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GRENADA REMEMBERED: Bishop is dead


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GRENADA REMEMBERED: Bishop is dead

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Prime Minister Maurice Bishop of Grenada is dead.

In a broadcast monitored in Barbados last night, Radio Free Grenada announced coldly that Mr. Bishop, deposed as prime minister, had been killed.

The state-owned Radio Free Grenada also announced that five other people had been been killed by the Revolutionary Armed Forces yesterday. They are former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Unison Whiteman; former Minister of Education, Ms. Jacuelin Creft; former Minister of Housing, Mr. Norris Bain; president of the Bank and General Workers’ Union, Mr. Vincent Noel; and president of the Agricultural and General Workers’ Union, Mr. Fitzroy Bain.

Army commander, Hudson Austin, said in the radio broadcast last night that Mr. Bishop was among at least eight people killed when soldiers stormed army headquarters where the former prime minister had taken refuge after being freed from house arrest by a crowd of supporters

Commander Austin said several others had been injured.

Mr. Bishop, a 39-year-old articulate lawyer who with Mr. Unison Whiteman formed the New Jewel Movement INIM) that ran Grenade ever since the Sir Eric Gairy regime was deposed in a 1979 coup, had been under house arrest since Thursday, amid a thorny leadership struggle with his former deputy Mr. Bernard Coard.

The army commander declared:

“The Peoples Revolutionary Armed Forces as of 3 p.m. today (Wednesday) established a Revolutionary military council which will form the government of the country until normality is restored.

“Let it be clearly understood that the Revolutionary Armed Forces will govern with absolute strictness. Anyone who seeks to demonstrate or disturb the peace will be shot.

“An all-day and all-night curfew will be established for the next four days from now until next Monday at six o’clock. No one is to leave their house. Anyone violating this curfew will be shot on sight. All schools are closed and all work places except for the essential services….”

Mr. Austin said the army had been “instructed not to fire on the people” at any stage. But after Mr. Bishop was freed by the marchers, the crowd led by the prime minister seized the army headquarters, “disarmed the officers of the general staff as well as the rank and file soldiers … and began to arm themselves.”

“With Mr. Bishop having declared his intention to arrest and wipe out the entire NJM central committee, senior members of the party and the armed forces leadership, the army despatched a crack unit to “re-establish control of Fort Rupert,” Commander Austin said.

Mr. Bishop and his group fired on the soldiers killing two of them, Commander Austin said, and wounded several others.

The armed forces were then forced to storm the fort and in the process several people were killed, Commander Austin announced.

Source: This article was first published by The Nation Publishing Co. Ltd. On October 20, 1983.

How Bishop was executed

A JOURNALIST specialising in Caribbean affairs today quoted the wife of one of those who died in yesterday’s political violence in Grenada as saying that Prime Minister Maurice Bishop min and five supporters were executed after surrendering to the army.

David Jessop, Editor of the London magazine Caribbean Insight, said on television that the wife of union leader Fitzroy Bain gave him a “more or less eyewitness account” by a telephone from the Caribbean island of what had happened.

“She said they were in Fort Rupert (army headquarters named after Bishop’s father) and the building was then surrounded by soldiers loyal to the central committee,” Jessop said.

“They were all then asked to come out with their hands up. They did so and at that point the ministers were separated from the other people.

“The other people, including Mrs. Bain, were then sent outside and she has told me that it was at that point that the executions took place.”

A spokesman for the armed forces in Grenada said they had taken power and that “Bishop and his group had been shot after firing at soldiers”. (CANA-Reuter)

Source: This article was first published by The Nation Publishing Co. Ltd. On October 20, 1983.

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