History at a Glance


Captain Andrew Arthur Cipriani (1875-1945)

In November 1919, Captain Andrew Arthur Cipriani called on the workers to withhold their labour, and this resulted in their first important industrial strike in Trinidad, according to National Library and Information System Authority (NALIS).




Tubal Uriah “Buzz” Butler (1895-1975)

Tubal Uriah “Buzz” Butler, a Grenadian immigrant who worked in the oilfield, was instrumental in the development of the labour union movement which emphasized the importance of collective unionism in treating worker discontent and the abuses they faced by their employers. Butler was awarded the nation’s highest honor, the Trinity Cross, and the country’s main highway has been re-named in his honor. Today, a statue of Butler stands at the Fyzabad junction also known as the Charlie King Junction, the place where police attempted to arrest him on June 19th, the day of the historic riots 1937 (“Labour Day,” NALIS.gov.tt).



Elma Francois (1897-1944)

Elma Francois became a founding member of the National Unemployed Movement and its more radical successor, the Negro Welfare, Cultural and Social Association, to which she devoted the rest of her life (“Labour Day,” NALIS.gov.tt).



C.L.R James (1901-1989)

Regarded as one of the most celebrated thinkers of Trinidad and Tobago, and the whole Commonwealth Caribbean, C.L.R James was against colonialism and against racial prejudice in all its forms and he began to formulate his thoughts on the just and classless society. Apart from his contributions to politics, his passion for poetry and literature reward him with the nation’s highest decoration, the Trinity Cross (“Labour Day,” NALIS.gov.tt).



Adrian Cola Rienzi (1905-1972)

Adrian Cola Rienzi served as the mayor of San Fernando in November 1939 and administered the borough for three consecutive terms, until November 1942. He was a member of the franchise committee that was appointed in 1941, and strongly advocated universal adult suffrage (“Labour Day,” NALIS.gov.tt).




George Weekes (1921-1995)

George Weekes, a well-known Trade Unionist, possessed a powerful political leadership style which moved people toward a confidence to stand for what was just and right (“Labour Day,” NALIS.gov.tt).