throughout the 1970's, it came to a series of social
revolts. In 1975 it came, among other things. to major
strikes in which they succeeded in bridging the ethnic
contradictions: oil workers and country workers created
joint protest movements and set common demands. The strike
movement was eventually crushed when the government convened
the military to distribute the oil and gasoline products.
From 1982, the dependence on oil production gave rise to
serious problems and instability. Several factors impacted
the deterioration of the situation: the world crisis, the
fall in oil prices, the reduction in demand for heavy oil,
rising competition from oil refineries on the US south coast
and a reduction in production.
These new circumstances caused oil revenues to fall by
26% in 1983, which was the main reason why the country's
total GDP fell by 5.2%. The government therefore implemented
a tight crisis package, which included eliminated the
subsidies on a number of basic products, reduced public
investment, and "curbed" public wages.
In October 1983, George Chambers's government turned
against the United States invasion of neighboring Grenada,
not participating in the expeditionary force provided by 6
Caribbean countries. On the other hand, the government was
facing a deeper social and economic crisis. The opposition
gathered in the National Alliance for Reconstruction
(National Reconstruction Alliance, NAR), which won the
parliamentary elections in 1986. NAR gained 33 out of the 36
seats of Parliament, thus ending 30 years of PNM rule.
The new government led by Arthur Napoleón Robinson
presented a 5-year "adaptation plan" to begin in 1990. At
the same time, it envisaged closer integration among the
countries of the Caribbean common market CARICOM. The
elements of the plan were: removal of the protection of the
textile industry, the development of new industrial projects
(such as factories for the production of methanol and
natural gas) and the promotion of tourism.
At the same time, the government continued the economic
"horse race" agreed with the IMF. From there, the country
received a $ 110 million loan in 1988 and a stand-by
loan of $ 128 million in 1989. The social costs of the horse
race triggered large strikes among the oil workers -
including a general strike in March 1989.