Thirty-three years after the demise of the Grenada Revolution, there is only nostalgia about the period as the surviving principal figures are now mere shadows of themselves.
A handful of them still harbour thoughts of political power by joining the two mainstream political parties – the New National Party (NNP) firmly under the grips of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell and the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
The closest of the former leftists to achieving political power as the Prime Minister is Nazim Burke who now heads Congress after taking over from Tillman Thomas who quit frontline politics about two years ago.
Burke is no longer considered as far-left and would have been forced to moderate his views since the vast majority of Congress supporters are Middle Class persons who are not interested in leftwing dogma.
As a matter of fact the world has changed so drastically from what it looked like in the 1980’s with the collapse of the Soviet Empire and the fall of the Berlin Wall and the emergence of China as a major force on the world scene.
The remnants of the Grenada left have seemingly converted to some form of capitalism given the life-style and disposition of so many of them.
The colonial wig is now sitting prominently on the head of Trade Unionist, Chester Humphrey who was once firmly opposed to the Westminster style of Parliamentary democratic government.
And Bishop’s Chief bodyguard, Cletus St. Paul is now holding a security position under current Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell who used to be frequently ostracized during the 1979-83 Grenada Revolution as a so-called CIA operative.
Another of the revolutionary figures who can be seen sitting close to PM Mitchell at NNP Executive party meetings is the former Army officer, Captain Peter David, once a bitter foe of the Grenadian leader.
David, the former General Secretary and Foreign Minister under the 2008-13 Congress government, is now a bitter enemy of his one close ideological colleague Nazim Burke.
He is now part of the NNP machinery that is seeking to crush Burke
politically in an effort to make sure that he cannot use the Congress platform to become the Prime Minister of the country.
Some credit must be given to PM Mitchell for successfully exploiting the ambitions of both Burke and David within Congress and splitting them in such a manner that NDC fell from power in 2013.
The Burke/David split should leave no one in doubt that the Grenada Revolutionaries can become easily divided by personal ambitions and ideological divisions.
THE NEW TODAY holds the view that the collapse of the 1979-83 Marxist experiment of the New Jewel Movement-led People’s Revolutionary Government was more ideological and not something plotted in Washington by the mighty United States government.
The proof came in a publication called “The Missing Link” that was written inside the Richmond Hill prison by John “Chalkie” Ventour, the former Trade Union leader who was among the 17 persons convicted for Bishop’s murder at Fort George.
It came out quite clear in the document that there was a faction within the NJM Central Committee that was opposed to the growing Cuban influence in the Grenada Revolution.
This group, which would have involved the likes of Coard, and top army officers Ewart “Headache” Layne, Liam “Owusu” James and Leon “Bogo” Cornwall favoured the Marxist-Leninist principle of Democratic Centralism as practiced in the then Soviet Union by the ruling communists.
These so-called hardliners belonged to Coard’s study group known as OREL and felt that the Cubans were setting up Bishop to operate as a Maximum Leader along the lines of Fidel Castro.
A study of “The Missing Link” will give scholars a good insight into the mindset of the main players that were on centre stage in the unfolding of the bloody events in Grenada some 33 years ago.
Those who subscribed to Democratic Centralism in the NJM Central Committee poured scorn on Castro and Cuba’s resident Ambassador, Julian Torres Rizo and aligned themselves with Moscow’s main man in the Caribbean, the doctrinaire, Dr. Trevor Munroe of the now defunct Workers Party of Jamaica.
As Grenada looks down the road, this newspaper cannot see on the horizon anything that will take place in Spice Country in the immediate future that will pose a threat to Westminster democracy.
The Grenada left is too weak and divided to challenge for State power in the political scheme of things.
The small Maurice Bishop Patriotic Movement (MBPM) has been wiped off the map and most of its members are now giving support just like the Coard group to either NNP or NDC.
However, those who adhere to the democratic way of life have a responsibility and duty to “deliver” to the masses in terms of employment opportunities, containment of rising cost of living and ensuring real and constant growth in the economy in order to ensure that conditions are not created for left-wingers to see an opening that can be so easily exploited.
Grenada has a growing youthful population that can easily be excited and exploited by those elements who do not fully subscribe to our democratic way of life.