Looking back at the 1970’s

There have been a lot of talk about who caused the revolution and who was to be blamed for the Revolution. It has taken me sometime to give my version of what really took place in the year 1973 to 1979.

There was a newspaper called the JEWEL – this newspaper was published by the late Sebastian Thomas and

Teddy Victor. This newspaper was widely read because of its content.
When the ambitious young lawyer decided to form a political party, he used the newspaper as his party’s newspaper.

In 1973, the New Jewel Movement was formed – there were 24 persons in that meeting including myself.

The meeting took place on the ground floor of a house in Requin Junction.

The meeting was chaired by the ambitious young lawyer (Maurice Bishop who was the Political leader). The party was called the New Jewel Movement.

In his address to the audience he said among other things that Gairy started in St. David, I am starting in St. David, he started with fire I am starting with fire.

One may say that is not true – the question is were you there? Not long after that meeting it was fire as fire started in St. Paul’s and the Community Centre there caught afire.

Melrose went up in flames, Hill-crest, the house where the hospital is presently located at St. Paul’s was also on fire.

It was fire down in St. George’s as the Pharmacy burned down and stores went up in flames.

The Presentation Brother College Cadet rifles were stolen. The total was about 40 rifles, when the then Premier spoke of the stolen rifles they said, “Gairy Lie”.

Things continued to happen – bombs started exploding, and those rifles which were allegedly stolen were hidden on a property on a hill in St. Paul’s.

In November 1973, there was an article on the New Jewel newspaper which said “GAIRY resign by November 18th or ELSE.”

On November 18th 1973, members of the New Jewel Movement traveled to St. Andrew and went on the Pearls Air Strip designed to prevent planes from landing there. They were prevented from proceeding further with the mischief and in the process they were given a few lashes.

Now I am not saying that the licks were lawful, what I am saying, putting those things on the runway were unlawful and would have been to the detriment of passenger on the planes.

However, no planes landed on the airport on that day so no one got hurt except some of those mischief makers.

As a young man, I thought these things those fellows were doing were the right things to do especially as they were led by the son of a prominent Grenadian.

Looking back at those events, I am seeing those things were very unpleasant things to have been done. It was an atmosphere of provoke and accuse.

The trade unions shut down the country, followed by demonstrators which increased in numbers as the days progressed.

I was present at every demonstration and on Friday the 18th January 1974, the demonstrators attempted to enter the road leading to Mt. Royal but were prevented by the police.

The demonstration was led by a man who is still with us and is just about 2 months away from his 80th birthday.

A large number of school children also took part in the demonstrations in those days, and the most lewd and vulgar songs were sung by the school children.

I remember that one senior participant in the demonstration said to them they have to be careful of those songs they sing because a certain member of the government will come in the demonstration with a tape-recorder to record what they were singing. At this point, they sang other songs minus the vulgarity.

On Monday, January 21st 1974, the demonstration continued as usual, and after the march on that day the demonstrators gathered by Otway’s House on the Carenage where an address was done by a young student of the G.B.S.S.

As he spoke, I saw a soft drink truck driving slowly along the Carenage, coming from Huggins direction. It stopped close to Hubbard’s Garage.

There and then soft drinks bottles were thrown at the crowd, there were guns being fired and teargas.

Everyone started running for his or her life and some fell into the sea.

I was able to come out safely but my glasses were not recovered. I then started in a hurry to go up Cooper Hill.

On reaching the top of the hill, I got a ride in a white ford car. There was a young lady who had to keep her head outside the car to avoid others being affected by the teargas.

On reaching St. Paul’s, I saw a red ford car owned by a certain man who is still with us. I am not going to call his name except to refer to him as “The star”.

There was a shot gun, a 45 revolver and a masanto or what we call a bottle light which was made of a black & white scotch whiskey bottle with engine oil in it and cloth wick.

One would have wondered why this masanto and the sun is shining so bright?

One fellow who had the shot gun fired it off in the car. Now the gathering was by Bethel Church in St. Paul’s, traffic was flowing, a certain gentleman who was a magistrate in those days was coming up, the star said let that man pass, as he did not take any chances.

He reversed his car and went back from whence he came. Shortly afterwards another car was coming up, someone said, “look him”.

The driver of that car got so frightened he reversed his car in the nearby gap, opened the car door and started running.

Someone from the jeep said, “let’s burn it”. Someone objected to the burning. The man who left his car and ran was said to be the owner of the soft drink truck.

Traffic stop coming up that direction and the area was quiet so the group decided to move up the road.

The traffic was flowing through La Borie and up to St. Paul’s through what was called the Gravel road.

The group gathered by the top of that road, up came the Syrian, and the Star asked him to hand over his gun to a young man.

The young man asked the Star to show him how to use it. The Star took it from him saying you cannot use a gun and he gave it to another fellow who was a former military man.

I can remember that 2 or 3 cases of soft drinks bottles appeared on the scene which were used for pelting.
It was said that these were donated by the owner of a nearby house who is no longer with us.

To be continued…..

The Peasant

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