By Dr Lawrence A Joseph
In an article entitled “Don’t Distort the Facts Dr Joseph” which was published in the “Informer” newspaper on 17 April last, Dr Terrence Marryshow took issue with my article entitled “The Importance of Adequately Analyzing Historic Events” which was published in the same newspaper on the 10th instant. Dr Marryshow’s thrusts in the debate cause me to hold the view that because of his past involvement with the then People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG), his potential for holding certain rational intellectual debates has become clouded with emotionalism. What may have been his past innocent mind seems now to have become radicalized. Moreover, the venom with which he writes causes concern.
In his article, Dr Marryshow stated: “Dr Joseph hypocritically uses the studies… by… Dr Patrick Emmanuel….to support his claim that the American invasion was really a rescue mission because the Grenadian people supported it.” In my article I never claimed on my own account that the military intervention was a rescue mission. What I did say was: “The use of certain terminologies does impact significantly on the mindset of individuals. Hence the reason why some people choose to use the phrase “rescue mission” instead of the word “invasion” when they refer to the military intervention which took place in Grenada on 25 October 1983”.
I then went on further to explain with the aid of Dr Emmanuel’s Survey that 78.9% of persons surveyed felt that they were saved from Bernard Coard. Dr Marryshow himself seems to express disgust towards the “Coard clique”. The accusation made against me by Dr Marryshow therefore is totally incorrect. It is he who has distorted the facts and not me.
Notwithstanding this, whilst immediately after the military intervention the United Nations General Assembly condemned it as a ”flagrant violation of international law”, it is quite possible that if the Assembly had the time to properly analyze the then situation they may have expressed a different point of view. For instance, Sir Paul Scoon was recognized as the Governor-General of Grenada by all including the PRG. As Governor-General he held “reserve powers” which could be utilized at any time. Following the summary executions of then Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and others on 19 October 1983, Sir Paul remained the sole executive authority in the state in accordance with section 57 of the Grenada Constitution.
In his Book entitled “Survival for Service” between pages 133 to 136 and on page 145, Sir Paul revealed that he had invited Prime Minister Tom Adams of Barbados, Prime Minister Edward Seaga of Jamaica, Prime Minister Mary Eugenia Charles of Dominica (who represented the OECS), and President Ronald Reagan of the United States of America, to mount a military intervention in Grenada. At first he gave a “pro tem” invitation to the abovementioned parties through an emissary, British Deputy High Commissioner, David Montgomery on Sunday, 23 October 1983. At the time he thought that it was too risky to send a written invitation. Formal letters were subsequently signed by him a few days later after he was rescued from his official residence.
If therefore Sir Paul Scoon as the Head of state of an independent Grenada invited countries to intervene militarily for the purpose of restoring normalcy to the state, it is most difficult to interpret the resulting intervention as being an invasion as claimed by Dr Marryshow. Sir Paul himself called one of the chapters in his book “The Rescue Mission”.
With regards to the question as to whether the March 13th occurrence was a revolution or a coup d’état, Dr Marryshow insists that it was a revolution. I say that it was not. The difference between Dr Marryshow’s perspective and mine is that his is grounded in emotionalism, a mere quixotic experience; mine emanates from a purely legal/political/philosophical perspective. I alluded to this in my earlier article. The trajectories are at cross-purposes.
Dr Marryshow agrees with my definition of a revolution as being “a complete overhaul of the existing legal order giving rise to a completely new one which is by and large endorsed by the bulk of the population”. He himself admits that “By 1983 the framework for a new constitution was drafted to include the new legal order…” This statement alone is an indication that the full cycle to establish a successful revolution was not in place. Therefore even if there was “popular support” (which it is submitted that there was no evidence), it was not popular support for a new legal order. All the elements of the definition of a revolution were not in place. The March 13th event in Grenada therefore was a mere coup d’état in transition.
Dr Marryshow does have some potential, and is encouraged to continue writing to offer “Food for Thought”. However, he must be forever mindful that the quality of his food must be of a consistently high standard. He must avoid garnishing it too lavishly with the aftermath of his own radicalization.