Trinidad And Tobago And The Butler Riots Of 1937

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The rich history of Trinidad and Tobago tells many stories in a vast pool of knowledge of its development. In the British Caribbean during the 1900s the oil industry in Trinidad and Tobago was in its infancy. Oil was being produced during the First World War (World War I) was an integral part of the British war effort. During this time, there was an increase in the migration to Trinidad from the smaller Caribbean islands, particularly Grenada, as they were in search of employment within the flourishing oil industry. This was the era that incited awareness of labour workers’ rights being infringed upon in Trinidad and Tobago. In this paper, it will focus on the causes and consequences leading to the Labour Riot or otherwise known to us as the Butler Riots of 1937.

History dates back to 1923 when the Petroleum Association of Trinidad and Tobago was formed by various oil companies. At that time, labour wages were at its lowest due to the great depression in which Trinidad and Tobago’s economy was severely affected. During that turbulent period, the standard of living deteriorated while the cost of living increased and the shareholders dividends in London rose. As a result the working class believed that the Oil companies were trying to suppress them with their unjust labour practices. This led the workers of the industry to openly voice their concerns. The labourers indicated that because of these issues it presently affect their daily lives as they identified that due to
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