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With open threats of violence being made on Ministers and civil servants who refused to join the strike, the Governor, Sir Ralph Grey, issued a proclamation on the 14 February banning public meetings and demonstrations in the area around the Public Buildings which also housed the House of Assembly. However, demonstrations and meetings were not banned in other parts of the city.
On the afternoon of the same day, the Minister of Home Affairs, Balram Singh Rai, asked the Governor to move British troops into Georgetown from Atkinson Field, 25 miles away, where they were stationed. But the Governor refused this request. On the following day, Dr. Jagan met with the Governor to inform him of a report that certain police and prison officials were planning to join the strike. He also repeated the requests that the troops should be brought into Georgetown and handed over a letter from the Commissioner of Police supporting his requests and those of Minister of Home Affairs.
Despite the evidence presented to the Governor to show that opposition elements were planning wholesale violence, he responded that "the armed forces of the United Kingdom would not be used to maintain PPP Ministers in power regardless of what they might say or do, and that British troops would only be used to restore and maintain law and order if all Guianese resources proved or were likely to prove inadequate".
Meanwhile, the Government was also trying to reach a compromise with the TUC and the PNC. Interestingly, on the 14 February because the PNC claimed that it opposed only the indirect taxes, the Government decided to withdraw tax increases on all imported commodities except motor-cars, spirits, tobacco, coffee extracts and concentrates. And after discussions with the TUC, the Government also declared that the compulsory savings scheme would be adjusted to apply to earnings above $3,600 per annum instead of $1,200 as was originally proposed. The PPP had hoped that these concessions would have moved the PNC and the TUC away from the UF, but this failed to occur.
But the PNC, UF and TUC were aiming for the complete removal of the Government and were not merely interested in gaining concessions on the budget. On the morning of the 15 February, Burnham and D'Aguiar linked arms and led their followers, who had become a rowdy mob, into the proclaimed area. They then proceeded to the PNC headquarters where they congratulated themselves after having defied the Government and the authorities of law and order. Later that evening, the UF leader demanded that since the Government had made concessions, it had lost confidence in itself and, therefore, must resign.
Opposition activity began very early on the morning of Friday 16 February in Water Street. Leaders and supporters of the UF encouraged people gathered there to go to the Parade Ground where D'Aguiar would address them. While that meeting was going on a small crowd gathered outside the electricity plant in Kingston and they threw stones and bottles at the windows of the building. The plant was being manned by supervisory staff after the TUC President, Richard Ishmael, had refused the manager's plea that a skeleton staff should be left on duty. The TUC President had demanded that the electricity plant be completely shut down even though fire control in Georgetown depended on water pumped through the mains by electricity.
The unruly behaviour of the crowd was actively encouraged by certain TUC leaders present. Light poles in front of the plant were then set on fire. The Police riot squad arrived on the scene and used tear gas to disperse the crowd which had now grown to over 3,000. A child in a nearby yard was overcome by the fumes and had to be taken to hospital for treatment. It was at this point that D'Aguiar arrived on the scene and after passing through the police line, he urged the crowd to follow him to his office. There he used the incident of the injured child to incite the crowd by announcing that the child had died. The unruly large and hostile mob then rushed to congregate outside Freedom House, the PPP headquarters on Robb Street. The Police urged them to disperse but they refused. Tear gas was then used, but this did not help much. Shots were fired from the crowd and Superintendent Mc Leod and Assistant Commissioner of Police Phoenix were hit. Mc Leod died later that day in hospital.
Meanwhile, because of threats on the lives of the skeleton crew at the electricity plant, the members of the supervisory staff were forced to close it down, thus leaving the city without water. During that morning, small fires were already being set by opposition elements in various parts of the city and the Fire Brigade, hampered by the lack of water, was experiencing difficulty in putting them out.
From about 1.00 p.m. the unruly mob, after failing in their attack on Freedom House, went on a rampage burning and looting business places owned mainly by Indians in Robb, Regent, High, Camp and Water Streets and the Stabroek Market. The fires went out of control because there was no water in the mains; the mob also interfered with the work of the Fire Brigade, even sabotaging its work by cutting the hoses. Water was restored after 5.00 p.m. when the electricity plant was put back into operation.
The police seemed helpless and made little effort to arrest looters and arsonists. The Governor finally agreed to a request from the Commissioner of Police to bring in the British troops, and it was not until they arrived late in the afternoon that the situation was brought under control. A regiment of British troops also arrived as reinforcements during the night from Jamaica.
The toll was 56 buildings destroyed by fire, 21 damaged and 66 both damaged and looted; 29 market stalls were damaged and looted and 5 vehicles burned and 5 other Police vehicles severely damaged. One police officer died, 4 looters were killed and 41 others injured.
Only a section of Georgetown was affected by the disturbances; the rest of the country experienced no marches or demonstrations.
In the aftermath of the February disturbances, the Government in April 1962 amended many provisions of the budget in keeping with the earlier demands of the PNC and the TUC, but even these amendments were not accepted by the Opposition. During its third reading of the budget bill, in the absence of 7 PPP legislators, the Deputy Speaker, PNC Assemblyman, W.O.R. Kendall, used his casting vote to defeat it. The Government, as a result, had to withdraw the budget, and was forced to present a modified one the following month.