The Grenada massacre: Lest We Forget!

Est. read time: 4 min

Another anniversary, another series of events to mark the brutal execution of the Prime Minister of the People’s Revolutionary Government of Grenada, Maurice Bishop, several members of government and of his Party, another year of not knowing where the bodies of Maurice Bishop and his comrades were buried.

In Grenada, as in previous years, representatives of the Government will join the Maurice Bishop and Martyrs Foundation in conducting a modest ceremony of remembrance in the place on Fort Rupert (renamed Fort George) in St George’s, the capital of Grenada, where on 19 October 1983 Maurice Bishop, Fitzroy Bain, Norris Bain, Evelyn Bullen, Jacqueline Creft, Keith Hayling, Evelyn Maitland, Unison Whiteman, were summarily executed. Remembered, also, will be: Andy Sebastian Alexander, Simon Alexander, Gemma Belmar, Eric Dumont, Avis Ferguson, Vince Noel, Alleyne Romain and Nelson Steele who were killed on the Fort that fateful day.

On 25 October, a public holiday in Grenada which some ruefully call ‘Emancipation Day’, more elaborate ceremonies will be held, topped by church services attended by members of the government and other civic leaders, to ‘give thanks’ for ‘Papa Reagan’ and the ‘liberation’ of Grenada from the Revolutionary Military Council and the remnants of the leadership of the Grenada Revolution!

October 25th is a public holiday, October 19th is not.

This is a particularly painful time of the year for the people of Grenada but none more so than for the families of those executed on Fort Rupert who still wait and pray that one day, somebody will tell them where the bodies of their loved ones were disposed of.

On 7 February 2011, I wrote to President Barack Obama asking him to tell the people of Grenada and the world what the US Government knows about the disposal of those bodies (READ THE FULL LETTER)

No response has been received from the White House.

On 3 June 2011, Selwyn Strachan, one of the 17 prisoners released from Richmond Hill Prison in St George’s having served 27 years for his alleged involvement in the events that culminated in the execution of Bishop and his comrades, took part in a public debate with me, in London, on the demise of the Grenada Revolution and the circumstances surrounding the massacre on Fort Rupert.

In the course of that debate, Selwyn Strachan revealed that information about the whereabouts of those bodies was not being withheld by the survivors of the meltdown of the Revolution, namely, Bernard Coard, himself and several others, but that he had evidence that the US invading forces had recovered the bodies from where they had been buried.

Later, having returned to Grenada, on 17 July 2011 Selwyn Strachan sent me a scanned copy of an email (see below) which had been provided by a soldier from the Jamaican Regiment that had joined other Caribbean armies to lend legitimacy to the US invasion of Grenada by Ronald Reagan:

In his covering note, Strachan stated:

The email letter from the Jamaican soldier, which speaks of the whereabouts of the remains of Comrade Maurice Bishop and others, and which you have requested, is attached. I wish to commend you on the efforts you have been pursuing to help in the recovery of the remains of those who were tragically killed on October 19, 1983. Every effort in this direction could eventually lead to some positive results. I anticipate that the contents of your second letter (following on your February 7 letter) to President Barack Obama will be suitably adjusted in light of the aforementioned discussion/debate on the Implosion of the Revolution.

I did not send a second letter to Barack Obama. I believe, however, that the people of Grenada, if not the government, and not just the Maurice Bishop and Martyrs Foundation should be relentless in their pursuit of answers from the US government.

Barack Obama clearly has other things on his mind which he would no doubt consider of much higher importance in world politics. His government, however, is never far from arrangements whereby prisoners are exchanged by one nation state for bodies of their soldiers or citizens held by another for years which conflicts persist.

The world should join the relatives of the Martyrs of October 19, 1983, and the people of Grenada and demand that the United States of America tell them and the world what the invading forces did with those bodies.

Picture: “Maurice Bishop“, by Paul Lowry (Flickr – CC BY 2.0)

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