Write a detailed account of the Burma Road Riot in Nassau Bahamas. (7marks) A noisy, violent public disorder caused by a group or crowd of people against another group. The Burma Road Riot was the result of years of oppression by Bahamian workers, but was triggered by a wage dispute involving Bahamian construction workers at the Oakes Field Airport. “The 1942 riot in Nassau was a short-lived spontaneous outburst by a group of disgruntled labourers, and occurred against a background of narrow socio-economic and political policies”- The 1942 riot in Nassau: A demand for Change? By Gail Saunders.
The United States entry into the Second World War bought mixed blessings for The Bahamas. It causes the collapse of the tourist industry which aggravated the already serious unemployment problem. New Providence was chosen as the site of an Operational Training Unit. The installation which had to be built was supervised by the United States and their American firm, Pleasantville Incorporation. The operation employed over two thousand men, many of them from the Family Islands who had flocked to Nassau during the previous two decades in search of jobs.
The wage for all workers was set at four (4) shillings per day even though the Pleasantville Construction Company was willing to pay eight (8) shillings per day. The White Oligarchy decided eight (8) shillings was too much for black Bahamian workers. Fortunately, workers from Exuma who had previously worked on similar projects in the U.S and Exuma told the workers that the company was willing to pay higher wages, but were prevented from doing so by the Bahamas Government. The Bay Street Boys were upset and horrified. They claimed that such a wage would upset the economy and make the Negroes unmanageable.
American employees were earning much more for doing identical work, and this caused irritation among the Bahamian labourers who had no effective means of expressing their grievances. On 20th May, the...