By Brian Lindsay-Campbell
I wonder if it is a really good idea for the survivors of The Grenada Revolution of March 13th, 1979, to come together to identify, list and to evaluate the events that gave rise to its demise…Yes we can!
After all, the blame game is over as to why one of the most important periods in our history in which a large amount of people and in particular our youth invested so profoundly in its promise of a better Grenada, which disappeared overnight on October the 19th 1983.
When our beloved, Prime Minister, Maurice Bishop, and his colleagues were executed in cold blood in a bloody display of brutal force by one side of the leadership of the Revolution, which subsequently led to the invasion of our country by USA and Caribbean Forces to restore order and to put an end to our Marxist experiment.
It was always my intention to do so, but after attending for the first time an activity organised by the Grenada Revolution Foundation in commemoration of the 38th Anniversary of the triumph of the Grenada Revolution of March 13th, 1979,at Marryshow House on H. A Blaize Street, I really felt the need to mention it publicly and finally feeling the need to do so in writing in anticipation of the absolute necessity to the people, for us and in particular our growing and brilliant youthful population who have an interest in its origin and historical importance and impact today because of its transcendental importance of the developments in our country.
This occasion will not and should not be one of blaming who, whom or what was or were, responsible for the implosion of the Revolution but to identify and list the conditions which gave rise to its disastrous termination.
Taking into consideration the application of two philosophical categories, Cause and Effect, in the development of this theme. This could get rid of the final stage of hostilities which is social discrimination.
Just two years ago I would not have had a conversation with this colourful attorney-at-law and President of the Grenada Revolution Foundation, who is also President of the OECS Bar Association, Ruggles Ferguson but I actually did, after the activity at Marryshow House in connection with this subject matter.
There are many more who were involved directly and indirectly with the crime that I cannot bring myself to say hello to much less to have a conversation with them because the reasons are all too familiar.
That is a 360 degrees turnaround from me. Because when Dr. Marryshow called me four years ago to attend the very first activity they held at the Public Workers Union building I bluntly refused to attend for personal reasons.
Today, four years later, my situation is the same but this time it was about being conscious or my consciousness allowed me to drop the hatchet and sit back and listen the ideas tabled at the activity in order to be able to form my thoughts and opinions based on what were presented during the panel discussion, to commemorate another anniversary of the triumph of the Grenadian Revolution on March13th, 1979.
In case you may wonder why this very vocal individual who have written many times on the subject matter and called a protagonist and someone who can be described as coming from the Maurice Bishop clan when it comes to the Grenada Revolution is calling for the coming together of all the survivors of the Revolution to assemble together under the same roof in a non-bias way to categorise and register those conditions, you must understand that there is a particular need or necessity to do so.
Please don’t get me wrong, because I am not calling for the unification or reconciliation of the revolutionary force of that era because that will take care of itself only after that academic exercise takes place for posterity.
Consequently, it will give us the opportunity to look back and say these were the conditions that existed that gave rise to the demise of the Grenada Revolution of March 13, 1979 which ended on October 19th, 1983 and subsequently led to the invasion of our island on the 25th, of October 1983 led by the Empire of the USA, which was already planned, based on intelligence reports.
I think that a broad based committee should be set up which should include the people who were in opposition to the Revolution, with the aim of setting up sub-committees to help research the topic at hand to carry out this very important activity which should be held on the 40th anniversary of the triumph of the Grenada Revolution. In other words we have two years and it should not be top heavy in its formation.
I know you will not find that kind of coming together of two very opposing sides from one people from the same country who wanted to see one side dead and buried or to jail them and throw away the key forever.
It might be strange for these people to be actually sitting in the same room identifying and listing the fundamental mistakes made by us during the Grenadian Revolution.
This can be a watershed moment for everyone and could set the stage for full forgiveness and social discrimination.
Prior to highlighting some of the conditions that I thought had plunged the country in political mayhem unknown to the masses, I just want to return to August 1983 just before I left for Cuba on September 3rd 1983 for the second time within the year.
I could remember my friends saying to me “where are you going again, you just came back from Cuba, the Airport was going to be opened soon”. My replied was, “That I would have won emulation in Cuba for good work and I might be on a plane for the inauguration ceremony of the international airport.
In other words from my zone the talk was about the opening of our international airport, for March 13th, 1984 and the expectation of the visit of the Cuban Commander in Chief and historical leader, Dr. Fidel Castro Ruz.
Permit me to list some of the conditions I came up with over the years.
*The lack of a constitution to govern, or a legal document for checks and balances in the society.
*No election or referendum to ratify or to legalise or legitimise the process.
*The exclusion of the masses in the debate that was ongoing within the party and its organs on joint leadership.
*The wrong approach in introducing Marxism- Leninism in our country which created a direct and indirect confrontation with our religious heritage or maybe Marxism was not necessary.
*The war of words between St. George and Washington.
*The international airport was a military base, according to the Empire of the USA.
*Defying the laws of human biology: which led to irrational thinking and behaviour: If you could not handle the pace you were called “Weak Heart”.
*A deep misunderstanding of our political culture in relation to our Prime Minister.
*Covetousness of the Comrade Leader’s love affair with the Grenadian masses.
*Lack of patience by some the leaders of the Revolution.
*Arbitrary detentions without trials.
*The first condition that really started the demise of the Grenadian Revolution in my opinion, took place in March 1982, when the Deputy Prime Minister, Bernard Coard resigned from the Central Committee (CC) and the Political Bureau (PB) of the New Jewel Movement (NJM) but remained in the People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) unknowingly to the masses.
*The Joint Leadership proposal really put the process in reverse gear.
*The irreversible decision by the Central Committee (CC) to put the Prime Minister under house arrest.
*Marching up to his home to free him and which ended on Fort Rupert.
*The resignation of key members of the People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) before October 19th, 1983.
*Lack of security for the Prime Minister from his home and along the route to Fort Rupert.
*The execution of Prime Minister Bishop and his colleagues, on the 19th, October, 1983.
*Disrespecting the masses wishes, “No Bishop No Revo”.
*The exclusion of our Cubans brothers’ knowledge and input during the crises.
*The inclusion of people from Jamaica, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago who had no experience on how to deal with that level of crises.
I think it is time to open up a new leaf in this debate which is regionalistic in nature. In some quarters it is perceived that if common sense had prevailed the Revolution could have been saved.
If only the Cubans were asked to help but intelligencia failed in that regard because of Maurice Bishop’s perceived closeness to Fidel.
We can also look at the alleged infiltration by foreign intelligence of superpowers.
Not until all the analysis is made by us in a mature way to come to terms with our great loss we will continue to live like crabs in a barrel while the country continues on a part of destruction and under-development of our people.
The objectives of March 13th 1979 Revolution are yet to be fulfilled after so many years following its demise. I wonder when we will come of age and give jack his jacket and to give Jane what is hers.
I really hope that the former NJM party and the Central Committee members will come forward and narrate what went down on the inside in an honest and profound manner as this could bring an end to the glossing over of the events that led to destruction of people and the Revolution.
The same way we can identity, list and glorify the achievements of the Revolution of March 13th, 1979 to 1983 why can’t we do the same when it comes to its failures which led to its catastrophic termination.
Finally, according to one of the Grenadian 17 who was convicted for the murder of Prime Minister Maurice and his colleagues in 1983, during their live press conference from Her Majesty Prisons, at Richmond Hill, “The killing of Maurice Bishop and his colleagues can never be justified”. So too the achievements of the Revolution can only be justified or appreciated when we become acquainted and document the errors that were made from 1979 to 1983.