The Grenada massacre: Lest We Forget!

October 19, 2012 in Blog

Another anniversary, another series of events to mark the brutal execution of the Prime Minister of the People’s Revolutionary Government of Grenada, Maurice Bishop, several members of government and of his Party, another year of not knowing where the bodies of Maurice Bishop and his comrades were buried.

In Grenada, as in previous years, representatives of the Government will join the Maurice Bishop and Martyrs Foundation in conducting a modest ceremony of remembrance in the place on Fort Rupert (renamed Fort George) in St George’s, the capital of Grenada, where on 19 October 1983 Maurice Bishop, Fitzroy Bain, Norris Bain, Evelyn Bullen, Jacqueline Creft, Keith Hayling, Evelyn Maitland, Unison Whiteman, were summarily executed. Remembered, also, will be: Andy Sebastian Alexander, Simon Alexander, Gemma Belmar, Eric Dumont, Avis Ferguson, Vince Noel, Alleyne Romain and Nelson Steele who were killed on the Fort that fateful day.

On 25 October, a public holiday in Grenada which some ruefully call ‘Emancipation Day’, more elaborate ceremonies will be held, topped by church services attended by members of the government and other civic leaders, to ‘give thanks’ for ‘Papa Reagan’ and the ‘liberation’ of Grenada from the Revolutionary Military Council and the remnants of the leadership of the Grenada Revolution! Read the rest of this entry →

The ‘enduring mystery’ of Maurice Bishop’s remains

June 9, 2012 in Blog, Gus in the Media, Print

"Maurice Bishop" by Paul Lowry (Flickr)

In 2010, I published a book titled Time to Tell – the Grenada Massacre and After….  Grenada Diary 14-25 December 1983.  As the title suggests, the book is mainly a diary I kept on a visit to Grenada a couple months after military conflict in the US led invasion of Grenada had ended. 

The diary is effectively a narrative of the fears, dashed hopes, anger and anxieties about the future of the traumatised people of Grenada.  But, it also calls upon Bernard Coard and all those responsible for the massacre on Fort Rupert and for controlling the country in the immediate aftermath of that 19 October tragedy to tell the Grenada people and the world what they did with the remains of those who were murdered or otherwise met their death on or near Fort Rupert on that fateful day.

Following the publication of the book, Selwyn Strachan visited the UK and had a public debate with me about the matters I wrote in the book and about his part and that of his comrades (the Grenada 17) in the events of October 19, 1983.  One of the things Strachan told the audience in Brixton on the second of that two part conversation we had is that he had in his possession a letter which was written by a member of the Jamaica Regiment that had been detailed by the invading forces to ‘sweep up’ matters to do with the leadership of the Revolution, in which this person was claiming to have been present when the US armed forces took away the half burned bodies of Maurice Bishop and some of those who perished with him on the Fort Rupert. Read the rest of this entry →

Grenada Peace Centre Proposal (Addendum)

March 29, 2011 in Gus talks, Projects

"Grenada - Fort George", by "roger4336" (Flickr)

The following project was sent to the Government of Grenada on March 29th, 2011.

On 3rd January 2011, while on an assignment in Lagos, Nigeria, I sent Senator Arley Gill a proposal for the establishment of a Peace Centre on Fort George (seen above) and set out some possible uses for the transformed Fort.

In the week beginning 20 February 2011, I was a delegate at the African Union/African Diaspora meeting in Pretoria, South Africa. As part of the itinerary for that meeting, delegates were taken on an official tour of Freedom Park, which is located on a 52-hectare site on Salvokop Hill at the entrance into Tshwane (Pretoria) from Johannesburg. The South African government describes Freedom Park, with its ‘Garden of Remembrance’ as:

‘a meeting place, a venue for the gathering of clans and nations; a place to listen to the voice of silence, a place to pray; a sacred place, a step to the heavens and to our humanity’.

On previous visits to South Africa I had heard of but not visited Constitution Hill in Johannesburg. Now the site of the Constitutional Court and a monument to peace, reconciliation and multiculturalism, it was the Old Fort Prison Complex ‘commonly known as Number Four, where thousands of ordinary people were brutally punished before the dawn of democracy in 1994. Many of South Africa’s leading political activists, including Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela were detained there’. Read the rest of this entry →

African Diaspora’s programme of action: economic cooperation

February 21, 2011 in Gus talks, Papers

The following paper was submitted to the African Diaspora’s Technical Committee of Experts, which met in Pretoria, South Africa, on February 21st, 2011. 

Preamble

Following the report the rapporteur for the Economic Cooperation break out group gave to the Meeting in the penultimate session on Tuesday 22 February, Mr Richard Cambridge made a helpful and informative intervention in which he dealt with the issue of remittances.  I was a member of the Social Cooperation group, dealing with educational, social and cultural affairs.

The rapporteur’s report highlighted the proposal that there should be a bank to handle remittances and that existing banks with an enlarging profile in Africa and the Diaspora should be used for that purpose.  Eco and Standard banks were cited as examples of those.  The report and Mr Cambridge’s comments also focused on the proposal that there should be an African Institute for Remittances linked to or in parallel with an African Diaspora Investment Fund. Read the rest of this entry →

A letter to U.S. President Barack Obama

February 7, 2011 in Gus talks, Open letters

"Obama", by "Justin Sloan" (Flickr)

The following letter was sent to U.S. President Barack Obama on February 7th, 2011.

Fraternal greetings from a son of the African Diaspora and I wish you the Creator’s abiding blessings, guidance and protection.

I note with admiration, Sir, your relentless efforts to build and sustain peace between nations and promote social justice at home and it is that spirit that I write to you.

On 19 October 1983, in a collective expression of the people’s will, not unlike the events we have witnessed in Tunisia, Jordan and Egypt in recent weeks, an estimated 60% of the entire population of Grenada gathered in St George’s and proceeded to free the Prime Minister and popular leader of the People’s Revolutionary Government, Maurice Bishop, from house arrest. They marched to Fort Rupert, carrying their Prime Minister aloft and assembled to hear him speak. Sections of the armoured corps of the People’s Revolutionary Army arrived, shots were fired and in the mayhem that ensued the Prime Minister and most of his Cabinet were lined up against a wall and executed.  Many unarmed citizens, mostly young people, lost their lives either through gunshot or by falling over the walls of the Fort in an attempt to escape bullets. Read the rest of this entry →