Two years after the formation of the Jamaica Progressive League of New York, the discontent amongst the working class Jamaicans reached a boiling point. The catalyst for the island-wide rebellions was the Frome Riots. In response to the discontent, the colonial authorities arrested 745 suspects. W.G. McFarlane, the organizer of the local branch of the League which was established in 1937 viewed the riots as an opportunity for the League to generate widespread support. With the blessings of the New Work body, the local branch played a pivotal role in lending aid to those arrested and strengthening unions.
With the aid of money lender, Alexander Bustamante, the League was instrumental in securing legal representation for those who were behind bars under suspicion of being involved in the riots. Messrs E.R.D. Evans and O.G.X. Henriques were retained.
Their involvement also extended to making presentations before the West India Royal Commission 1938-1939. This was viewed as an opportunity to not just present a case for the workers, but for tackling other issues. They formed the Jamaica Deputation Committee on August 2, 1938 which comprised not only members of the Jamaica Progressive League, but a number of other civic organizations. These included the Kingston and St. Andrew Federation of Citizens’ Association, the Women’s Liberal Club (which started the Save the Children Fund), the Jamaica Union of Teachers (of which Amy Bailey was a part) and the Permanent Committee of the Mayor’s All Island Economic and Industrial Conference of 1938 (this only lasted for three years).