Question 1 (one) a
Write a detailed account of the Burma Road Riot in Nassau Bahamas. The 1942 riot in Bay Street and in the Over-the-hill areas (place were the poorer black Bahamians lived) of New Providence was triggered by a labor dispute, but have been described as the first sign of a popular movement in the Bahamas. The Burma Road Riot occurred on June 1st 1942 through June 2nd 1942, when thousands of Bahamian workers came to Bay Street in a march of solidarity. This was a result of the years of oppression of Bahamian workers at the Oakes Field airport. These workers got paid four (4) shillings a day which is equal to one (1) dollar. As a result of this, a number of requests were sent to the labor officer by the Bahamas Federation of Labor (BFL) for an increase in their wages and this request was turned down by the construction company. Once the workers saw that their request for a wage increase was turned down and that it was because of the “white minority”, they decided to demonstrate. These demonstrations then lead into a riot. During this riot, stores were broken into, destroyed and then later robbed; some people lost their lives while others were injured, some were even shot by police officers. After the government could not have regained control, they decided to respond to the request of the people and gave them one (1) shilling per day increase and a free meal at lunch. By doing this, more than half of the workers returned to work on the 4th of June 1942 and by the end of the week everything was back to normal. The Burma Road Riot was a critical element in the fight for workers’ rights and resulted in the first increase in wages for Bahamian workers and the first free meal benefit. Unions were also formed as a result of this riot between 1942 and 1958. Some of these unions were the Taxi Cab Union, The Bahamas Union of Teachers, The Bahamas Hotel Catering and allied workers Union, and the Bahamas Public Services Union.
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