According to Countryaah, 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.
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