The man who was Commander of the disbanded People’s Revolutionary Army (PRA), General Hudson Austin is now a patient at the St. George’s General Hospital.
Well-placed sources told THE NEW TODAY that Austin was taken to the hospital on Friday for a so far undisclosed illness.
This newspaper spoke to a hospital official who said that the Army Commander was first admitted in an open ward in the hospital but has since been removed to the private block where he is being treated.
Speculation is rife that a few of his supporters known as the RMC might be paying the hospital bills for the ex-army Commander.
The official said he could not give specifics about General Austin’s condition but hinted that it might be related to an ailment that was first discovered while he was an inmate at the Richmond Hill prison.
A patient in the open ward confirmed to this newspaper that he saw some medical tubes attached to the back of the former PRA Commander and something that looked like blood was coming out of it.
According to other sources over a month now the General was urged by close family members to visit the doctor for his sickness but he appeared very reluctant to do so.
The 78-year old former army chief was living a quiet life after being released from prison in 2008 after serving a lengthy sentence for his role in the October 19, 1983 execution of Marxist Prime Minister Maurice Bishop following a bitter internal feud in the then ruling New Jewel Movement-led People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG).
After the execution of Bishop, a military government took control of the island with General Austin named as Chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council (RMC).
Austin was in charge of the military wing of the NJM that stormed the army barracks of deposed Prime Minister Eric Gairy on March 13, 1979 to stage the first coup d’etat of an elected government in the English-speaking Caribbean.
The General who also served on the powerful Central Committee of the NJM was Minister of Communications & Works in Bishop’s PRG.
In the face of the bitter factional infighting within the ruling party, Austin was at first thought to be a pro-Bishop supporter but it turned out that he sided with the faction led by deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard that placed the Grenadian leader under house arrest.
After a crowd moved to Bishop’s home at Mt. Wheldale to free him, he was killed within an hour as the army sent in troops to storm Fort George where he had gone with a group of his supporters to challenge the coup plotters.
General Austin made a radio announcement on the night of the executions in which he stated: “The Revolutionary Armed Forces were forced to storm the fort, and in the process the following persons were killed: Maurice Bishop, Unison Whiteman, Vincent Noel, Jacqueline Creft, Norris Bain and Fitzroy Bain among others.”
He then announced a four-day curfew stating, “No one is to leave their house. Anyone violating this curfew will be shot on sight.”
During the Maurice Bishop murder trial, former soldier, Fabian Vernon Gabriel who was also convicted for the bloody murders turned State Witness and gave evidence against his “comrades”.
Gabriel told the court that he witnessed Austin on the night of the executions removing the canvass that covered the bodies of Bishop and those executed and then said in reference to the late Prime Minister: “He (Bishop) should have been killed a long time ago”.
After he was released from prison, General Austin has repeatedly refused to speak to the media about the tragic events on the fort some 33 years ago.