by Hudson George
All the political activities going on this March month 2019 in Grenada, to celebrate 40 years of the 13 March 1979 Revolution is based on intellectual discourse to legitimise the People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG).
But the true fact is that the only successful revolution Grenada ever had is the Eric Gairy-led GULP Movement 1951 Revolution.
The 13 March 1979 New Jewel Movement Revolution was hijacked by charismatic Maurice Bishop and his urban St George’s mainly based socialist group. Unfortunately, with all the academic knowledge they possess, they made the biggest mistake in revolutionary struggles in Grenada, when they renamed the NJM Revolution as the People’s Revolutionary Government.
The renaming of the revolution and formation of a Central Committee as the highest decision-making body institution to create new laws to govern the country, was a silent coup d’état that very few Grenadians recognised in the early stages. However, the role of the Central Committee gave the leadership power to take away our citizen rights to participate in political activities that affect us as a people on a daily basis.
But unfortunately, the leadership did not understand that they were digging their own grave. The formation of the Central Committee was the beginning of the suicide mission of the revolution that finally took place on 19 October 1983, when Bishop himself realise he was losing his grip on power as designated leader for life.
There is no solid argument that these socialist intellectuals can make, to prove or to convince sensible Grenadians that Maurice Bishop was more revolutionary than Eric Gairy. The Gairy GULP Movement never abandoned its grassroots base and imported foreign ideologues and other intellectuals to make political decisions for us Grenadians. And whether or not Gairy made mistakes in some of his political actions, his policies were based on homegrown political values.
Now, I am hearing some of the pro-PRG supporters and intellectuals are saying that the people’s revolution government policies were based on people’s participation. Therefore, I am wondering if they still believe most Grenadians are stupid and who are they trying to fool. The vast majority of Grenadians had no idea about what was going in the country after the first anniversary of the revolution.
So, we can say that after 13 March 1980 which was one year after the revolution, the masses of Grenadian people were isolated from the daily political activities happening in the country and those tried to show their concern, were put under heavy manners under different circumstances. Some critics of the revolution were incarcerated at Richmond Hill Prison indefinitely. Others were forced into exile.
In addition, the PRG had dismantled all the NJM party cells in the rural parishes. Maurice Bishop never visited the villages he once visited on a regular basis before the revolution. The only time rural citizens used to see Bishop was if they attended a PRG government rally, or if they buy a ‘Free Grenada Newspaper’ and if they were lucky to see him on local television news report talking about the revolution. However, during that time very few people had access to television.
On the other hand, if I say that Bishop was not a likeable person by the Grenadian people, I will be telling a big lie and I will be spreading fake news. However, even though he was liked by the people, I do not believe that he was really and truly connected with the masses of the population who are mostly descendants of black Sub-Saharan African origins.
He was not from the same social class as Eric Gairy who was a product of the black Grenadian population. Gairy had the ability to socialise with all classes of Grenadians. In addition, none of these pro-Bishop intellectuals could present visual documents to show where Bishop was grounded with the black population as Gairy did. All they are showing us is where Bishop made intellectual speeches to stimulate the minds of academics.
There are many factors to prove why Gairy was more a people’s person than Bishop. The main factor is that Gairy was born and raised on an estate plantation in Dunfermline, St Andrew, Grenada. His father was originally from River Sallee, St Patrick and his mother from St Andrew. So he was always grounded with the ordinary people.
In the case of Bishop, he was from the so-called old colonial “French Creole Class” who always had social and economic status since during the days of French colonisation of Grenada. In addition, a part of his family is connected to the slave master’s class that played a major role in the execution of Grenadians who took part in the Fédon rebellion.
His family financially benefited from slavery after the British re-colonised Grenada after Fédon rebellion was defeated. Therefore, he was not socially cultured to mingle with the masses of black Grenadians even though he had socialist’s ideas. As a matter of fact, he was a sort of recycled political character.
Furthermore, some educated black Grenadians who are socialist converts, tend to believe because they have moved up the social ladder of success within the Grenadian society, they have conquered colourism and classism, but they are naive. Socialism and communism have not defeated racism and colourism as they believe. Black people struggle is not completed because a small minority of influential black folks can rub shoulders with people who were their superiors half a century ago. There are more barriers to cross still.
Additionally, it is very sad to see that this small group of elites, educated left-wing intellectuals, is not willing to accept the fact that the PRG regime created its own political demise. On the other hand, they still holding on to their pride and continue to defend the evil of deeds of the PRG regime in the name of revolution as though ideology is more important than human beings.
However, in spite of all the bad things that took place from 1979 to 1983, I think young people who are interested in Grenada’s history and politics should attend the lectures. I am also advising the young people to talk to the ordinary people on the streets who were involved in the Jewel Movement struggle. So, that they can get a better idea about the PRG regime.
Anyway, I am not my intention is not to promote Eric Gairy’s political legacy or to promote the GULP Movement. I am just giving Jack his jacket and Tom his hat. I think it is time for those of us with an open mind, to come forward and speak up and make our voices heard. The old PRG propaganda machine supposed to be dumped in Grenada’s political crap yard. It is time for a new political chapter.