as being one region, coming out of one history and one
with one people. And therefore one of our firmest tenets has been that
extremely important whatever else we manage to do or not do that we
all times the best possible relations, tighten the links, tighten the
between the people of the Caribbean.
As you know, our colonial past made great attempts at
keep us divided. There were several different plans of fragmentation,
There was a period when the Windwards and the Leewards
example were not what they are today. There was a period when Tobago
part of Grenada, today, of course Tobago is part of the Unitary State
Trinidad and Tobago, so we have had that kind of experience.
We have also had a shared experience of slavery, we
have had a
shared experience of the struggles of our forefathers against slavery.
In our own country in the year 1795 Julien Fedon took
against the British slave masters and that insurrection in fact lasted
years and it is a large part of the historical legacy that our country
We have shared too in the post world war, one year in
workers struggled as the workers of the region tried to come into the
20th century by themselves beginning the
the rights of workers in this region.
A fight which today has borne many fruits but virtually
those fruits we have come to take for granted; the right to strike, the
to form and to join Trade Unions, the right to vacation with pay and so
Our region too has produced common patriots and common
Tubal Uriah “Buzz’ Butler, who is recognised today in Trinidad as a
hero happens of course to be a Grenadian and we regard him as a genuine
notably of Grenada soil, but of the soil of the Caribbean.
Our own son, T.A. Marryshow, one of the leading
the early 20th century, spent most of his life in the prophetic fight
united people of the Caribbean in his call for a Federation.
And in this struggle, of course he was joined by
different islands and territories in the region.
So my point in this introduction is to say that we are
inheritors of the same tradition, we have come from the same
have fought the same struggles, our people are one people and that is
that is extremely close to us.
We genuinely believe and genuinely hold out our own
Grenada as a Caribbean process. We see what we are trying to do here as
relevance to the future of the region, as having a Caribbean potential,
having Caribbean problems for which we will find Caribbean solutions,
are sure that the aspirations that we have are aspirations which are
the Caribbean masses at large.
Our Revolution, therefore, is a Caribbean
We have tried from the beginning in whatever small ways
we can to
see what could be done about making the region more accessible to the
the region and that because it is our very firm belief that that part
problem with Caribbean integration and CARICOM
itself has been precisely because it has now become an organ of
organ of multinational corporations and is increasingly losing its
importance to the ordinary masses of the Caribbean.
St. George’s Declaration which with St. Lucia and
signed in Grenada in the first months of the Revolution last year,
creating easier ways of travel for the people of these three islands.
We agreed for example to lift passport restrictions. We
make it easier for the people of our territories to be able to come to
other’s country so that they would have the opportunity of seeing at
what was going on there.
It must after all be one of the most ridiculous things
present period in our history, the history of the people of the
we allow tourists from North America and Europe to come into our
ID cards and driving licenses but our own people have to present
They very often have to find themselves subjected to
foolish questions and all sorts of bureaucratic obstacles are put into
of ensuring easy access.
This is not an argument at this stage in our history
having the right to go and spend one of two years in any particular
But is is certainly an argument that says that our
people do have
a right and are entitled to demand that in common with tourists coming
outside of the region, they too must be allowed easier access.
They too must have a right to cheaper travel, they too
saved the embarrassment and the humiliation of constant and difficult
by Customs officials.
We believe that this is a right that the people of the
have, and it is a right that certainly we in Grenada are willing to
I must tell you too that the Revolution in its outlook
just people–oriented at the Caribbean level. It is also state–oriented,
to say for reasons of history, for reasons of trade, for reasons of
reasons of blood ties, we believe that it is important that at a
different states in the region maintain normal state–to–state relations.
I put it that way because that is a minimum position.
preference, of course, will be if these relations could be much better
merely minimum and normal state relations.
We will obviously argue for a relationship that are
genuine friendship, in genuine cooperation, but relations nonetheless
stand by fundamental principles that guide all the states in the
their international relations.
That is to say respect for the fundamental principles
sovereignty, non–interference in each other’s affairs, full legal
ideological diversity and pluralism.
All of these principles are of course fundamental
is no way at this particular period of our history that it would be
to expect that different governments are necessarily going to have the
approach to the question of dealing with their problems, to the
question of the
participation of their people in the running of their government and
country, to the question of the ideals and aspirations which are
struggled for. We would be very naive to expect that.
But nonetheless it is a dream that I think that all of
have, it is a dream that our forefathers cherished, it is a dream that
Grenada certainly continue to dream.
And that is one of the reasons of course in the area of
we have been continuously calling for a Heads of Government Conference,
a Heads of Government Conference in CARICOM is the highest authority in
And it alone can make decisions that will determine for
future what will happen to all of the fundamental questions that
deals with in relation to the lives of the people in the Caribbean.
That is a call therefore that certainly we fell is
I am afraid that we are not at all impressed by the one or two leaders
region who have their own reasons for saying there should be no Heads
Government Conference at this time.
We also believe that it is possible and we should
struggle for different countries in the region coming under the CARICOM
umbrella to try to always achieve a common stand on fundamental matters
international concern whether those matters be the question of the
the people of Palestine - whether it centres around the question of
independence with full territory for Belize, a sister Caribbean country
whether it centres around the question of opposing attempts by the
States to being military manoeuvres into our region and therefore
whether it is
an attempt by the governments of the region to get the region declared
and concretely as a zone of peace.
Whatever the particular reason we feel that it is a
we must continue to engage in.
But thirdly, I must tell you that in Grenada our vision
goes beyond the English–speaking Caribbean.
Traditionally, because of the policies of the different
colonialists who have come to our region, attempts have always been
made to get
us to feel that other people in the region coming from French, Dutch
Spanish–speaking territories are different to us.
There have always been these attempts to artificially
region into different languages and as a result of these linguistic
to try to impose artificial cultural, historical and geographical
that do not in fact exist.
We feel that it is fundamentally important that we move
to destroy those artificial, colonial divisions and therefore a large
our task in this region, and the responsibility will centre mainly on
we in the
English–speaking Caribbean because we have been the first to get
because we have been the first to stand up and declare openly that we
in independence and are against colonialism in our region.
And because we have taken the first steps, today the
responsibility must continue to be primarily ours, the people of the
English–speaking Caribbean, to break down those ties, artificial
have separated us.
There is no reason why our sisters and brothers in
Guadeloupe and Cayenne who speak French, our sisters and [brothers] in
in Curacao, in St. Saba and St. Eustacius who speak Dutch, sisters and
in Cuba, Puerto Rico, who speak Spanish, or in the U.S. Virgin Islands
suppose speak American, there really is no reason at all why there
any differences between us.
And we feel very strongly therefore that another area
for us in the English–speaking Caribbean is the struggle to break down
That is one of the most important reasons for close
relations between our country and the sister people of Cuba because we
the Cubans as being a Caribbean country, as having a Caribbean country,
being largely a Caribbean people.
We believe that we have a right to develop relations
people in the region.
We believe that the Cubans have maintained in their own
principled and internationalist position, we believe too that as part
process of ensuring ideological diversity and respect for sovereignty
respect for the principles of non–alignment and the right of all
choose their own friends without intimidation or direction by anyone
We believe it is important for us to have these
Indeed, our vision in Grenada is a Continental vision because when you
strip it right down we are part of the Americas and if we believe that
cannot physically pick up our respective little islands and more them
part of Africa or Asia then it necessarily follows that it is right
this region that we are going to have to stand and build our countries;
are going to have to stand and see what we have and make the best of
have and if we are serious about that, one of the things too that is
upon from us is to have a very close look at the question of our
our giant neighbour to the North - the United States, because our
certainly is that any country in the world today - in the 1980’s - that
has designs, that still has backyardish options, that still has
tendencies, that still had divisionist tendencies, that still believes
tell other people what they must do and how they must do it and then
do it and who their friends must be and their enemies must be, we
certainly that the time has come for us to state firmly as a people and
region that we are not going to accept those instructions any more,
is after all 160 years old, 1823, and it was, as you know the Monroe
that had laid the basis for the invasions of Latin America.
It was the Monroe Doctrine that resulted in several
being planted in our region.
It was the Monroe Doctrine that today still gives
the right to believe that they can tell others what they must do but
these things, in our view, are not compatible with genuine sovereignty
And therefore it is extremely important that we in fact
very close and hard look at the question of existing relations and what
I notice that only recently, for example, that Dr.
Trinidad came out with a very strong statement opposing the IMF’s
Seaga in Jamaica, arguing correctly that that appeared to be one
influence the result of the Jamaican election.
And we certainly were very happy to see that stand
everybody knows there are, of course, areas of very serious differences
Dr. Williams and ourselves.
We understand that he has said he doesn’t even open our
not that perhaps that is very important, but the fact of the matter is
when he makes a stand like this on a question of such fundamental
concern it is
something that we regard as being extremely important.
With the United States we would like to have normal
state–to–state relations because we believe that we should have normal
state–to–state relations with all countries in the world except for
like South Africa and the most blatantly and brutal repressive fascist
So we see this as being important, for on thing there
thousands of Grenadians living in the United States.
In fact if Grenada has a population of 110,000, there
400,000 living outside of Grenada and many of them are in the United
More than that, several thousand tourists form America
our country every year.
Last year stay over tourist there was something like
Americans here, and in terms of cruise ships there was something like
who came to see Grenada.
So we have absolutely no reason to want bad relations
and in fact
contrary to what is being urged in the press, the truth and the reality
we have made several attempts at normalizing relations and at
firmly and as sincerely as we can that we want only the best of
In the first few hours and days, for example, after
March 13th last
year we invited the American Ambassador down, we gave the usual
regard to American citizens living in Grenada.
In the weeks following that, we made further attempts
relations by asking our Ambassador to the United States to go to the
Department and to hold concrete discussions about the form that these
can concretely take.
We invited down Ambassador Shelton on several occasions
concrete discussion on these questions.
But I am afraid, and the truth is, that the response of
establishment America has always been to resist whatever attempts we
at normalizing relations.
In the first few days - it turns now printed in the Washington Post in May last year
and the national security met and considered for several hours the
of imposing a naval blockade against our country. Fortunately that did
We also discovered from a survey we had done in May
1979, that is
to say , one month after the Revolution, that of twenty–five 
agencies approached in the Washington Maryland area of America,
of them advised the particular persons who were ringing they they
come to Grenada because it was unsafe.
Nineteen of twenty–five travel agencies! And seventeen
nineteen said that they were so advised by the State Department.
In other words they did not waste any time in beginning
process of destabilisation against us.
We recall too, and I am sure you remember yourselves
then Ambassador Ortiz when he came to Grenada at the end of April was
enough to tell us that we could not have relations with Cuba; and was
enough when we raised the question of cooperation and assistance to
that he had a few $5,000.00 in his control mission–administered funds
Barbados and perhaps he could send down a $5,000 or $2,000.
Well I need hardly say at
$5,000.00 these days can’t even build a good back pit latrine so
obviously that suggestion was unceremoniously rejected.
But if you look to more recent times you will discover
from the beginning too we said to the Americans “You are harboring a
man who is
wanted for murder in out country, a man who we regard as our Somoza or
depending on how you want to see it and we would like to have this man
We have normal treaty arrangements with you; we are
willing to do
whatever it is that has to be done legally and the procedures were
our Attorney General with their Ministry of Justice.
And in fact after all the documents went off by August
the response came from the Ministry of Justice that all the documents
order and that they were about to process the papers finally but yet
to three months they contacted us back to say that an error was made,
documents were not in fact in order and we are still waiting on them to
out what exactly is wrong with those documents.
Meanwhile, Gairy is on American television and radio
he wants to come back, we in Grenada are down here saying that we want
come back, American is up there saying that they don’t want him, so all
appear to agree but yet he is in America. Obviously, something has to
But sisters and brothers there have been just three
that I think will give you the best possible indication of what I mean
say that “we want the best relations”
and the problem really is on he other side.
Let me quickly tell you about these three things.
One is that our Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of
Bernard Coard, who I believe is going to be talking to you tomorrow,
to Washington in the last few weeks to attend the World Bank IMF
meeting and in
the usual way he made a request from Ministry of External Affairs,
for security cover for Bro. Coard.
That’s because we have reason to believe that there
security threats or problems and therefore we made this request in the
way, on every other occasion in the past when we made that similar
year, it was granted.
This year our Ambassador spent something like two weeks
make an impact and in fact the request was never granted.
From Grenada we sent off several telexes, we spoke with
the Barbados Embassy, we also spoke with people directly in the State
Department, but on each occasion no response came back, or very trivial
responses came back.
In fact, finally after Bro. Coard was in Washington
having been provided any security, a response came back that in essence
that security is not normally provided for people below the rank of
State of Heads of Government, something that is patently untrue.
And not well that at this very time when Bernard Coard
Washington with security being refused for him, Gairy is in New York
to hold a public meeting.
The masses of Grenadians and people from the Caribbean
from America itself go there to make sure that he does not hold the
organizing a demonstration and the Americans provide twelve carloads of
policemen to protect him - the same man that they don’t want in their
The second incident I want to mention very briefly
question of our representation in America.
The first Ambassador to the United States after the
was Kendrick Radix, whose substantive appointment was Minister of Legal
and Attorney General, so when he was recalled home we had to appoint
else to take over as Ambassador to the United States.
And the person chosen was a young sister - late
twenties - Dessima
Williams - who had been our permanent representative to the OAS in
for the entire period of 18 months.
And last February we wrote off to State Department
asking for her
accreditation as Ambassador to the United States - for several months
refused to reply and finally they have said that she is too young and
Now when Sally Shelton came out here last year and we
appoint her it never occurred to us to say that Shelton was too young
inexperienced - something of course we could have said.
They also went on to say that Dessima Williams had been
too frankly in the United States and in the OAS at different forums on
different struggles going on - meaning by that Nicaragua, Puerto Rico,
now El Salvador and what not.
In other words they would presumably want us to appoint
to reflect their interest and their views and not the view of our own
government and people.
Obviously that’s not a position we can accept, and I
can tell you
this particular struggle is still going on.
And the third one I want to mention to you very quickly
to the fact that following hurricane “Allen” which devastated St.
St. Lucia and once again went through Dominica and although it was only
tailwind of “Allen” that reached Grenada that was sufficient to do
damage to our agricultural economy.
We lost in fact 19% of our production in cocoa, 27% in
and 40% in bananas as a result of the tailwind of hurricane “Allen”
So naturally the four islands, Dominica, St. Vincent,
Grenada was part of the Windward Island Banana Association - WINBAN
as it is called met to discuss the question of hurricane habilitation.
And in the usual way we had discussions with different
international agencies and aid donors, and one of these was the USAID
and finally it was announced two weeks ago that USAID had made a grant
WINBAN (Windward Islands Banana Association) of which Grenada is one of
members, but the grant was for Dominica, St. Vincent and St. Lucia only.
Grenada was excluded.
Now if you want something more blatant than that, I
would like to
know what it is.
To the credit of our neighbours, Dominica, St. Lucia,
Vincent, they have all come out and through the Chairman of WINBAN have
very firm statement denouncing this attempt at divide and rule,
clear attack on the Grenada Revolution, and asking the Americans to
That is a very principled thing for our sisters and
St. Vincent, Dominica and St. Lucia to do and I want it to go on the
that we in Grenada will certainly remember this act of solidarity
our sister nations.
So sisters and brothers that essentially is our
position on one
or two of these questions which I wanted to let you know about because
that you would have been hearing several different things concerning
question of relations between our own country and other countries in
Caribbean, and of course between ourselves and the United States.
I want to tell you, attempting to wind up, that the
came with very definite objectives in view having regard to the fact
hurricane Gairy had swept us for twenty-nine  years. And Hurricane
let me tell you was a lot worse than hurricane “Allen”.
We inherited what could only be described as a ravaged
as a country that was being pushed more and more into the realm of
Gairy, am I am sure you will recall, was a mystic who
direct telephone line to God and therefore he had no reason for
Fortunately or unfortunately none of us in Government
this facility, and therefore we are obliged to plan but we really have
start from scratch.
In the last Budget of the Gairy dictatorship in 1978,
put down in their vote in the Ministry of Finance for an economist,
put down the sum of $5.00 and when we raised this in Parliament, George
Gairy’s Minister of Finance said “well you
put down $5.00 really a token provision, you never know you might find
So that was the kind of attitude and approach to the
Statistics and such like, of course, non–existent - a
service that naturally became demoralized as a result.
A Treasury in which we found something like $47.00,
hardly buy a good pair of shoes these days and that was the base from
had to start.
Naturally, we therefore were forced to identify our
a very concrete way.
One, the question of finding more jobs for our people
unemployment because that is a very serious problem.
We inherited a situation of 50% unemployment
nationally, and of
75% unemployment among women, whom top of being discriminated against
employment, also had to be subjected to the sexual pleasures of those
appointed them when they occasionally did.
We also set ourselves the objective of lessening the
our people - of bringing them some more social benefits - in health, in
education and elsewhere.
We set ourselves the task of re–building the national
because obviously the major stage we are in right now is a period of
reconstruction - the infrastructure in terms of roads, in terms of
water and such like had been totally destroyed and therefore it also
part of this process that we had to immediately move n the areas of
could be done to repair the infrastructure, and in some cases to
And we also set ourselves the task of developing a new
to the question of democracy in terms of people’s participation,
involvement and people’s right to run their own affairs, particularly
What we discovered rapidly was that even in a situation
money was scarce, and money is of course very scarce, the recurrent
this country is just $61 Million our money which is nothing.
The Capital budget is just another $58 million so money
scarce, money was scarce but we discovered very rapidly that if you put
trust in the people, if you tell them honestly what the problems in the
are, if you state openly and sincerely what your objectives are, and if
on the people to be involved in that process, it is possible to get the
to rally behind you. It is possible to get that kind of work going.
In the area of health care, for example, because both
and education it is our very very firm belief that any Government that
serious and honest and committed, can in fact get a large number of
going even in the absence of a large capital recurrent budget. That is
We have been able to double the number of doctors who
able to bring free medical attention to our people.
When the Revolution came, there was one Dental Clinic
in Grenada in the capital of St. George’s, there are now seven Dental
operating in each parish of our country.
At the time when the Revolution came, you had to pay
when you were attended to in public institutions, in the hospitals, in
health centres, in the visiting stations and medical centres and what
doctors had a right to demand for prescriptions, for medical leave
certificates, sick leave certificates for medical attention, for
As of the 1st of October, two weeks ago we now have
moved to the
stage where we have reached an agreement with the doctors of our
as from now no one will ever have to pay for any medical attention
they are attended to in a public institution and that of course is
make a very fundamental difference.
In the area of education - the last year of Gairy 1978
were three Grenadians who were able to get University scholarships to
abroad, one of them of course being one of Gairy’s daughters.
In the first six months of the Revolution, in September
109 Grenadian students left our country to go abroad on free University
scholarships; a percentage increase you will note of 3,500%.
We have also been able to substantially increase the
scholarships for children of the primary level when they pass the
entrance in order to get into secondary schools.
School fees which before the Revolution were $37.50 a
term have been
reduced down to $12.50 a term, $25.00 off, and we are hoping that as of
year secondary education in our country will be completely free.
We have also been able to have build a new secondary
school - the
Bernadette Bailey Secondary School which was opened in fact two weeks
ago and I
must point out that after 350 years of British colonialism they had
only one secondary school, the Grenada Boys’ Secondary School, the
were all built by the churches.
So what this new secondary school represents is only
secondary school after 400 years to have been built by any Government,
naturally that is something we are very proud of.
Recognising the importance of providing training skills
people, we have opened a number of new training centres.
There is now a fishermen training school, the
training Centre at Mirabeau in St. Andrew’s has been reopened, we have
hotels training school, we have started an in–service training course
public servants, we have started an in–service training course for
the country, we have opened an agro–industrial school, we have opened a
for the militia in our country.
In other words, in several different areas there is now
greater concentration on the need to train our people, the need to
with basic literacy and numerous skills and thereafter to provide them
further forms of training that will ensure that our country at last can
into the twentieth century, note I haven’t said the twenty-first
In the area of democratization what we feel has been
over these past eighteen months is an attempt at getting our people to
involved in the process of helping to build the country through the
grassroots democratic organizations that the people can relate to and
For example, there are different organizations which
have come up
now like the community work brigades and these community work brigades
on Sunday mornings and the people in different villages around the
those morning give voluntary–voluntary labour.
They get involved in things like cutting overhangings,
drains, repairing community centres, repairing schools and what not.
The basic approach is that the Government provides the
through a social projects unit we have established in the Ministry of
Communications and Works, and the people provide the labour voluntarily.
Now before November last year when the rains began to
heavily there were some week–ends when 85% of the villages in Grenada
involved in voluntary community work.
The fact [is] that we have been able to motivate the
join with the Government in helping to re–build our own country.
I don’t know what the experience in our own particular
might be, but certainly it is within our knowledge that under the
Gairyism it was not possible for Gairy to have motivated people on any
to come out and do voluntary work except of course by a few paid party
who would be moved around to different villages.
But in terms of the voluntary involvement of the masses
people in helping to rebuild their country that is something that has
entirely new and has come only as a result of the Revolution.
Likewise we have established something we have called
community education councils and what these councils have been doing is
they have been ensuring the maintenance and the repair of the schools
particular villages and they are increasingly now getting involved in
monitoring of the quality of education that their children receive.
In January this year for example the schools were
closed down for
some two weeks so that all the primary school teachers could have been
together for a series of seminars and during those two weeks in January
sixty–six  primary schools were repaired voluntarily by these
education councils with the support of the people in different
saving the taxpayers of our country well over a million and a half
that again was something that is of course extremely important.
The Centre for Popular Education programme is another
attempt as we see it at democratisation because what this programme