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Murchison Fletcher

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Sir Arthur George Murchison Fletcher, KCMG, CBE 

 

Eleventh Governor of Trinidad and Tobago

Born in 1878.

Died in 1954.

Served as  a British colonial administrator.

He was Acting Governor of British Ceylon from 1927 to 1928.

Governor of Fiji and High Commissioner for the Western Pacific from 22nd November 1929 to 28th November 1936.

Governor of Trinidad and Tobago from 1936 to 1938.

August 1936, Tubal Uriah ‘Buzz’ Butler, left the TWA (Trinidad Workingmen’s Association) which was led by Captain Arthur Cipriani. And founded the British Empire Workers and Citizens Home Rule Party which became a major opposing voice on political matters in the colony. The party's primary efforts

were centred on workers interest in the South Trinidad.

Butler was a major force among the working class which was evident in the growth of his trade union. Similarly, by gaining seats in the election, Butler proved to be a political force which colonial authorities began to fear.

On the 20th June 1937, a telegraph was sent from Sir Murchison Fletcher, to the Commander in Chief of Bermuda, with the report of rioting in the oil fields. Days later a seaplane took off heading to Tobago and dropped thousands of leaflets containing two messages to the islanders one was a warning  any intimidation of workers by organisers of any planned strike​ would be punished by police and magistrates.. The other was a promise of an investigation regarding to the labour conditions on the island headed by a three man team headed by Colonial  Secretary Howard Nankivell.

There were strikes and other work place disturbances, the government identified the agitator as Butler he was arrested for the killing of two police officers and incitement. Reportedly Butler was protected by armed guards and he was moved from safe house to safe house by his supporters, he became object of a manhunt.

Governor Fletcher was under pressure from settlers, business leaders and Whitehall Officials. He told a packed Legislative that the only defence that Butler has is one of mental instability.

The Members of the Chamber of Commerce who had close relationship with the Colonial Office, joined by Oil company executives and Sugar Estate owners petitioned Ormsby-Gore to remove the Governor. They claimed that instead of The Governor and the Action Colonial Secretary Nankivell persecuting troublemakers like Butler and restoring order on the oilfields and plantations, they were accused of being naive and sympathetic of the strikes. The Governor indulge their grievances and the Colonial Secretary suggests the employers greed provoked the unrest.

 

Ormsby-Gore acceded to the petitioners demands and Governor Fletcher and Colonial Secretary Nankivell were removed from their posts.