Sir Paul Scoon, who was Governor-General of Grenada in 1983 when US troops intervened to put down a violent rebellion by extreme leftists said former President Ronald Reagan’s actions saved Grenada from ‘certain chaos’.
Sir Paul has since written his memoirs and he described the uprising in which Prime Minister Maurice Bishop was assassinated by members of his own government as the ‘six day rule of terror’.
Speaking from his home in Grenada, Sir Paul told BBC Caribbean Service that former President Reagan who died on Saturday was “very near to his heart”.
“I remember him as a man who really saved us from chaos when he agreed to send troops to Grenada,” he said.
“Fortunately his men came then or else I think more and more Grenadians would have been killed. They came and established peace and the return of democracy, a democracy which we now enjoy.”
Sir Paul said that the intervention had the backing of the heads of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), as well as the Barbadian and Jamaican leaders.
I think he’s one of the greatest US presidents and a great world leader.
He said the general feeling that the only way to “stop the rot” was to have an outside force as the Caribbean forces were not sufficiently capable.
As Grenada’s only constitutional authority, it was up to Sir Paul’s to seek assistance from the Americans.
The intervention was criticised by a number of countries including the United Kingdom. Grenada was a colony of the United Kingdom and still has the Queen as its head of State.
“First of all it was not an invasion because Ronald Reagan came to Grenada on invitation; invitation by me and invitation by the OECS territories,” he said.
“As Governor General, I owed no allegiance to the British government; I owed allegiance to the British crown.”
He said that he ignored the criticism from the international community, and when he eventually met with former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher some years later, she never even mentioned the issue.
“When you look at the end result, even the British people will now think it’s a good thing the American and other Caribbean forces came when they did,” he said.
Sir Paul met former President Reagan in 1986 when he paid an official visit to Grenada.
He said he was touched by Mr Reagan’s warmth and charm, and described him as a “humane character”.
“He came and there were some 42,000 Grenadians saying thank you to him at Queen’s Park, one of our large playing areas,” he said.
“At one time when he saw the attitude of people along the streets, waving their flags, I think that there were tears coming from his eyes.”
The former Grenadian head of state said he believes that the intervention was right and he is prepared to defend former President Reagan’s decision to the very end.
“I think his men really saved us,” he said.
“I think he’s one of the greatest US presidents and a great world leader.”
(Reproduced from an article done by the BBC in June 2004)