covers an area of approximately 134,000 acres. There exists
one Gpvernment sponsored rice estate the Mahaicony-Abary
Development Scheme of about 11,090 acres of which 4,Go0
acres are cultivated mechanically by the Ric Development
Company, and the rest by small holders-
There are approximately 200 rice mills three of which
are Government owned. The total production of milled rice
was estimated at 74,000 tons in 1952. The Government-spon-
sored B.G. Rice Development, Company established in 1952 is
responsible for the cultivation of the 11,000 acres ,of the Mahai-
cony-Abary Scheme and for 4,000 acres recently purchased at
Onverwaagt, for the operation of an experimental station; and
for renting mechanical equipment to farmers. It is also re-
sponsible for running the Government-owned rice mills and for
establishing new mills in suitable localities. The marketing of
rice both for local consumption and or export is controlled by
the British Guiana Rice Marketing Board, which buys and sells
all rice produced in the Colony.
Other crops grown are coconuts, coffee, cocoa, citrus and
other fruits, cassava, plantains, eddoes, yams, sweet potatoes,
tannias, maize and rubber. Coconuts, in planted area and
value of product, occupy third place in the colony's agricul-
tural production. Standards of cultivation are poor, and the
yields low. The production of the two existing mills 398,471
gallons in 1952 is consumed locally.
The Government operates a processing factory for the dry-
ing and storage of corn, production of cornmeal, stockfeeds and
flour from dehydrated root crops. The Government Marketing
Division offers to buy from farmers all produce from minor
Cattle: Cattle most of which are kept for meat are found
mainly on the coastland and on the interior savannah ranches
of the Rupununi Development Company, and a few small
Marketing organizations established since the early nine-
teen-forties control the disposal of beef, cattle and milk.
Hogs, sheep, goats, and poultry are kept on a small scale by
There is a well organised marketing system for the main
Sugar and its by-products, rice and bauxite accounted for
90% of the value of 1952 exports. Sugar is shipped
mainly to Canada and the United Kingc m (55% of the total);
rice to the British Caribbean and bauxite to Canada (90%) the
United States and the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom
is the chief importer of the remaining 10% of exports, consist-
ing largely of gold, diamonds and timber.
Agricultural Credit :
In April 1954, was established the British Guiana Credit
Corporation, following the recommendations of the World Bank
Mission. This organization, which includes machinery for im-
proving effectively the overall needs of the colony, has taken
over the functions of the Co-operative Credit banks, previously
operated under the Department of Agriculture.
During 1953 a grant of 117,560 was made from C.D. & W.
funds for the establishment of a Central Agricultural Station
in the coastal area.
XX. Amerindian Affairs No. 2
The Amerindian Ordinance No. 22 of 1951 was not pro-
claimed until September 1, 1953. The time between the passing
of the Bill and the Proclamation was necessary to make arrange-
ments to enable the change from the old Ordinance to the new
one to be complete. However, the operation of the Ordinance
was to all intents and purposes totally restricted by the Execu-
tive Council then in power and the full operation of the Ordi-
nance only permitted by the Executive Council on December
15, 1953. Active registration was then commenced and to-date
over 5,000 Amerindians have been registered.
.The actual operation did not defer putting Government's
Policy into effect. An Amerindian Medical Officer was ap-
pointed in January, 1949 and has done extensive work cover-
ing most of the Amerindian Settlements in this Colony. Medi-
cal Rangers have been appointed in the Rupununi and Upper
Mazaruni River. A Dispensary Hospital was erected at Imbai-
madai in 1947 where a Government Dispenser has been stationed
since its inception. This was removed to Kamarang with the
removal of the Station. A new hospital at Lethem and houses
for staff are now practically completed. The Mobile Launch
in the North West has been in operation for several years and
caters mostly for Amerindians.
The Police Department has accepted the policy of recruit-
ing Amerindians for the Force to be posted in predominantly
Amerindiah Areas. Five were recruited in 1953 and have
been posted to the Rupununi District.
The Upper Mazaruni Amerindian District has been admin-
istered by a District Officer stationed in the area since 1945.
The Headquarters were removed from Imbaimadai to Kamarang
River Mouth in 1949, and a District Officer was posted in April,
1954 to the North West Amerindian District, while the other
reservations are under the immediate supervision of the Dis-
trict Commissioners within whose administrative districts they
Trade Stores have been in operation in the Rupununi and
the Upper Mazaruni Districts for some years and are operated
by this Department.
No District or Area Councils have been formed under Sec-
tion 17 of the Ordinance but under the Development Programme,
the Amerindian Central Development Committee has been es-
tablished and sub-commitees have been and are being set up. In
the Upper Mazaruni Amerindian District, the District Officer
has for some years held regular meetings of the Captains in the
area. Local Government as we know it, is, in its simplest
form, something entirely new to practically all the Amerin-
dian communities and is a tender plant to rear especially
among the more primitive groups. These meetings of Cap-
tains and the experience gained by the sub-committees in the
various areas will no doubt give some knowledge and experience
for the establishment of the various councils under the Ordin-
The policy of Government is to reduce the existing reser-
vations over a period of time and eventually have the follow-
(a) the existing Mazaruni reserve,
(b) an extended reserve in the Karasabai area to the
south of (a) and for the settlement of the Makusi
(c) the existing reserve at Moruca in the coastal belt,
and in addition an area set aside for the Wapisianas in the
The Wapisiana area is still to be settled. Nevertheless
progress has been made towards this end The Rupununi De-
velopment Company has agreed to relinquish a large portion of
their grazing lands on the eastern side of the Southern Savan-
nahs now occupied by several villages and the majority of the
population. This took some time as it was all bound up with the
conversion of their grazing permission into leases. Fencing
will be absolutely necessary and also adequate areas for farm-
ing and extension to cater for the increasing population and
those outside the area if they wish to come in, It is important,
and in fact Government's policy, to make these reserves
attractive and as self-supporting as possible. This can only
be done properly by land and soil surveys on which the Com-
missioner of the Interior has to rely on other Departments
who have not had the staff to undertake this work. In view
of the aerial survey being undertaken he has decided to defer
the matter and await the photos which have recently arrived in
order to save wasting time and money on elaborate land sur-
veys. Plans are now being prepared by the Lands and Mines
Department to cover the area to. be fenced and even here it is
not known if funds will be made available.
The recommendation to extend the Karasabai Reservation
to take the Makusis of the Central Savannahs has received
strong opposition from the Makusis themselves. They do not
intend to move to this area. An alternative area, the right
bank of the Rupununi River north of the Kanuku Mountains,
more in keeping with their wishes and their ancestral sur-
roundings, has been under consideration. Here again we have
been awaiting the results of the aerial survey. Owing to bad
weather conditions this was not covered by the 1952-1953
The recommendation was also made to extend the Upper
Mazaruni Amerindian District to. meet the extended Karasabai
Reservation. This will take in some 800 1,000 Patamonas
but the recommendation did not provide the answer to what
we are to do with ithe other races living there having shops and
Policy envisages tihe gradual reduction of the existing
Reservation. It is easy to accept this and state that these
should be converted into communal lands but this may take a
considerable time. There are hundreds of Amerindian settle-
ments that have never been and are not now within the Reser-
vations. We have to make something for those that do not
wish to. If all Amerindians are to eventually take their place
with other groups our major problem should be to aim at some
economy in their surroundings. We are now faced with quite
a problem that was not evident when Messrs. Peberdy and
Gregory-Smith (Officers who have previously supervised
Amerindians Affairs) made their reports or when policy was
made. The Amerindians are not the sickly and vanishing race
they were a few years ago. They are a rapidly expanding
and virile race and the great problem is to find them something
to do. The Department of the Interior has not been idle
in this respect as they have done extensive exploratory work on
agricultural projects such as cotton, cassava, tobacco, Brazil
nuts, cashew nuts, ground nuts, coffee, coconuts, fibres, castor
beans, leather manufacture, etc., etc. This has been
done mostly outside of the Department of Agriculture
simply on account of their not having the staff. What is needed
is an Agricultural Officer attached to the Department of
Agriculture working solely on agriculture projects for the
In the field of Education, the policy of assisting the
Churches has been continued and the grant to Churches was
increased froi $19,000 to $25,000 per annum in 1953. No
Education Officer has been specially appointed but Officers of
the Department of Education are specially detailed to inspect
schools and refresher courses have been held for the teachers in
the Rupununi. The Director of Education recently under-
took this duty himself and visited most of the schools in the North
West and Rupununi Disricts. The proposal to erect a
boarding school at Ignatius, Rupununi with an upper and
lower division is now before Government,. In addition to cater-
ing for the children of other residents in the Rupununi,
selected Amerindians will be given the opportunity at this
school to get a higher standard of education to enable them to
fill posts in the area now held by persons brought from the
No. XXI. Fisheries of British Guiana.
Nature of the Industry
The fisheries of British Guiana are not exploited on a
large scale by commercial enterprises or companies but their
industry nevertheless supplies an estimated 10 to 12 million
pounds of fish for the population. Average consumption
of fish, including imports, is about 36 lbs. per person annually.
Reliable production statistics are only available for Georgetown.
About 2,300 persons have full time employment in the produc-
tion aspect of the industry and indirect employment
is provided to about 5,000 people. Operations by 565
boats (individually owned) with 731 units of gear
,are mainly concerned with fishing with set nets in the
estuaries and along the beaches or close inshore along
the coast. Boats range in size from 20 to 42 feet. Open
boats using outboard (mainly) and inboard engines for auxi-
liary propulsion. Boats range up to 200 miles along the coast
from home base and may stay out up to 8 or 10 days. Fishing
methods are simple and non-mechanical and are mainly depen-
dent on tides and currents. The only off-shore enterprise is
hand lining for snappers which is undertaken by a company
operating 5 schooners on banks about 150 miles off shore.
Fish is an item which is always in considerable public de-
mand and the seasonal and daily supply fluctuation accounts
for considerable price variation. Cost of production is high
for several reasons and sale prices are unattractive to the con-
sumer. Fish in greatest demand are snappers, grouper, queri-
man and other mullets, bashaws and other weak fish, shrimp
and crabs and one type of the catfish family called gilbacker.
Though there are about 60 types that are eaten, the require-
ments of the population are highly selective and result in an
uneven utilisation of the fish stocks. There is as yet, no pro-
cessing of fish for fish meal or other by-products or salting of
fish on a commercial scale.
As the bulk of the population is concentrated on the Coast
the inland fisheries in other parts are poorly developed. The
country is, however, richly supplied with inland waters in the
form of numerous rivers and a close network of irrigation ca-
nals and trenches, besides having many large marsh reservoirs
and several lakes. However, there has been no serious fish
cultivation practised though intensive fish catching is done in
the inland waters along the coastal agricultural fringe (where
most farmers own castnets and thrust nets) and in some iso-
lated parts of the interior, as in some sections of the Rupununi
district. In rivers which are quite well supplied with fish the
intensity of endeavour is low because of sparse population.
It can be seen that the industry is not a highly developed
one, being a subsistence fishery for coastal villages in many
places, and providing a small income for its full time operators
in others. A fuller account of the fisheries of British Guiana
can be found in the references listed below.
THE FISHERY DIVISION OF THE DEPARTMENT
Established in January 1946 through a Colonial Develop-
ment and Welfare Grant, the function of the Division was pri-
marily that of organising and cataloguing the industry. Prime
attention was paid to the establishment of village or area
groups or associations of fishermen as co-operative thrift, wel-
fare and bulk purchasing societies. At the bame time simple
improvements were introduced and a market for shrimp meal,
fish maws and other by-products created. A census of the indus-
try has been carried out and fishermen are kept in fairly con-
stant touch through the system of refunding to them the duty
paid on gear imported for fishing.
Several minor improvements have been effected and the
basic information has been collected for implementing the
major schemes for improved and sustained production and
urgently required marketing and processing facilities.
Current Development Activities
A wholesale marketing and processing centre is being
established in Georgetown for handling and distribution of all
fish landed there. The centre is to be equipped with adequate
cold storage, ice supplies, fish processing equipment and to
provide facilities for gear servicing and supplies of gear and
fuel, minor boat repairs, and simple social amenities for the
fishermen. The collection and distribution service should
ensure continuous supplies to the centre and to the retail con-
This centre will be the focal point of marine fisheries im-
provement by stabilising the sales and supply situation and
allowing more continuous fishing. Additionally an explora-
tory vessel is to be acquired to introduce new methods and
exploit hitherto untouched sources and provide experience to
local trainees in mechanical methods.
Simple fixed fences and weirs are being introduced to
enhance the catch per unit effort of operators whose methods
are curtailed by wind and weather. Capital expenditure is
limited and catches have been very satisfactory.
Organisation of inland fisheries in the form of commer-
cial fish culture enterprises is being undertaken. Stpcks of
fish will be available for distribution to farmers possessing
small homestead ponds or larger ponds (of an acre or more).
Ponds are to be established at, land settlement schemes, public
institutions, prison farms, schools and wherever conveniently
possible. Organised fish culture enterprise will include the
cultivation of fresh water as well as brackish water fishes and
the propagation of fishes for stocking of natural waters.
Survey and Reports
In 1942 a survey of the fisheries of British Guiana was
conducted by Dr. H. H. Brown, Caribbean Fisheries Adviser
to the Secretary of State for the Colonies. In his published re-
port. a review account is given of all aspects of the fisheries of
the coastal fringe with recommendations for their development.
In 1944 a trawl survey was conducted in inshore and offshore
waters of Trinidad and British Guiana, jointly sponsored by the
Anglo-American Caribbean Commission and Colonial Develop-
ment and Welfare. The Colonial Fisheries Adviser, Dr.
C. F. Hickling, has reviewed progress in the fisheries of the
Colony in 1949 and 1954.
Local surveys and investigations into the fishery potential
of various regions have been conducted and recommendations
have been made for the development of the fisheries of North
West District, Upper Mazaruni and Rupununi Districts.
1942 Brown, H. H. The Fisheries of British Guiana.
A Report to the Comptroller for
D & W in the West Indies.
1945 Brown, H. H.; Whiteleather, R. T.-An experimental
Fishery Survey in Trinidad, To-
bago and British Guiana. Anglo-
American Caribbean Commission.
1949 Hickling, C. F. Fisheries of the British Carib-
1954 Hickling, C. F. Report on visit to British Guiana.
1952 Caribbean Fisheries -- Caribbean Commission, Trent
House, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.
No. XXII. Trade Unionism in British Guiana.
At the- turn of the century there was no Labour Code ex-
cept the Common Law. People worked upwards of 10% hours
per day and earned wages which could only maintain them in
the very lowest standard of living. Soon it began to dawn on
them that if they combined they would be able to achieve higher
wages and better working conditions. The first Guianese to
realise this and try to puts his idea into operation was Mr. H. N.
Critchlow, O.B.E., who organised the British Caribbean's
first Trade Union in 1919 and registered it in 1922 as B.G.
Labour Union No. 1. From that time Trade Unionism has
been making steady though gradual progress in organization
and in membership. The number of Unions registered since
1922 may be taken as an index of the interest' evinced. In
1922 1; 1931 3; 1938 9; 1954 to date 48-
In British Guiana apy person 16 years of age or over is
eligible for union membership but.he or she has to be 21 yeam
of age or older to hold office. A Ynion must be registered with
.the Registrar of Trade Unions. Most of the IRegisltried Unions
have their central executive in Georgetown and one or movie
branches in the district or districts in which there is a sizeable
The estimated number of wage-earners in the Colony is
about 100,000 while the total union membership is between
20,000 and 25,000. There is room for further education of
unionists and for better organization. In fact most of the
Unions are financially very unstable, and there is also much
internal dissension and union rivalry. Workers tend to be
led by personalities rather than by policies and programmes.
In 1938, the Deparenent of Local Government was expan-
ded into the Department o .Labour and Local Government
under the direction of Mr. M. B. Laing.
In 1942 tihe Department of Labour was separated and es-
tablished as a separate entity and Mr. Colin Fraser appointed
Commissioner of Labour. Mr. Fraser's successor was Mr.
W. M. Bissell, O.B.E., and Mr. J. I. Ramphal, M.L.C., J.P.,
has been selected to be Mr. Bissell's successor.
From its inception the policy of the Department of Labour
has been to foster trade union development. It helps Unions to
draft their rules based on the model Rules of the British
Trades Union Congress and gives advice to the various organi-
zing committees. It sponsors seminars and courses on trade
union management and development in conjunction with the
Extra-Mural Department of U.C.W.I., and the British Council.
Courses in elementary book-keeping are also offered. Since
1951, trade union executives have been sent to Barbados and
the U.C.W.I., to extend their knowledge of Labour relations.
On these courses trade unionist from various parts of the
British Caribbean also meet and discuss their common problems.
The Department of Labour also assists in the settlement of
industrial disputes by encouraging collective bargaining, by
conciliation and by arbitration by mutual consent. Advisory
committees have been set up by the Governor-in-Council under
the provisions of the Labour Ordinance 1p enquire into con-
ditions in industries where workers are. not organized. These
advisory committees on the basis of their findings, make recom-
mendations to Government regarding settlement of disputes,
wages and conditions of employment. Under the provision
of the Labour Ordinance, Orders in Council have been made
fixing wages and conditions of employment following th& re-
commendations of some of these Committees.
Trade Unionism in British Guiana has always sought, and
received the aid and guidance of the British Trades Union
Congress. In 1951, the Trades Union Congress made a gift
of office equipment, stationery and literature to the local Trade
Union Council while in 1954, it donated 3000. for organizing
campaigns in the colony. It has also awarded a scholarship
to a union leader to further his knowledge in the field of Labour
Relations at Ruskin College, Oxford.
Most Government employees are in registered Unions.
These are the "British Guiana Civil Service Association", the
"B.G. Post Office Workers Union", the "Public Works Pure
Water Supply Scheme and Sea Defence Workers Unions", the
"Transport Workers Union of British Guiana", the "Medical
Employees Union" and the "Federation of Government Em-
ployees' Unions". Each Union and Government supply rep-
resentatives to two Whitley Councils.
One of the foremost developments in industrial relations in
the sugar industry is the establishment of the Estatp Joint
Committee. These Committees were first organized by Mr.
Bissell as Commissioner of Labour and provide a means where-
by workers and employers may discuss matters around the
conference table in a personal and informal manner.
The candidates for election to these committees must be
members of a Trade Union recognized Lyr the employers and
also of the particular categories they hope to represent. Male
candidates must have worked 78 days in the previous 6 month
period and in the case of females 60 days, or in each case the
average number of days worked by the "gang" or category of
workers whichever is less. The system has so far proved its
usefulness and is becoming an essential part of Labour Relations
in the industry.
No. XXIII. Broadcasting in British Guiana.
During 1926 a wired rediffusion service was introduced.
It was operated over the telephone system -and was available
to telephone subscribers on Georgetown Exchange on payment
of a mall fee. Programmes received from the Daventry short-
wave station were relayed over the system.
The service was abandoned late in 1927 when a low power
short-wave radio broadcasting transmitter was constructed and
put into service experimentally. These services were initiated
by Mr. W. R. Brasher, who was then Chief Engineer of the
Post Office Telecommunications Department, and Mr. A. E.
Gagan, Wireless Engineer.
Radio programmes were broadcast for about 2 hours per
week on a wavelength of 47 metres, latpr changed to 43.86
metres (6840 kc/s), and continued on an experimental basis
until the economic situation in 1931 necessitated closing the
Broadcasting was revived in February, 1935, by a group of
enthusiasts (which included Messrs. Louis Kerr, Oscar S.
Wight, M.B.E., E. G. Fenty, F. T. Manly and A. E. Gagan) in
time for broadcasting a ball-by-ball commentary of the cricket
matches played between the visiting M.C.C. team and colony
Two stations, VP3MR and VP3BG were operated inde-
pendently from this time on a commercial basis with sponsored
programmes until 1938, when they were amalgamated on the
formation of the B.G. United Broadcasting Company Limited
-which was financed by local firms and individuals.
In 1949, a medium-wave transmitter was brought into ser-
vice in addition to the short-wave transmitter.
In 1950, Overseas Rediffusion Limited purchased a con-
trolling interest in the company and a 15-year franchise was
granted by Government.
Under that franchise, Government is entitled to 101/2 hours
air time per week. Until the secondment for six months, at
the end of 1953, of Mr. Henry Straker of the B.B.C., only a
small part of this allocation was used regularly. Now, (Nov-
ember, 1954), Government Broadcasting averages 9/4 hours
per week, of which 21/2 hours in term time are devoted to
Schools Broadcasts. Government Broadcasting is the respon-
sibility of a division of the Government Information Services.
(1) Name and Character of British G u i an a United
local broadcasting or- Broadcasting Company Limi-
(2) Date of establishment January 1935
(3) a. Name of Manager Mr. W. L. Robinson
b. Name of Engineer Mr. E. McDowell
(4) Postal and telegraphic Radio Denierara, Georgetown
address British Guiana
(5) Government expendi-
ture on programmes
C. D. & W. grant 6,875
(6) Revenue derived by
Government from Com-
(7) Wireless receiving
a. annual amount
b. numbers issued
c. estimated number
of listeners per
d. proportion of
received by Com-
(8) Wired Broadcasting
b. power : unmodu-
power at output
c. Call sign
f. radius of satisfac-
g. Details of aerials
One dollar fifty cents
1952- -13,287 (Value
1954-Jan. to Sept. -
21,132 (Value $31,698.00)
5 in Georgetown
8 to 10 in the country
Company receives 80% (as
from 1. 9. 52) (previously
Lodge Village (on outskirts
On 5981 kc/s and 3255 kg/s
(709 watts stand-by) On
1230 kc/s-500 watts
5981 kc/s, 230 kc/s and
50.16 metres, 90 metres and
Georgetown by medium-
wave British Guiana itself,
Trinidad, 3Barbados, Grenada
& Surinam by short-wave.
2-600 ohms delta matched.
Dipoles /2 wavelength above
Vertical Radiator approx.
50' lolg with single wire top.
(IO) Receiving Station (s)
b. operating autho-
c. type of receiving
d. type of aerials
(11) Power Supply
Lodge Village (at transmit-
ters and studio
Hammalund Super Pros
RCA CR 91's (4 receivers)
Horizontal Dipole and inver-
220/110 volts, 50
220/110 volts, 50 cycles,
single phase and 220 volts,
a. Details of any
V H F links used
b. Dittp broadcast-
ing quality tele-
(13) Frequency allocations
(14) Rediffusion systems
(15) Studio Centre(s)
a. location and b
indication of ni
ber and capa
b. recording facil
5981 kg/s, 3255 kc/s and
dios; Capacity of
studio 80 persons.
i- One Disc recorder, up to 16"
discs, 331 and 78 RPM
Two Presto tape recorders
71," and 15" per second -
up to 32. minutes continu-
c. recording facility
d. facilities for
ies (mo- One Presto tape recorder -
ditto operated from a
rotary converter on 24 volt
battery. N.B. All these re-
corders arc 110 volt, 50
playing Two Presto turntables 16"
6 MSS turntables 16". Two
Presto tape lathes.
331/3 & 78 RPM
71/2" and 15" per second
110 volts 50 cycles
playback Decca moving iron
Staff, number em-
(17) Hours of broadcast-
ing (local time)
(18) Best listening times
extent of use
Weekdays: 0600 to 2230
Sunday: 0700 to 2230
11 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.
4.30 p.m. to 5.30 p.m.
7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
English & Hindustani
Monday % hour.
Saturday 1 hour.
Sunday 21/2 hours.
Remainder of time: English.
(20) Character of programmes, weekly average in hours.
(a) BBC Relays:
1 News & News 81 -
2. Other Programmes -
(b) Other Relays
(c) BBC Transcriptions 131/2
(d) Other Transcriptions -
(e) Local Programmes:
1. Participating 51/4
2. Live & Recorded 61/
3. Sunday Church 21/2
Service & Daily
4. Other Religious 14
5. Local News
6. Live Variety
1. Schools Broad-
casiing (See In-
formative No. 7)
2. Other Broadcasts
Schools Broadcasts 2
Other Broadcasts 51/4
Music and simple musical
instruction. Talks and
features. 1/2 hour' transcribed
(BBC Schools and Colonial
Transcription Units)- talks
Mainly tplks Also music,
magazine programmes, oc-
casional features and radio
plays. 12 hours transcribed:
(BBC and United Nations)
as talks, features radio plays.
(21) Communal listening
(a) public address
(b) community wire-
(e) schools equipped
(22) Domestic receivers
(a) average current
(b) estimate of price
within means of
(c) most popular types
(23) Import duties, on re-
13 on sugar estates.
42 receivers installed
$160 (on. instalment system
but only if "down payment"
is not more than $15)
Murphy, Phillips, Marconi,
H.M.V., Pye, Bush, Kolster-
(a) 20% British origin;
36% other than British.
(b) Radio receivers valued
nol more than 6 f.o.b. for
household use and suitable
use solely on power from
electric batteries or accumu-
lators: British origin-free.
Other than British-16%
(24) Other wireless broadcasting stations (e.g Forces)
situated in the territory.
.(25) Stations in other territories most widely listened to'
The most popular programmes are:
General Overseas Service
(2) Radio Trinidad has a good listening public, it comes
on the air at 0600 (local time).
The daily newspapers publish free of cost the foreign
No. XXIV. Progress Report on the British Cuiana
TEXT OF A BROADCAST BY DR. NORMAN DUTHIE,
CHAIRMAN OF THE B.G. CREDIT CORPORATION.
October 14, 1954.
This is the third broadcast I have made over Radio Dem-
erara. The first time I spoke, I outlined the intentions of the
Government in relation to the Credit Corporation. The sec-
ond time I was able to say that the Corporation had now been
set up by a special Ordinance, and had thus become a fact, and
not just a promise. This time I propose to tell you something
about the actual working of the Corporation as a going concern.
But first I must make one point quite clear. At, no time
have I suggested that we could work miracles; and I am cer-
tainly not going tp make any such suggestion now. The Cor-
poration is a new venture, and has had to start from scratch.
British Guiana is a big country, with a great variety of people
and of occupations. It is not easy, even for men who have
spent their lives here, to form a mental picture of the whole
country, with its amazing diversity of interests and problems.
That is one reason why, in an earlier broadcast, I made an ap-
peal for a measure of patience and tolerance while we are
building an organisation which will be able to do the difficult
and complicated job which the Credit Corporation has to un-
I'm not going to waste much of your time and mine by
trying to reply to some of the hasty criticisms which began to
be offered almost before the Corporation had had time to
draw breath. But I have wondered what some of these com-
plaining people wanted or expected. Was it, perhaps, an
office, or half a dozen, .or a score of offices, each fitted with a
long counter, like a quick-lunch bar. with application forms at
one end and a great big cashbox at the other? And, you know,
I'm not even sure that if that plan had been followed, the cus-
tomers coming out with bundles of notes in their hands would
all have been really happy. Certainly some of them would
have been vexed because they hadn't asked for five times as
much! And a thought, must be spared for the deserving people
who would have come along next day, or next week, buti who
would have had to be told' that the cupboard was bare that
even these big cash-boxes had already been emptied.
Of course, I know that nobody was really foolish enough
tp imagine that we would work on the system of the open cash-
box. But not everyone realizes how much thought and ex-
perience is needed if money is to be lent wisely. It is easy to
understand that a loan may have to be refused because the ap-
plicant can't be regarded as trustworthy, or because his scheme
is unsound. It may not be so widely recognized that in some
cases the granting of a loan, even toi a man of good character,
may be tko do him a bad turn, by encouraging him to take on
responsibilities which simply must mean years of worry, disap-
pointment, and finally failure. All our applicants are, of
course, optimists. They have no doubt at all that their plans
are sure to succeed. But in many cases the first plan has tp
be pruned and adjusted and reshaped, until it can be accepted
as workable. And here, in a very inadequate word, I must
offer the sincere thanks of the Corporation to the technical
officers of the Government Departments who have given us
such willing advice. It is not only the Corporation that they
have helped, but also the applicants and the community.
May I ask you now to link together two things which I
have already said in this talk? The first is that the Corporation
is a new venture, and had to start from scratch; and the second
is that the wise lending of money is something which requires
experience and sound judgement. It wasn't enough to pass
an Ordinance setting up the Credit Corporation, and to provide
for its being helped and advised by Regional Development
Committees and Area Sub-Committees and then to expect
that by some magic a complete organisation for Government
lending in British Guiana would work perfectly from the word
"go"! It is therefore most heartening that I am already able
to say that nearly all these Committees are working very well
indeed. They have been quick to understand what informa-
tion must come to our office if applications are to be dealt with
promptly and properly. Some Districts, of course, have
learned more quickly than others; but it is true that some of
the reports which are now coming in are models ,of their kind,
and well justify the confidence which was placed, for this par-
ticular purpose, in the Regional Development Committees, and
in their Chairmen, the District Commissioners. I know, of
course, that there have been one or two isolated complaints
about local prejudice and perhaps jealousy on the part of
single members of Regional Committees. The wonder is not
that there have been such stories, but that they have been so
few. Where we are satisfied that there is ground for a com-
plaint of this kind, we are willing to transfer the case to Head
Office, and tp deal with it there.
I must say a word, also, about, the Corporation's own field
staff the District, Managers and the Local Secretaries who
came over to us from the Old Credit Banks. These men have
risen well to their heavier responsibilities, and I should like
them to know that this is neither overlooked nor forgotten at
I don't want anyone to imagine because I have been offer-
ing appreciation and thanks to some of those who are associated
with the Corporation's work, that my colleagues and I are
satisfied with things as they are. We are anything but that.
Nobody outside can know as well as Mr. Carmichael. Mr.
Durey, and myself how very much remains to be done.
People have become so used to the idea of the Corporation and
its purpose that they are apt to forget that it isn't
yet four months since it was born. We claim that it, is a
healthy youngster in a minute I will give you some figures
which show this but we know well that we have a long way
to go before any of us will be satisfied with the organisation and
its working; and we don't for a moment imagine that, we know
the answers to all our problems.
For some of our difficulties there is no general answer.
Take the instance of loans without security. We have given
an assurance that such cases will be considered sympatheti-
cally: this was the substance of the views expressed in the
Legislative Council. What then, are we expected to do with a
man who has followed his trade for a dozen or fifteen years
without doing any more than make a bare living, but who says
now that if we provide him with machinery and materials, and
in some cases even rent and wages for the workers he intends
t, employ, his whole outlook and circumstances will change
overnight? In fact we spend and there is no escape from
this as much time on a single case like this as we do on a
dozen more normal applications. We have to give it most
anxious thought, for we want to be sure as we can that no de-
serving appeal is refused. But it is easy to see how in such
cases a loan may, as I said a minute or two ago, be a constant
worry and indeed a danger to the applicant and his depen-
dents. Then let me say a word about loans for Housing to
Government employees. The necessary committees have been
appointed, and are at work. The fault that was found with
the scheme which was operating some years ago was that in
fact most of the loans made were for buying existing houses,
and two few were for building new ones. Everyone knows
that new houses are perhaps the Colony's most urgent need.
The funds we have are Development Programme Funds. In prin-
ciple they must be used first for new buildings; and the best
we can say otherwise is that if we do not get enough applica-
tions for that purpose, we shall consider cases whdre it is pro-
posed to buy old 'houses. I cannot' meantime go further than
Now let me come to figures. The Corporation came into
being on June 21. Since then we have authorised loans
amounting, in round figures. to $883,000 and against these
loans -we have paid out over $530,000. The difference between
'the two figures is due to several 'causes. Perhaps the longest
delay is where ima.-hinery has to be nbrnuht in 'from abroad;
and we have a fair number of cases of this kind. Then it is
common knowledge that proposed mortgages have to be adver-
tised for 'three successive weeks before they can 'be "registered.
Naturally many of our cases are d'lv.yedo because of this.
Finally I may mention a somewhat odd point. 'Most' of our
applications are so urgent, that we wonder what on earth
would 'have happened if there had been no Crodit Corporation.
If it is felt that our machinery of enquiry and consultation iA
working slowly, then we have thrown at us nasty words like
"frustration". But we have found that sometimes when a
loan has been approved there seems to be no urgency about
taking it up; we send out documents for signature, and then
have our taste of frustration while we wait for them to come
In the majority of eases, however, completion goes through
as quickly as the law will allow. In particular the work of
making the Rice Reaping loans has gone through very smoothly.
I can't, resist the temptation to mention this special case. We
provided some expensive reaping machinery to a farmer, and
he got delivery of it only a little over a fortnight ago. This
week, having got a lot of his crop in, he has made us his first
repayment-a nice round substantial sum. This has cheered us
up greatly; and what is more important has given us new faith
in the sound, honest, people whom we want to help.
No. XXV. Rural and Cottage Industries.
In 1949, the British Guiana Government instituted,
through the Social Welfare Department, a programme for the
development of Rural and Cottage industries, with the follow-
(1) To investigate the availability of raw materials for
(2) To conduct research on available raw materials and
experimental work to pilot plant stage.
(3) To hand over the :possibilities to private enterprise
after it has been established that exploitation of
materials is a commercial pr.positiori.
(4) To assist small established industries by (i) pro-
viding marketing facilities, and (ii) investigating
Marketing facilities are available at the Cottage In-
dustries Sales and Display Centre, 20, Harel Street,
Industries investigated or established to date (September
1954) are as follows:
Jam, jelly and preserves; (location Essequibo Coast)
Government operated for two years in this area a pilot
plant which has now been sold to .a U.S. -owned Development
Corporation. The factory is located at Queenstown, but a
large new factory will be erected at Adventure. Guava jelly,
mango jam, and golden-apple jelly are being produced.
Breakfast Cereal; (location Dundee, Mahaicony, East
A breakfast cereal and cereal confection is manufactured
from padi. This is still in the pilot plant stage, but may be
ready for further development by private enterprise early in
Working in this field is along the lines of semi-commercial
production. Handicraft groups produce bags, slippers, mats,
hats, baskets at Queenstpwn, Essequibo; Bagotville and Goed
Fortuin, West Bank, Demerara; and Mahaicony, East Coast,
Pottery: (location- Anna Catherina, West Coast, Demerara,
Pottery is also in research and investigational stage. An
experimental pottery was recently established in Georgetown.
Other industries in research stage include:-
(a) The production of papain from the papaw.
(b) The production of edible oil from tropical nuts in
Berbice River Distret.
(c) Manufacture of tomato ketchup on Corentyne Coast,
No. XXVI. Population of the Corentyne Coast, 1953.
The total population of the '"Corentyne Coast" has in-
creased by more than 80 per cent in less than 25 years. When,
the census of April 1951 was taken the population of this area
was 33,300; at the end of December 1953, it, was 60,300.
The Corentyne Coast is defined, in "Interim Note No. 2"
by the Registrar General's department, as that strip of coast
situated between the mouths of the Berbice and Corentyne
rivers and extending from Seawell and No. 3 to Skeldon and
No. 79 Village with a maximum depth of approximately 12
The routine statistics collected by the department, enable
limited comparisons with t~he colonial census in respect of
distribution and growth of the population; race and sex; age;
birth-place; and conjugal condition, motherhood and fertility.
Data on housing, religion, literacy, and occupation or em-
ployment which appear in the general census are not at
present, available from this source.
The note, the first on general characteristics of the popu-
lation of particular regions of Britjsh Guiana, gives a pre-
liminary and brief account, of the vital experience of the
Corentyne people in general and of the East Indian com-
ponent in particular.
Increase in 24 years.
1931 1946 1953
All Races 33,300 49,300 60,300 27,000 81.1
Indians 24.000 37,800 49,400 25,400 105.8
Others 9,300 11,500 10,900 1,600 17.2
The estimated population of British Guiana at December
31, 1953, was 447,280 with its East Indian component 215,260
or 48.1 per cent; of the Corentyne Coast population of 60,300
East Indians numbered 49,400 or 81.9 per cent. in 1953; in
1931, the corresponding figures were 33,277, 24,008, and 72.1
per cent.. The period between the censuses of 1931 and 1946
bore witness to a very significant over-all increase 15,950
or 47.9%-in the population of the Corentyne Coast, with the
groups 5-14, 15-64 and 0-4 years making increases of
58.4%, 43.8% and 40.2% respectively. These are tremen-
dous increases: within this period, the age-group 5-14 in.
creased by well over half the number it had been in tihe base
year 1931. (The biggest statistical increase, 94.6% was
recorded in the group 65 years and over, but this was only
a natural change-over from the group 15-64 years within
the 15-year period. On the surface, the increase in the 65
plus group may appear to be quite extraordinary, but in fact
it was only 2.8% of the tolal 1946 Census population for the
INTER-CENSAL INCREASE BY AGE GROUPS
Age Groups 1931 1946
Years No. %
0 4 6,104 8,556 2,452 40.2
5 14 8,463 13,403 4,940 58.4
15 64 17,994 25,875 7,881 43.8
65 plus 716 1,393 6'7 94.6
Total 33,277 49,227 15,950 47.9
But if the overall increase of 15,950 for the inter-censal
period 1931-1946 may be described as "very significant",
the population between April 1946 and December 31, 1953,
may be said to have increased by leaps and bounds in this
area, the increase in the 73/4 years being 11,000 or 22.6 per
cent. In other words, by 1953, no less than 27,000 had been
added to the population of 33,300, an increase of 81.1 per
The percentage increases for the East Indian component
of the Corentyne population for the same periods are 57.3%
or 13,764 between 1931 and 1946, and 30.8% or 11,628
between 1946 and 1953. And the percentage increase is not
less than 105.8 (or 25,400) for the period 1931 to 1953.
There were 19,445 births registered throughout British
Guiana during the year 1953, and of this number 2,798 or
14.4% occurred on the Corentyne Coast, East Indian births
accounted for 10,679 or L4.9% of all births registered, and
of the births on the Corentyne 2,387 or 85.3% were East
Indians. The crude birth rate for this area was 47.3 per
1,000 estimated mean population as compared with one of
44.1 for all British Guiana, and the specific birth rate for
East Indians on the Corentyne was 49.3 ,as compared with
one of 50.6 for all Eas T' .dians in British Guaiana.
British Guiana's crude death rate is declining notably
and by 1953, it had fallen to 13.3. The number of deaths
among the total East Indian population was 2,617 in that
year, giving a specific death rate of 12.4 Deaths on the Coren-
tyne Coast numbered 556 giving a crude rate of 9.4 'and an
East Indian specific rate of 10.1. Deaths registered on the
Corentyne Coast for the year 1952 were 639, giving a rate of
11.2. The infant mortality rate was 83.4 for 1952 and 69.0
No. XXVII. The "Pay-off": Bigger Population,
Better Life ExDectation.
Calculated on the basis of present trends, British Guiana's
population (including Amerindians) should reach one million
in the year 1980 but had Death gone on permanent holiday
at the end of 1868, the population would have been well over
one million at the end of 1953.For, there were estimated to
be 190,000 persons in British Guiana at the end of 1868..the
,balance of arrivals over departures in the succeeding 85 years
was 133,570..and there have been 854,132 entries in the
birth registers since January 1869, when compulsory regis-
tration was introduced.
A review of the period 1869-1953 suggests tihati the
statistical pattern of birth and death rates is broadly similar
to that which appears to be peculiar to countries struggling
upwards from the under-developed and under-populated
state. There has been the same primary phase during which
both birth and death rates were high but fluctuating, followed
by the second phase of a steadily increasing birth-rate and a
steadily declining death-ratie. At date, British Guiana
appears to be in the middle of this second phase.
Beginning from 1869 and continuing to the close of the
nineteenth century, both birth and deathh rates were high,
and whatever difference there was in magnitude was insignifi-
cant and usually in favour of the birth-rate, except for the
years 1877, 1890, and 1892 when death-rate exceeded birth-
rate by wide margins. (The death-rates in those years were
37.9, 39:8 and 39.8, and the birth-rates 33.1, 30.9 and 28.0;
the average birth and death rates frno 1869 to 1899 w4ee
32.4 and 32:5). iThese high birth-rate death-rate fluctuations
continued well into the first quarter of the twentieth
century with the influenza years 1918 and 19,19 showing the
highest death rates of 40.6 and 40.4 and the lowest birth-
rates of 25.1 and 25.9 respectively a tremendous adverse
PERIOD BIRTH RATE DEATH RATE
1869 32.2 30.7
1870 1879 35.3 34.5
1880 1889 33.0 30.0
1890 1899 29.0 33.2
1900 1909 31.7 28.9
1910 1919 29.6 31.0
1920 1929 31.8 26.7
1930 1939 32.1 22.3
1940 1949 36.7 17.3
1950 1952 42.4 13.9
1953 44.1 13.3
The year 1922 may be said to mark the close of this first
cycle when for the last time, the death-ratp (29.1) fluctuated
higher than the birth-rate (27.8) and also, death-rates finally
fell below the thirties. In 1939, the death-ratp entered the
'teens for the first time since 1869 and in 1941 the calculated
death-rate of 15.6 was less than half the birth-rati- of 35.4.
From 1945, this birth-death ratio of 2:1 was uninterruptedly
maintained in trend, and rapidly improving, until in 1949,
within an interval of five years, registered births were well
over three times all deaths registered; the death-rate of 13.3
being well under one-third of the corresponding birth-rate of
42.3-remarkable progress indeed
Since 1949, and with the exception of the year 1950, when
the birth-rate was 40.4 and the death-rate 14.6, this birth-death
ratio of 3 to 1 has been steadily expanding to register bigger
and better rates of natural increase for British Guiana; for
-in 1946, the natural increase was 7,426 or 20.4 per 1,000 esti-
mated population, and by 1952, it had reached 13,569 or a rate
of 30.8, representing an increase of more than eleven times the
natural increase prevailing in 1921-1925, and 82.7% over that
There are doubtless other contributing factors, but it is
safe to say that this impressive progress is the pay-off for
heavy, indeed heroic, investments of national and imperial
funds in measures directly and indirectly beneficial to the
Expectation of Life. There has been a significant increase
in the expectation of life in all age-groups for both sexes, and
this particularly prominent among females. In the 1946 Life
Tables the expectation of life for males and females at birth
was 49.32 and 52.05 years as compared with -53.12 and 56.28
years in the 1952 Tables. At age 1 year, the corresponding
figures were 53.66 for males and 55.85 for females in 1946 as
compared with 57.41 for males and 59.84 for females in 1952.
By this time, however, the pattern had changed somewhat, and
whereas in 1946, males and females at 1 to 2 years of age
showed the highest expectation of life, 53.66 and 55.89 years
respectively, in 1952 males and females at 2 to 3 years repre-
sented that group which was expected to live the longest-their
expectation of life being 57.75 and 60.17 years respectively.
A more detailed analysis of Life Tables will be given in a sub-
No. XXVIII. Development Programme.
In an Interim Report on the Development Programme as
at September 30, 1954, the Development Secretary stated that
the various schemes in progress have provided additional direct
employment for more than 1,650 persons as well as indirect
employment for a further 1,000. Despite initial difficulties,
including adverse weather conditions, considerable progress in
carrying out preparatory work on various schemes connected
with the British Guiana Development Programme has been
achieved and efforts are being made to recruit additional staff
and to train local technicians. Before the execution of many
schemes, particularly those relating to Drainage and Irrigation,
tnuch work on preparing plans, making investigations, and
obtaining delivery of necessary machinery and equipment had
to be done.
Valuable assistance had been given by the Foreign Opera-
tions Administration who provided two specialistF to assist in
training 32 survey probationers and 3 other specialists who
assisted in training officers in the Housing Department and in
organising Self-Help and other housing schemes.
A Survey at September 30, shows that substantial progress
has been made on many schemes as shown hereunder:
Corentyne Drainage and Irrigation:
Torani Canal : 120 persons employed. The excavation
of the canal has been completed except for about 800 feet at
tile Canje end of the Canal. This work will be done after
the construction of the Tail Regulator.
Block III : The project has been completed except for a
sea sluice which drains tjhe backlands at No. 53.
Boerasirie Project: (Estimate 1954-$1,000,000.
Expenditure to 30th September $597,150).
384 persons employed. From January to SepteThber,
1954, 11.5 miles (out of 35.5 miles) of the Main Conservancy
Dam were constructed before the work was handed over to
In August, 1954, construction work on the project was
handed over on contract to Sir Lindsay Parkinson and Co. Ltd.
Land Settlement Programme :
Agriculture Machinery valued at, approximately $92,000
was purchased. At Vergenoegen three miles of trenches have
been widened and deepened by dragline. Area under rice
cultivation increased by over 100 acres.
At Cane Grove the area under rice cultivation increased
by over 300 acres.
Cocoa Development : (Estimate 1954-$42,026.
Expenditure at 30th September-$21,092).
29 persons employed. Nurseries have been established at
Botanic Gardens, Atkinson Field, Hosororo, N.W.D., Bartica
and Pln. Providence, Berbice.
St. Ignatius Station :
A cood start has been made on the Station. Cattle have
been purchased (Santa Gertrudis from the U.S.A.), and
Livestock Station Ebini :
18 persons employed. Six miles of new. fencing have
completed, in addition to the alteration of about a mile of
existing fencing The 30 square miles of savannah on the Sta-
tion is now .divided intp 6 paddocks. In all, 9 paddocks.will
A two-acre nursery was enclosed for cultivation and
planting of introduced grasses and legumes.
A new trail has been cut from the northern tip of the
Savannah to the Wikki Creek. This will be an all-weather en-
trance to the station for tractor and Land Rover.
Cattle: 100 heifers or young cow, are being purchased
from ranchers in the Rupununi. Two types of Zebu, the
Texan type, and the Sahiwal, are being run as single sire units
with about 30 selected cows each. The Santa Gertrudis cattle
arrived on September 14.
Citrus Orchard: The orchard has been pruned and fer-
tilized, and new trees have been planted.
Saaff Training : Continued and some progress was made with
two pilot projects in silviculture.
GEOLOGICAL AND OTHER SURVEYS.
Expansion of Geological Surveys: Estimate 1954-$129,096.
Expenditure tp 30th Sep-
No. of persons employed
Three expeditions were organised. One party is in the
North West District on the Venezuelan boundary examining
the iron deposits discovered on previous expeditions. A second
expedition is surveying an area on the left bank of the Cuyuni
River above Anabisi tributary, to test, the mineral prospects of
this region especially for gold, diamonds, columbite and mnana-
ganese ore A third expedition is operating in the Rupununi
Disfrict on general geological survey work.
Hydrographic and Hydrological Surveys :
Guaging stations at Kamaria, Tumatumari and Great Falls
are operated and maintained by the Demerara Bauxitp Com-
pany. River Stage Gauges and Rainfall Recording Station
are also maintained in the Canje River. The recording in-
struments ordered for the Mahaica, Mahaicony and Abary
Rivers have been received and will be installed shortly.
TRANSPORT AND COMMUNICATIONS.
P-Ats and Shipping and Railways :
New Stanleytown Stelling: No. of persons employed --55.
pile driving is in progress.
East Bank Demerara Road : (Estimate 1954--$650,000.
Expenditure to 30th September-$209,876).
234 persons employed. About 8 /2 miles of road remain to
be surfaced out of a total of 21 miles from Ruirveldt to Atkin-
son Field. The surfacing should be completed by the end of
1955, providing the weather holds good. The proposed devia-
tion cannot; however be surfaced for about two years after
.B'ast Canje Road: (Estimate 1954--$313.222.
Expenditure to 30th September-$221,113)
No. of persons employed 175. Sand/bitumen work
completed except for bridge approaches. Work on structures
is continuing and three bridges were completed.
Country Districts : At Mackenzie a new 300-line auto-
matic exchange was opened on 8th August. Plans have been
drawn up for twenty buildings or small exchanges in the
Georgetown : Detailed plans of the underground distri-
bution system are nearing completion. The engineering work
on a limited temporary relief scheme for Georgetown which
will provide service for an additional fifty subscribers initially,
is complete. The site for the Georgetown Exchange has been
approved. Detailed plans will be drawn up by the Engineer-
in-Chief in consultation with the Consulting Engineers and the
British Post Office Buildings experts in the U.K.
Credit Corporation :
At the end of September, after about three months' opera-
tion, loans sanctioned by the B.G. Credit Corporation amounted
to $883,000 and loans paid out, $530,000. In particular the
Corporation has been considering and approving rice reaping
loans which are urgently required at this time of year.
Rural Self-Help Schemes:
At 30th September 26 applications had been approved for
Self-Help Schemes totalling $11,324
Rural and Urban Housing:
100 Costello houses at La Penitence were about completed.
Contract for construction of 70 houses at La Penitence (20 for
rent, 50 for sale) have been made.
Surveys of land for lower income Government houses at
New Amsterdam, Triumph, Good success in Wakenaam are in
Primary Schools: (Estimnate 1954 -$249,616
Expenditure to 30th September-$127,058.)
121 persons employed. Two replacement schools and
repairs and extensions to twelve schools have been completed
providing additional accommodation for 1,458 children.
Work is in progress on new schools which will provide an addi-
tional 1,211 places.
Water Supply Artesian Wells :
Number of persons employed 97. Four wells were com-
9.8 miles of pipelines were laid and 86 diawoff points in-
stalled throughout the Colony.
No. XXIX. The British Guiana Constitutional
Commission Report, 1954.
Address thereon delivered by His Excellency the Governor,
Sir Alfred Savage, K.C.M.G., to the Legislatfiv Council
of British Guiana on Noucmber 2.
Members of the Legislative Council, and
People -of British Guiana.
The Report of the British Guiana Constitlution Com-
mission, 1954-or the Robertson Commission as it has come to
be known -is being released tpday both in London and in
Georgetown, and at about this time in London the Right Hon-
ourable the SecretPry of State for the Colonies is making a
statement to the House of Commons on the Report. It is
appropriate, therefore, that I should address the Legislative
Council simultaneously and that I should take this opportunity,
with the concurrence -of His Honour the Speaker, to have t these
proceedings broadcast to the people of British Guiana and
Let me first read the main conclusions of the Commis-
"We are satisfied that tjie setback to orderly constitu-
tional progress in British Guiana was due not to defects in the
Constitution but to the fact that those in control of
the People's Progressive Party proved themselves to be relent-
less and unscrupulous in their determination to pervert the
authority of Government to their own disruptive and undemo-
"We are, therefore, driven to the conclusion that so long
as the P.P.P. retains its present leadership and policies there
is no way in which any real measure of responsible government
can be restored without the certainty that the country will
again be subjected to constitutional crisis.
"We have no doubt that British Guiana, with its precari-
ous economy, cannot, afford another crisis of the kind that
developed in 1953 and we can therefore, see no alternative but
to recommend a period of marking time in the advance towards
"We cannot estimate the length of the period which should
elapse before the advance towards self government, is resumed.
Everything will depend upon the extent to which the people
of British Guiana, including the leaders of the P.P.P. them-
selves, can be brought to the realisation that the futile and
deliberately disruptive policies for which the P.P.P. at present
stands are no basis for the future constitutional progress of
Next I shall read the Statement of the Secretary of State
made in the House of Commons.
"The Report of the British Guiana Constitutional Com-
mission has been published today as a Command Paper. My
Right Honourable Friend, the Minister of State has discussed
it with the Governor during his recent visit to British Guiana
and H.M. Government accept the conclusions of the
Report. Honourable Members will wish to study it and
I will not therefore go into detail now. Briefly their conclu-
sions amply justify the action taken by H. M. Government
last October. They state that the breakdown was not due to
defects in the Constitution but to the activities of those in
control of the People's Progressive Party. They recommend
that there is at present no alternative to a period of marking
time in constitutional matters. They do not recommend a
specific period nor do H.M. Government wish to be tied to one.
H.M. Government however consider it desirable to set some
maximum term to the personal 'appointment of the present
members of Legislative Council without prejudice to when it
may be possible to hold elections again. The present appoint-
ments will therefore run for four years from January 1st, 1954.
"During the period of this interim Government it is our
firm intention to do everything possible to fit the Colony for a
return to representative government. In particular ,there, will
be a thorough reform and extension of local government insti-
"Members will no doubt wish to question me when they
have studied the Report. I would like to express the warm
thanks of H.M. Government to Sir James Robertson formerly
Civil Secretary of the Sudan who was Chairman of the Com-
mission and to the other two members, Sir Donald Jackson,
Chief Justice of the Windward Islands and the Leeward
Islands and Mr. Woodcock, Assistant General Secretary of the
That is the end of the Statement of the Secretary of State.
As I have'said, the Commnission's Report is being re-
leased today in Georgetown, butt arrangements have been made
for copies to be distributed as quickly as possible to all parts of
the Country. It is my intention that the Report should have,
a very wide circulation so. that as many people as possible will'
have the opportunity to read and study. for themselves the,
findings of this independent Commission in respect, of the
event of the period between the Report of the Waddington
Commission in 1951 and the decision to suspend the Constitu-
tion in October 1953.
As I have said you will read and study these findings
for yourselves but I shall briefly refer to them here. After
most careful and painstaking examination of all the relevant
material the Commission have found that it had become neces-
sary in October 1953 to resolve the impossible position which
had developed in the Executive Council, to put an end to the
general anxiety and uncertainty in the Colony and to remove
the distinct danger of real trouble. They have found that at
that time the fear of violence was real enough, that the Execu-
tive Council had come nowhere near to fulfilling its Constitu-
tional role and that there was no option but to suspend the
Constitution if there.was no other certain way of resolving the
The Commiission have- found that there was nothing
substantially or inherently- wrong with the Constitution which
has had to b6 suspended and that the set-back to orderly con-
stitutional progress which resulted was due not to defects in
that constitution but to the fact 'that those in con-
t1ol of the P:P.P. proved themselves to be relentless and un-
scrupulous in their determination to pervert the authority of
Government to their own disruptive and undemocratic ends.
They concluded that four of the seven principal officers of
the P.P.P. and about half of the members of the Party Execu-
tive Committee were Communists and that these people had
been restrained by expediency rather than principle from
forming and leading an openly Communist party. The
"They had decided on balance that they could more
speedily achieve their most important and immediate
objectives -that of ridding British Guiana of British
rule and influence -by remaining associated with -others
who had a similar objective in a party with a wide
popular appeal.. They did not believe that self-gov-
ernment for British Guiana could be earned in suc-
cessive steps by revealed capacity for responsible Gov-
ernment. On the contrary they believed that a de-
pendent territory can normally expect to win self-
government only by violent action little short of revo-
lution. We are convinced that from the moment the
P.P.P. secured its majority it was at. most only a
question of time before these people made a concerted
effort to get the Party embarked on a course of action
which was deliberately intended to Icad to a serious
constitutional crisis as a means of forcing the British
Government to capitulate to the demands of the
These findings have led the Commission to the conclusion that
so long as the present, leadership and policies of the P.P.P.
continue there is no way in which any real measure of self-
government can be restored without the certainty that the
country will again be subjected to constitutional crisis.
SIn passing imay 'i pint out that only last Saturday
Party statements made clearly emphasize that the atti-
tude of-leaders of the Party towards the Constitution has in no
way altered and that they continue to be determined if allowed
to invite rather than to avoid a constitutional crisis if they
conceive such a crisis to be necessary to enable them to obtain
their objective of immediate self-gove riment.
The Commission have no doubt that British Guiana
with its precarious economy cannot afford another crisis of the
kind that developed in 1953 and have- herefore-in all the cir-
6umstances of the present situation recommended a period of
fiarking time in the advance towards self-government. The
Report makes certain suggestions regarding modifications in
the suspended Constitution to be considered at some future
date and comments on a number of subsidiary constitutional
matters affecting ministerial conduct, the judiciary and the
public service The Report proposes that adult suffrage should
be maintained and also makes certain recommendation about
the electoral system including a proposal to set up an Electoral
The Commission have found it, impossible to estimate
at this stage the length of the period which should elapse be.
fore the advance towards self-government, is resumed. Every-
thing in their view will depend upon the extent to which the
people of British Guiana, I repeat, the people of' British Guiana
including the leaders of the P.P.P. themselves can be brought
to realize that the futile and deliberately disruptive policies
for which the P.P.P. at present stands are no basis for the
future constitutional progress of the Colony. Her Majesty's
Government have nevertheless considered it desirable that a
maximum term should be set tp the personal appointment of
the present members of the Legislative Council though as was
stated by the Secretary of State the fixing of this period will
be without prejudice to the time when it may be possible to
hold elections again.
At this stage let me emphasize, and it cannot be over
emphasized, what has been stated by the Commission-that the
extremist leaders of the P.P.P. and the policies for which they
stand are the sole barriers to constitutional progress. This
clearly is a challenge. tp the people of British Guiana. It is
the duty now of public opinion enlightened by recent experi-
ence and stimulated by the resolve to remove the barriers that
stand in the way of constitutional, progress to renounce such
policies and all those who advocate them. It is a time for
moral courage and firm determination as nothing less than the
future of democratic principles and institutions in British
Guiana is at stake.
In the meantime everything possible will be done to
prepare the Colony for a return to elections and representative
government. The creation of a healthy political environment
is perhaps the most important safeguard of free and democra-
tic institutions and much may be done towards this end
through the reform -and extension of the Local Government
system of the Colony. The Report states:
"..We do not think that local government bodies play
an important part in the affairs of British Guiana
and indeed we are not convinced that in local affairs
the village and country districts councils were popular
or influential amongst the people.."
It goes on to say:
"..The whole scope of local government, therefore
appears to be very limited.."
Accordingly it is proposed to appoint a Cbmmissioner of high
standing and experience to report to the Government on the
reform and extension of the local government system. With
a new and reformed local government it will no doubt be possible
to provide a very large measure of political training through
Local Councils for the more important field of central govern-
ment. For that reason, I have decided that elections to the
New Amsterdam Town Council should continue to be postponed
as they were in 1953 and that elections to the Georgetown
Town Council-which were not due to be held in 1953-should
now be similarly postponed. A Bill seeking to give effect to
this decision will be introduced shortly in the Legislative
Council. I do not propose, however, that there should be any
interference with the periodic Mayoral elections and these will
be held from time to time in the usual manner.
The Robertson Commission did not deal with events
subsequent to the decision to suspend the Constitution but those
of us living in this country have not forgotten the acts of vio-
lence, of sabotage and of sacrilege committed earlier this year,
such evil deeds, you will realise, confirm and emphasize the
findings of the Commission. Such conduct has been destructive
both in spirit and in character; yet there has been much con-
structive progress during the ten months of the Interim Gov-
ernment's existence. It took over the reins of Government
at a most difficult and trying period in the affairs of this coun-
try; it was a time of strain and evident tension within the
Colony itself, while abroad its credit, and good name had already
become suspect. In addition to all this a pernicious and sus-
tained campaign of slander and propaganda endeavoured to
discredit and frustrate the best efforts of the new Government.
In spite of this propaganda and violence tension had diminished
to some extent and confidence in the stability of Government is
being gradually restored.
There are signs that people are prepared to give this
Government an opportunity to carry out its programme of
economic and social development; and it, is a matter of satis-
faction that persons have returned to the Savings Bank the
deposits withdrawn last year. Already, much of the extremist
propaganda has been shown to be untruthful and its repeated
.calls for non co-operation remain unanswered. I firmly believe
that tjhe people of this country are realising more and more as
the days go by, the tragic mistakes of 1953 and the opportuni-
ties for progress which were thrown away by reckless poli-
ticians entrusted in all good faith with the powers of govern-
ment. Human relations,;. the very foundation of any society,
have improved but there is so much to be done and often un-
done both by individuals and racial groups. The new Regional
Development Committees introduced in every part of the
country have stimulated an interest in economic development
hitherto unknown, and the response of the people to self-help
and co-operative schemes in many parts of the country has
been most gratifying. These things indicate to me, and I am
sure to you who are listening, that the thinking of solne people
has undergone some change in the last ten months and the
credit for this is largely due to the efforts of the present
Government and to the loyalty and industry of the Public
A few days ago the Development Secretary published a
progress report on the Development Plan to the 30th Septem-
ber. It has given some satisfaction although progress has not
been as rapid as had been hoped, but you will recall that final
approval was notj obtained until May. Preparatory work,
including investigations and reports by many visiting expei'ts,
the establishment of the Credit Corporation, the setting up
and organising of the new Departments of Housing, Land
Settlement and Drainage and Irrigation all required much time
and study but practical results are becoming increasingly
evident all over the country and people are seeing and realising
for themselves the benefits tp be derived now and in the future.
We can look forward to an acceleration in the progress toward
full implementation of our Development Plan. Here, I must
again remind you that (in the words of the World Bank
Mission), -"the ability of tihe economy to sustain a continued
growth and expansion will, however, depend on the extent to
which private investment is maintained". It is fair to say
that overseas confidence, in British Guiana is being restored and
that this year overseas industrialists have been showing a
strong interest in this country particularly in the field of
development of mineral resources. We can, for example
count on an expansion of investment in bauxite mining and
substantial new investment ih the initiation of undertakings
to mine for manganese, columbite and tantalite. In the field of
agriculture, private interests, working in collaboration with
the Government, have successfully completed the first stage of
the experimental cultivation and production of jute in this
country. I should also mention the interesting experimental
scheme which is about to begin on one. of the sugar estates in
the cultivation .of sugar cane by individual cans farmers on a
basis of partnership with the proprietors.
An urgent need, of. course,, is the provision of more
-cultivable land for small farmers and (as the Commissioin say
in Paragraph 21 of their report) for the establishment of a
class of peasant. proprietors with the feeling of having a real
stake in the country. The major land reclamation and water
control schemes in progress in Berbice and West Demerara
are the most important means by which the need for more
cultivable land will be met. Quicker results should, however,
be obtained by improving and bringing into use the many
scattered areas of land in the rear of existing estates and on
the river banks which are not being beneficially occupied and
it will be the function of the new Land Settlement Department
to pursue this objective as rapidly as possible.. I also hope
that the Land Tenure Committee which has been set, up will be
able to find a solution of the difficult, problem of safeguarding
the rights of the large number of persons in beneficial occu-
pation of agricultural land but, who for various reasons are
without proper legal titles.
But all is not lovely in this garden of British Guiana.
I am certainly not complacent. I am well aware that the
extremist elements are endeavouring in devious ways to main-
tain their position and to undermine confidence in Government
and to promote disruption and discord among the people of
this country. I realise also that they have the physical sup-
port of a section of the party who are like minded. I want it
to be clearly understood that any conduct which is subversive
to the maintenance of good government will continue to be
dealt with promptly and firmly.
As I have said before, there is an immense job of work to
be done by everybody. The situation demands clear thinking,
sincerity of purpose and constant effort. It needs primarily
close personal contact with people. Government officers.
politicians, employers, trade union leaders and last but by no
means least Christian, Hindu and Mohammedan priests and
clergy must go out to the people and not wait for the people
to come to them. Although the political extremists will in
time be rejected by the people of the country, there is a real
danger that their places may be taken by other extremists
dominated by racial prejudices. May I say in all frankness
and friendliness to the two numerically strongest races in this
country, namely the people of African and East Indian descent,
that if you allow yourselves to be guided by racial extremists
it will bring nothing but sorrow to yourselves, to your children
and to your country. As I have moved about Guiana I have
met many mixed groups living in complete harmony and there
are both African and East Indian leaders who work together
for the common good. The country needs many more leaders
of this kind. We must build on friendship and tolerance and
not on hatred and malice. I must add I believe that minority
groups could do more tp help by avoiding racial discrimina-
tion in its many aspects.
Another matter which has caused me grave concern
is the position of the trade union movement in this country.
On this question it would be appropriate for me to quote
briefly from the Commission's Report:
"The trade union movement has been too much used by
would be politicians as a means for obtaining power,
and not as a way of improving the conditions of labour;
too many presidents and officials of trade unions even
today are mere politicians: many of them are not and
never have been "workers".
"We believe that if trade unionism in British Guiana
is to climb out of the rut in which it now finds itself
two things are needed; firstly, for trade unionists to
develop a healthy mistrust of the motives behind the
>" patronage -of personally ambitious politicians, and
secondly, for union executives to pursue their indus-
trial objectives by industrial and not by political
You will recall the first speech I made on my arrival in
this country. It was a plea for labour and capital to come
closer together. They need each other. During last year
industrial relations reached a very low ebb and although they
have since shown some improvement there is yet so much to be
done. Unless steps are taken, and taken by the members of
the Unions themselves, to place the trade union movement on a
sound basis it may be impossible to achieve that better under-
standing which is so vital to the true interests of this country.
At the same time I would urge on all employers the urgent
necessity to redouble their efforts in promoting the closest
relations possible with representatives of employees.
You will already have gathered from the statement
of the Secretary of State that t~he members of the Executive
and Legislative Councils will continue in office, and these
Councils will continue to be responsible for the peace, order
and good government of the Colony. You will recall also that
the personal appointments of these members are to run for a
maximum period of four years from the 1st January, 1954--
that is, terminating not later than the 31st December, 1957.
17. You all know that, I am most anxious for this country
to return to normal conditions as soon as possible. It will be
the task of this Government to create the conditions in which
the interrupted constitutional progress tpwards self-govern-
ment can be resumed. The emphasis for the time being must
be on sound administration and the implementation of the pro-
gramme of social and economic development, which has already
been commenced. I hope that it will be possible for me, in
consultation with my advisers, to relax gradually the restric-
tions which circumstances have compelled me to impose under
the Emergency Order. Processions and public meetings may
then be allowed subject to such controls as are necessary in
the interests of law and order. If there is any relapse, however
into conditions of disorder and violence the restrictions will
have to be reimposed.
18. While, like the Commission, I have nr illusions as to
the difficulties which lie ahead, yet I am optimistic for the
future. I have a strong and abiding faith in the people of this
country, in their commonsense and their spirit of goodwill. I feel
that the times through which we have passed and are passing
serve but to strengthen our resolve that British Guiana shall
advance as many other countries have done along the path of
ordered progress to an honoured place in the Commonwealth.
I am sure that this faith and this optimism are shared by the
people of British Guiana. With that faith let, us work harder
than ever before. With that optimism let us move forward in
practical co-operation to the future. Then, under God's gui-
dance we shall succeed.
Summary of the British Guiana
Constitutional Report, 1954.
November 2, 1954
"We can find no escape from the logical conclusion that so
long as the present leadership and policies of the People's
Progressive Party continue there is no way in which any real
measure of self government can be restored in British Guiana
without the certainty that the country will again be sub-
jected to constitutional crisis." (212)
"We have therefore come reluctantly but quite firmly to
the conclusion that) in present circumstances in British Guiana
we must recommend a period of marking time in the advance
towards self government .... We would also hope that, the
contrast presented by the rapid progress elsewhere towards
self government would lead the. people of British Guiana to
realise that notwithstanding the exceptional. difficulties of
their country, the extremist leaders of the P.P.P. and the
-policies for which they stand are the sole barriers to constitu-
We cannot estimate how long it will be before this progress
can be resumed" (214, 215),
This is the opinion .of the British Guiana Constitutional
Commission, 1954 (Chairman, Sir James Robertson) the
Report of which was released Tuesday, (November 2) in
London and British Guiana. In the Report (which is.unani-
mous) are set out the main economic, social and political
conditions which obtain in British Guiana and the main features
of the 1953 (Waddington) Constitution; the Commission
examines the Elections of April 27, 1953, and analyses the
events which took place between the Elections and the Sus-
pension of the Constitution. This analysis is made under the
following subheads-"The ,P.P.P. and the Constitution the
Attitudes of Others-the Working of the Constitution-Main
Issues which Arose-Development of Crisis".
There are six Appendices providing Extracts from writings
and speeches of P.P.P. Leaders-List of Communist Literature
distributed by P.P.P.-Note on the Arson Plot-List of
Witnesses-Itinerary-and Brief Notes on P.P.P. Ministers.
Summarised briefly the main conclusions of the Commis-
"We are satisfied that the setback to orderly constitutional
progress in British Guiana was due not, to defects in the
Constitution but to -the- fact that those in control of
the People's Progressive Party proved themselves to be relent-
less and unscrupulous in their determination to pervert the
authority of Government to their own disruptive and undema-
cratic ends. (230)
We are therefore driven to the conclusion that so long as
the P.P.P. retains its present leadership and policies there is no
way in which: any real measure of responsible government can
be restored without the certainty that the country will again be
subjected to constitutional crisis., (231)
We have no doubt that British Guiana, with its precari-
ous economy, cannot afford another crisis of the kind that
developed in 1953 and we can therefore see no. alternative, but
to recommend a period of marking time in the advance towards
self government. (232)
We cannot estimate the length of the period which should
elapse before theadvance towards self government is resumed.
Everything will depend upon the extent to which the people of
British Guiana, including the leaders of the P.P.P. themselves,
can be brought to the realisation that the futile and deliberately
disruptive policies for which the P.P.P. at present stands are no
basis for the future constitutional progress of their country."
RECOMMENDED CHANGES IN THE 1953 CONSTITUTION.
The Commission analysed the Constitution and has made
"suggestions which might be considered at the relevant time
when it is thought possible to restore a measure of responsibility
to elected representatives". (224)
These are as follows:
Executive. Council : "We believe that for an initial period a
balance of elected and official and nominated elements with
the Governor as President holding a casting vote only might
be the most, suitable arrangement". (218)
Governor as President, Chief Secretary, Financial Secretary,
Attorney General and Development Secretary, 4 Ministers
elected by the House of Assembly, 2 Ministers from the
unofficial members of the Stpte Council-one (without Port-
folio) selected by the ballot of the nominated members and
one chosen by the Ministers .(elected from the House of
Assembly) from the 2 Members of the State Council
appointed by the Governor on their recommendation. (223)
State Council: "tjhe State Council would be better able to fulfil
its functions (of revising and delaying legislation) if it
was more closely linked with both the policy making and the
elected body.... and should consist of 2 official members -
the Chief Secretary and the Development Secretary and 7
other members of whom 5 should be nominated by the
Governor at his discretion and 2 appointed by him upon the
recommendation of the Ministers elected by the House of
House of Assembly: Attorney General, Financial Secretary
(not Chief Secretary) and 25 elected members (the new
Constituency being the Rupununi District). (222)
In the course of enquiries necessary to carry out its terms
of reference, viz:-
"in the light of the circumstances which made it necessary
to suspend the Constitution (of April, 1S53) of British
Guiana to consider and to recommend what, changes are
required in it"
the Commission has probed into every facet of community life
in this territory and has come to certain conclusions. "In
1954", the Report states "the question is how to reconcile the
popular demand for social and economic improvement with the
hard economic facts of the situation", and the Commission had
forthright comment~ to make on the following:-
British Guiana's economic resources, "racial tensions"
between persons of African and Indian descent; the "lack of
self reliance found in Guianese" the need for leadership, the
"uncertainty of the future employment position", the prob-
lems occasioned by the rising population, the welfare measures
of the sugar estates, the "ineffectiveness" of the system of
local government, the growing complexity of the functions
progressively assumed by Government and the "ill-adapta-
tion" of the administration for many years past, to the needs
of the territory, the tendency of centralisation, the "rut in
which trade unionism in British Guiana now finds itself", the
general lack of knowledge and appreciation of the underlying
issues, and the need for a campaign to bring the broad mass of
people to a true understanding of the position of the country.
Many other cognate matters come under the Commission's
review and some of the more significant comments taken
verbatim from the Report are set out below.
THE ECONOMIC PICTURE.
"The general economic picture therefore is one of an un-
remitting and costly struggle against geographical and physi-
cal difficulties; of man pitting his energy and strength against
unfriendly natural surroundings; of much success and some
BRITISH GUIANA COMPARATIVELY POOR COUNTRY.
"It, is, however, clear from its physical make-up that
British Guiana can hardly be much more economically than a,
comparatively poor country (unless, of course, further mineral
resources of really important proportions are discovered) and
that only by heavy expenditure of capital and by continued
hard work by the community as a whole will conditions
generally be improved". (21)
TENDENCY FOR RACIAL TENSION TO INCREASE.
"It cannot be denied that since India received independence in
1947 there has been a marked self-assertiveness among Indians
in British Guiana. Guianese of African extraction were not
afraid to tell us that many Indians in British Guiana looked
forward to the day when British Guiana would be part not of
the British Commonwealth but of an East Indian Empire. The
result has been a tendency for racial tension to increase, and we
have reluctantly reached the conclusion that the amity "with
which" as the Waddington Report said, "people of all races
live side by side in the villages" existed more in the past;
today the relationships are strained; they present an outward
appearance which masks feelings of suspicion and distrust,
We do not altogether share the confidence of the Waddington
Commission that a comprehensive loyalty to British Guiana
can be stimulated among peoples of such diverse origins; there
is little evidence of any coalescing process of inter-marriage
between the Indian and the African components of the popula-
MARKED LACK OF SELF RELIANCE.
"There seems today to be a common-almost arrogant pre-
sumption that from some fathomless source all things desirable
should as of right be provided. People are more ready to
demand from Government the living conditions which they
think they should have than to set about achieving them for
themselves. There is of course some justification for this
attitude, because large schemes of improvement ard economic
development are by the very nature of the country bound to
depend upon the introduction of capital resources, which are
far beyond t~he capacity of the people. But we did get the
impression that there is a marked lack of self-reliance and of
realisation of the part that all must, play in the development
of their country" (25)
NEED FOR LEADERS.
"The other elements in the community, of Portuguese,
Chinese and United Kingdom origin, are much smaller in
numbers though their influence is great....they realise the
folly of trying to resist the trend of the times but are not
unnaturally fearful of the more extreme policies of the People's
Progressive Party. We are convinced that in a country where
leaders are needed, they could play a more valuable part than
they do." (26)
EMPLOYMENT PROSPECTS NOT ENCOURAGING.
"Prospects for any marked improvement in the employ-
ment position or in the level of real wages are therefore not en-
couraging; indeed we believe that the difficulties which lie ahead
are even more serious than those which have yet had to be
INCREASING POPULATION MAKING TASK MORE
"The very success of the public health measures adopted on
the estates in the last few years-especially by the spectacular
eradication of malaria through the efforts of Dr.. Giglioli, Medi-
cal Adviser to the Sugar Producers' Association is annually
increasing the population and making the task more insoluble as
the years pass."
SUGAR COMPANIES NOT EXPLOITING LABOUR.
"We did not get the impression that the Sugar Producers,
who are the largest employers of labour, are making. large
profits.. We therefore see no justification for the view, so often
expressed in some quarters, .that the. sugar companies are ex-
ploiting their labour and taking vast sums out of the country".
LOCAL GOVERNMENT BODIES INEFFECTIVE.
"In contradiction of the impression made upon the Wad-
dington Commission by the system of local government, we do not
think that local government bodies play an important part in
the affairs of British Guiana. Nor indeed were we convinced
that in local affairs the village and the country district councils
are popular or influential among the people. Their ineffective-
ness seems to be mainly due tp the fact that.local government
has little financial power and that its statutory functions are
severely limited.... In the great majority of .cases the councils
lack drive and influence; and even had they these qualities it is
doubtful if they could play a great, part in affairs. Their only
powers amount to their having some (but not all) responsi-
bility for local drainage and irrigation, and for maintaining
local roads for which they are authorised to raise local rates.
It is true that, there is voluntary association,of Local Authorities
into "Unions" but these depend very much on individual en-
thusiasms and personality, and of course lack any formal basis.
The whole scope of Local Government therefore appears to be
ADMINISTRATION SLOW AND ILL-ADAPTED TO
COUNTRY NEEDS. ::
"The administration in British Guiana has for many years
been slow and ill-adapted to the needs of the territory. It is.
iot easy to determine all the causes of this but the most import-
ant is perhaps the growing complexity of the functions which
have fallen to government within recent times. Governments
have assumed more and more responsibility for the provision of
medical and welfare services, for housing and education and
generally for the economic and social development, of the terri-
tories. In British Guiana, as elsewhere, this has thrown new
and heavy burdens on the administration and it is perhaps not
surprising that without the spur of experienced Ministers re-
sponsible to the electorate the machine has laboured under the
strain. There are of course contributory factors ,one of which
is that British Guiana, a relatively poor territory, has for many
years been unable to offer attractive remuneration to specialist
officers recruited from abroad. This has led to good men who
have come to the territory leaving as soon as better .paid open-
ings offer elsewhere; if the work involved in the Development
Programme, which is for the most part specialised, is to be car-
ried through successfully adequate remuneration must, be pro-
vided for men possessing the necessary skill."
AUTHORITY CONCENTRATED IN GEORGETOWN.
."A feature of the administration which we particularly
noticed is its centralisation. All authority tends to be concen-
trated in Georgetown, and little responsibility is delegated to
Local Government bodies, or to the departmental representatives
in the country districts. As a result, a great, deal has to be
referred to the centre, and with the serious difficulties in com-
munication, this leads to delays and misunderstanding. The
district Commissioners, to whom we talked, appeared to have
little real authority, and to be functionaries of very different
types from District, Commissioners in other colonial territories.
It is therefore reassuring to note that some responsibility for
development planning in the country districts is being delegated
to local development committees appointed by the District
Commissioners, and if this policy is extended to cover other
governmental responsibilities, it may be possible to interest
other people in local government and thereby reduce complaints
at the delays and red tape of bureaucracy. Politically this
change should also have beneficial results in lifting much of
the burden of government from the civil service to representa-
fives of the people, and.training the people in their local councils
for the more important field of central government."
TRADE UNION MOVEMENT USED BY POLITICIANS.
"The trade union movement has been too much used by
would be politicians as a means of obtaining power, anid not as
a way of improving the conditions of labour; too many presi-
dents and officials of trade unions even today are mere politi-
cians; many of them are not and never have been "workers".
Among the rank and file of the unions there does not seem to be.
that sense of 'belonging' and of owing constant loyalty and
support to the organizations which they have formed to pro-
tect their interests which is fundamental to tiade unionism
and characterises the movement in the United Kingdom."
"It is therefore easy for unscrupulous individuals to form
a rival union to seek to undermine an established one which is
recognized by employers and is doing good work."
SUGGESTION FOR TRADE UNION ADVISER.
"We believe that if trade unionism in British Guiana is to
climb out of the rut in which it now finds itself two things are
needed; firstly, for trade unionists to develop a healthy mis-
trust of the motives behind the patronage of personally ambi-
tious politicians, and secondly, for union executives to pursue
their industrial objectives by industrial and not
by political mears.
Frankly we see little immediate prospect of such a revolu-
tion, but something might be accomplished if the trade union
movement in the United Kingdom could take upon itself to send
out someone knowledgeable of trade union practice to be guide
and adviser. Only a man who had himself graduated through
the trade union mill could hope to gain the confidence and re-
spect of Quianese trade unionists. He could stand closer to
the unions than it is possible for the Department of Labour, to
do, having regard to its statutory duties and its role in arbitra-
tion between trade unions and employers
POPULAR LACK OF APPRECIATION OF ISSUES.
"That British Guiana is "politically precocious" was stated
by the British Guiana Commission of 1927, and the Waddington
Commission commented "if this is taken to mean that there is a
wide interest in political discussion we would agree". At the
present, time this is undoubtedly even truer than it was in 1951
when the Waddington Report was written, but while we were
impressed by the obvious interest displayed by unlikely wit-
nesses in political and constitutional matters we were discour-
aged by the lack of knowledge and appreciation of the underly-
ing issues. The rise of the People's Progressive Party to
power, its career as a Government, and the suspension of the
Constitution have greatly increased 'the awareness of the com-
mon man of his political environment. We are however inclined
to think that such widespread political consciousness is a recent
growth and that the "orecocity" noticed in 1027 was largely
confined to the better off people who alone at that time were en-