Alimenta to be laid to rest Friday

The mother of former Grenada leftist Prime Minister, Maurice Bishop would be laid to rest Friday after a church ceremony at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in St. George’s.

A family member told THE NEW TODAY newspaper that Nadia Bishop, a granddaughter of Alimenta Bishop is the one who has been given the responsibility to deliver the Eulogy at the church service.

Nadia who is based in the United States is the daughter of the late Prime Minister who created history when he led his New Jewel Movement (NJM) in the first change of government in the English-speaking Caribbean through the use of arms to overthrow the elected Eric Gairy regime.

The 98-year old Alimenta Bishop died at her home in the early hours of Saturday morning.

She died without ever getting to know the location of the remains of her son, who was killed on October 19, 1983, four years after he came to power by a coup d’etat.

Bishop was executed following a bitter power struggle for control of the NJM with a hardline faction that includes the likes of his deputy, Bernard Coard, army leaders General Hudson Austin, Mobilization Minister Selwyn Strachan, Lieutenant-Colonels Liam James and Ewart “Headache” Layne.

During court hearings it was revealed that Bishop along with nine others including his Foreign Minister, Unison Whiteman, Education Minister Jacqueline Creft and Housing Minister, Norris Bain were lined-up against a wall on the Top Square of Fort George and gunned down by a firing squad under the command of Callistus “Iman Abdullah” Bernard.

The bodies of Bishop and the other slain revolutionaries were then taken to Camp Calivigny and dumped in a shallow grave and burnt beyond recognition.

Despite pleas from Alimenta Bishop and the wives of the others who were killed on the fort, the Coard/Austin faction never released the bodies for the customary Christian burial.

This has been a source of much annoyance to Alimenta Bishop during the past 30 years since the bloody events on the fort.

“Every year I get upset about the same thing,” she had said on numerous occasions, noting that even Jesus Christ was crucified, “his mother was able to get his body to bury, but when I ask what happened to my son, nobody would tell me”.

Her husband, Rupert had also been murdered and Mrs. Bishop said that at least she had been able to get the body for a burial. “I could go to the grave and say this is the spot where my husband is buried, but I can’t say that for my son.

“Every time I ask why can’t I get a word about my son’s body, they are saying to forgive. But I am saying how can I forgive when I don’t have results about my son,” she said then.

Maurice Bishop’s death resulted in a United States-led invasion of the island and the body of the former prime minister has never been recovered despite pleas from his family and successive governments.

Bishop’s former deputy, Bernard Coard and several others within his People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG), including Coard’s wife, Phyllis, were sentenced to lengthy jail terms for their roles in Bishop’s death, but were all released a few years ago under new sentencing procedures.

In 2009, Mrs. Bishop was among dignitaries present when the then ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) renamed the Point Saline International Airport, the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA) in memory of her son.

The funeral service for Mrs. Bishop is expected to be attended by some of the leading leftist figures on the island who had enjoyed a close political relationship with the former Grenadian leader.

The leader of the Cuban Revolution, retired President Fidel Castro had included a private visit to meet with Mrs. Bishop on his historic visit to Grenada.



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