(St. Lucia 1957)
International Operation Name: Not applicable
International Operation Dates: Not applicable
Mandating Organization: Government of Canada
Region Name: Caribbean
Location: St. Lucia
Canadian Operation Name: (St. Lucia – 1957)
Canadian Operation Dates: 1957/03/31 – 1957/04/08
Mission Mandate: To deter potential violence by strikers on the island of St. Lucia
In 1957, the island of St. Lucia was a British colony, part of the Windward Islands group. On 25 March a strike commenced at what has variously been described as a sugar refinery and a banana plantation. Fearing violence would break out, the Governor requested assistance as he felt that a show of force would keep matters quiet. However, the nearest Royal Navy ship was three days steam from St. Lucia.
In March 1957, HMCS Micmac was on exercise in the Caribbean with the other ships of the 1st Canadian Destroyer Squadron. In the last day or two of March, the ship was ordered to sail to Castries, port and capital of St. Lucia. The orders were to assist the local authorities in keeping order in view of the strike and possible riot by the banana plantation workers. The ship arrived on the 31st and after consultation with the island's Governor the Captain learned that the possibility of violence was remote at that time.
On the chance that they might be needed, the ship's company was divided into three companies who would rotate on stand-by duty. After several days of quiet, the Governor called the ship and advised that the strikers were amassing at the edge of town. As the ship's company prepared to proceed ashore an urgent message arrived from Naval Headquarters in Ottawa. The message stated that on no account was an armed force to be landed without prior approval of Naval Headquarters. Despite the order, the ship's company marched into town and took up their preset position. Whether it was this display of force or other reason, the strikers did not enter the town and the ship's company returned to the ship. On 8 April the ship left St. Lucia, after the Royal Navy had arrived.
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