Grenada marks 37th anniversary of Bishop’s death
St George’s – Grenada marked the 37th anniversary of the shooting death of its first ever left wing prime minister Maurice Bishop with a call for closure for the families of those who were killed at Fort George on that day.
The shooting of Bishop, who led the People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) and some cabinet ministers and supporters triggered off an American-led invasion of the island six days later.
Bishop had himself seized power in 1979, when his New Jewel Movement (NJM) overthrew then prime minister, Sir Eric Gairy, in the first coup in the English-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping.
Four years later, Bishop was put under house arrest by his Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard.
The executive member of the Maurice Bishop and October 19th 1983 Martyrs Foundation, Dr Terrence Marryshow, laments the fact that 37 years later, there’s still no closure for the families of those killed.
“There is still no closure, and particularly for the families and victims of October 19th 1983. There has been closure for the perpetrators, they have been freed, they are living their best lives,” said Marryshow.
“A lot of innocent Grenadians were gun down, some lost a limb, lost an eye and they continue to suffer. Up to this day, we are still no closer in term of getting what will lead to the recovery of the remains of Maurice Bishop and his cabinet colleagues who died on October 19th, 1983.
“We know what happened up to a point, the onus is now on the Americans to come forward and tell us what they have done with the remains,” said Marryshow, who is of the firm belief that identifying the missing remains of Bishop and his cabinet colleagues will not only bring closure for their families but the entire nation.
The Foundation will once again be holding its annual ecumenical service at Fort George in memory of those who died when soldiers of the People’s Revolutionary Army (PRA) opened fire on demonstrators who had just freed Bishop from house arrest.
Bishop, along with some of his cabinet ministers, including Norris Bain, the father of current Minister of Culture and Sports Yolande Bain-Horsford, and an unknown number of people died during that was termed a palace coup staged by Coard.
Coard was among 17 people who were convicted for the killings. They have since been released from prison after serving time following a re-sentencing in 2007 ordered by the London-based Privy Council, the island’s highest court at the time. Coard’s Jamaican-born wife, Phyllis, who was also jailed, died in her homeland last month.
Grenada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission had called for a retrial of the 17 people in prison for the country’s 1983 bloody coup.
The long-awaited report into the events by the South African-style Commission has been submitted to the Grenada Parliament but the events of 37 years ago continue to split Grenadian society. (CMC)