Tubal Uriah “Buzz” Butler Tubal Uriah “Buzz” Butler was born in 1895 in Grenada. During World War 1, Butler served in the British West India Regiment under the captaincy of Captain Arthur Cipriani. Uriah Butler migrated to Trinidad in the year 1921 with the hope of securing a good job in the oil industry. He found employment in the oilfields in south Trinidad. His occupation in the oil industry was constantly changing; he worked as a rig man, a pipe-fitter and a pump man. While he was not constant in his jobs, his passion was the plight of the oilfield workers.
He told the workers in the oilfield that the working class needed unity and solidarity, of the just struggle of the rights of the common man, and of the coming of a better and brighter day. In 1936, Butler formed his own party, the British Empire Workers and Citizen Home Rule Party (BEWCHRP). Butler, in his actions to undertake the in the fight of the workers, he went all over the oil belt and held meetings with workers, he wrote petitions to the oil employers. He also constantly wrote to the government and found a little sympathy but not much was done about it. On the 9th May 1937, Butler held a meeting in Fyzabad Junction.
In this meeting he made a very important statement which basically said that there was going to be rebellion. After the statement, Butler was charged with inciting to riot and with sedition. On the 18th June he called the men out to strike. On the 19th June he addressed a mass meeting of these workers at Fyzabad Junction. There the police tried to arrest Butler and the “Butler Riots” broke loose. On that day, there were the shooting to death of an English police officer called William Bradburn. There the beating and burning to death of police corporal Charlie king also occurred. Many people were also injured in the disturbances.
During 1939 to 1945 (World War 2), he was kept in detention because he was considered a security risk since the British could not afford for there to be instability in the country at that time. Butler’s political contribution to Trinidad was that he formed his own political party which won 3 seats in the 1946 elections and he fought for the justice of the people. At The National Awards ceremony on Independence Day 1976, Butler was awarded the Trinity Cross. But a very important tribute is that in 1973, the country celebrated the first Labour Day on the 19th June. Butler died in 1977.