GRENADA REMEMBERED: Bernard Coard in Profile
ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada – When the radical New Jewel Movement (NJM) seized power in a coup in Grenada in March 1979, Maurice Bishop, an articulate middle class lawyer, became the new political “king”.
But to many political observers, the power behind Bishop’s throne was Bernard Coard, a political scientist with a reputation for espousing the hard leftist line.
Coard was born on August 10, 1944. His interest in politics led him to pursue studies in political science and economics at Brandeis University, Massachusetts, United States, where he gained his Bachelor’s degree in 1966.
A year later he gained his Master’s in comparative political economy at Sussex University in Britain where he later worked as a youth and community development officer for one year and taught for two years at a school for educationally sub-normal children.
In 1971 and 1972 he did research in Latin America for a doctorate in political economy, following which he lectured until 1974 at the department of international relations of the St. Augustine Campus (Trinidad) of the University of the West Indies.
From 1974 to 1976 he lectured at the department of of management studies and government at the UWI’s Mona Campus in Jamaica, returning to Grenada to successfully contest a seat in the has General elections as an NJM member.
Bernard Coard is married to Jamaican, Phyllis Coard who is deputy minister in the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. The Coards have two children.
After the coup Coard was the first minister of the People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) to pay an official visit to the Soviet Union, with whom Grenada has since enjoyed warm relations. During the 1979 trip he signed a bilateral cooperation agreement between the two countries.
He has travelled to other Eastern European countries and recently visited Suriname, which is forging a similar revolution style government following a sergeants’ coup there in 1980.
Coard this year represented Grenada at a meeting in Yugoslavia of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). In fact as minister of finance he has spearheaded the country’s post-revolution economic planning.
Six months six months ago Coard presented a 1983 budget which he en- ge would produce a $5 million current account surplus.
Coard is proud of the performance of this country’s agriculture-based economy, which he said grew by 5.5 percent last year – despite the world economic downturn – and returned a $6.5 million current account surplus. (CANA)
Source: This article was first published by The Nation Publishing Co. Ltd. On October 18, 1983.