Mr. President of the Executive Board,
Mr. President of the General Conference,
Distinguished Members of the Executive
Ladies and Gentlemen.
First of all, Mr. President, let me tell
you what a signal honour
it is for me to be given this opportunity to address you in the name of
People’s Revolutionary Government of Grenada and in the name of the
The fact that I am here today also as the
first Caribbean Prime
Minister to pay an official visit to UNESCO will tell you something of
importance which we in Grenada and indeed we the people of the
Latin America attach to the work of UNESCO under the inspired zeal and
direction of our dear friend and eminent Director-General Amadou-Mahtar
It is only two months ago – in July – that
my colleagues and I
had the opportunity to welcome Mr. M’Bow to Grenada where we were able
at first hand some of the critical initiatives taken by UNESCO in
areas such as literacy, culture, education, communications, science and
All of these initiatives, of course, have
tremendous positive implications
for us in Grenada, the Caribbean and Latin America.
Mr. M’Bow’s historic visit will long be
remembered by all of us
THE MAIN QUESTION IS PEACE
Mr. President, we meet at a very dangerous
period in the history
of mankind, a time when the very survival of civilisation is
thousands of years of human progress and development can be destroyed
minutes if nuclear holocaust triumphs over human rationality.
For us, as it is for UNESCO, the
preservation of peace in our
world is the question of overriding importance, the
agenda item, the indisputable imperative.
UNESCO, like all sane and rational forces
in the world,
recognises that there can be no educational, social, cultural or
independence and development in an atmosphere of tension, conflict and
We applaud your courageous and principled
opposition to policies
of military aggression.
Unhesitatingly, we support your
Director-General’s recent appeal
to all Governments of UNESCO member states as well as to all
organisations to protect the cultural landmarks of besieged Lebanon.
In our region, Grenada has pioneered the
growing movement calling
for the Caribbean to be declared, in practice, a zone of peace,
and development and we have strongly supported various genuine peace
initiatives advanced through the United Nations and the Non-Aligned
In the world, UNESCO has pioneered the
struggle for a New
International Information Order and for an end to war propaganda and
the use of
the mass media to promote chauvinism, racism, tensions and conflicts
direct world public opinion along these dangerous and negative paths.
Mr. President, we submit that many of the
that afflict most of the world’s population – hunger, lack of culture,
of jobs, housing and proper health care, to name some – can be eased
if only a portion of the massive resources allotted to the arms race
military expenditures were destined instead for the well-being and
the world’s poor and disadvantaged.
Military expenditures absorb high-quality
material and human
resources from civilian industry, thus retarding its development and
restraining the growth of socially useful labour productivity.
Likewise, military expenditures reduce
especially in the area of social services and scientific research aimed
improving social services.
This emphasis on militarization also
effectively means that
tomorrow is in the hands of those who use science not for the
futuristic blueprints that enshrine the sanctity of human life but of
seek to negate man himself by creating for him the power of
Contemplate for a moment that the cost of
one modern tank could
pay for the construction of 1000 classrooms for 30,000 children in
Or take the price of a
Trident nuclear submarine which
equals the cost of keeping 16 million children from
countries in school for a year plus the cost of
constructing 400 large
living complexes, housing 2 million persons.
For this reason, among others, UNESCO, the
U.N. and all
peace-loving organisations and peoples of the world can always count on
fullest support of Grenada in the struggle for a guaranteed and stable
THE GRENADA REVOLUTION
Mr. President, three and a half years ago
when our people took
freedom into their hands they inherited a dismal economic and social
left by the Gairy dictatorship, under-developed and even primitive
forces, technological backwardness, rampant corruption, a colonial
system, and a callous disregard for science and culture.
What we took over on March 13, 1979 was a
country with no
adequate infrastructure, with 40% unemployment generally and 70% among
women, with inflation running at over 30%, with large tracts of
fertile land, our major exploitable natural resource.
When the Grenada Revolution ended tyranny
once and for all in our
homeland it freed a brutalised, divided, demoralised people whose human
has been thorough violated and whose collective cultural levels had
abysmally low by a tyrannical regime which valued mysticism over
planning, superstition and ignorance over enlightenment and knowledge.
The sovereign will of our people expresses
in the popular
Revolution of March 13, 1979 has therefore brought into focus a new
The Declaration of the Revolution
while asserting the people’s right to a full life established
freedom of expression and artistic creation.
The progressive transformation of our
political culture has
created new conditions for broader participation and equal access in
creation and enjoyment of the products of culture.
Legislative measure, for example, have
guaranteed the equality of
woman in all area of national life, the rights of workers in economic
management and union representation and popular ownership of the press
means of mass education and an avenue for creative expression and
In the seminal challenge of national
construction, we have set
ourselves as a major priority the strengthening and expanding of our
and to this end we have achieved modest success.
Although out economy is still dependently
ties to the
crisis-filled industrialised metropolitan countries it has been able to
register a 9% cumulative growth rate over 3 years, reduce unemployment
present levels of 22%, hold inflation at under 1%, increase capital
from 8 – 109 (sic) million dollars in three years and begin improving
expanding such basic infrastructure as air and sea ports, roads,
telephones and water distribution.
More and more, science and technology are
being applied to
agriculture and agro-industry.
Skills training programmes designed to
raise labour productivity
are in place.
Vital social services such as health and
dental care and
secondary education have been made free of charge to our people while
subsidies for the poor have eased substantially the costs of building,
1982 has been declared by our Government
as the “Year of Economic
Construction” and hence this has been the main focus of our national
But for us development is not and cannot
be merely an economic
It must also be cultural, educational and
scientific and must
assist in the social advancement of our people.
Mr. President, in this sense, our
Revolution is the creative and
historical action of our people, re-ordering our environment and is the
refashioning our own being and identity.
Measures such as the Centre for Population
campaign, the establishment of free secondary education, the
multi-purpose community centres, the creation of a National Council of
and Technology, our total support for and encouragement to the cultural
development and expression of our people, together with the legislative
measured cited before and with the active participation and involvement
people through their mass organisations and organs of popular
to guarantee the right of all Grenadians to culture and the growth of
political, social and economic democracy.
The result has been an upsurge in creative
Today, the people are making poetry of
their lives and
Our youth and women are making
contributions to the development
of new cultural forms.
There has been a significant increase in
reading and publishing,
and a veritable explosion of popular democracy by the people through
monthly participation in parish and zonal councils, worker and farmer
and youth and women councils where every conceivable subject from the
bananas to basketball is discussed and examined.
Indeed, the essential principles guiding
our cultural development
revolve around culture as another discussion – a critical discussion –
democracy, as a human right to be exercised by all, as an expression of
national identity and sovereignty.
THE 5 PILLARS OF OUR EDUCATION
In the area of education, our perspectives
are based on 5 main
(1) Continuous Education:
In attempting to
bring about this, we have:
the National In-Service Teacher
Education Programme – NISTEP – aimed at providing professional
training to all unqualified primary school teachers;
the teacher-pupil ratio from 1:51 to
a programme of worker education at the
workplace for all workers in the public sector and increasingly for
the private sector;
a number of skills training
institutes and programmes for workers in agriculture, fisheries,
the public service;
a massive literacy campaign
through our Centre for Popular Education – C.P.E. – as a result of
illiteracy is now down to less than 3% of our population.
(2) Education for All:
In phase 2 of the
C.P.E. programme, we hope over the next few years to bring some
our people into adult education courses in English, Mathematics and
have also greatly expanded our pre-primary
(for 3 to 5 year-old children) and day nursery facilities;
science and mathematics compulsory for
a number of new agricultural training
centres and generally expanding the technical and vocational capacity
(3) Integration of school and
This integration is being achieved through
the formation of
Community Education Councils (CEC’s) which have responsibility for
curriculum, assistance and general supervision of the schools and for
students for their eventual involvement in society.
As an example of their potential, I can
point to the fact that in
January 1980 the CEC’s repaired 66 primary schools over a two week
all the primary school teachers in our country were involved in a
This resulted in a material saving of just
under $2 million.
This integration is also being achieved
through our Community
School Day Programme (CSDP).
Through this programme, people from the
communities in which
schools are located go into the schools one day a week when the
teachers are attending their NISTEP classes to teach the children
skills such as sewing, handicrafts, carpentry, and gardening, or to
on educational sigh-seeing tours to places of interest in our country.
THE CRITICAL ROLE OF UNESCO
Mr. President, we have taken not of the
Fact that ever since
UNESCO made clear its support for a New International Information Order
been the target of vicious attacks by the monopolists and the
barons who control the present flow of world information.
But the call for a New Informational
Information Order, brought
to world attention mainly through UNESCO initiatives, such as the
MacBride report, [known also as Many
Voices, One World],
has now solidly become an agenda item of the great international
Your organization can count on Grenada’s
fullest support in your
pioneering and courageous attempts to make this call a living reality.
In the fields of science and technology,
UNESCO has played a
vital role in asserting the development imperative of expanding and
democratizing these areas.
Your efforts to establish various funding
mechanisms such as the
International Fund for Science and Technology, whose objectives are to
facilitate the more rational and just transfer of resources to
countries, have been noteworthy and historic.
The struggle to democratise science and
inextricably ties to the struggles for new international economic and
From this platform, therefore, we want to
urge the developed,
industrialised countries that have not yet done so to make substantial
contributions to these critical mechanisms.
In conclusion, Mr. President, our
Government and people
appreciate UNESCO’s past assistance to our educational pristine project
our participation in Carifesta, the region’s major cultural event.
These UNESCO initiatives have opened up
new vistas, new
possibilities, new demands from our people, all of which can only be
through further and expanded assistance to our region.
We look forward to further co-operation
between ourselves in
Grenada and in the region with UNESCO.
We recognise and applaud your
organisation’s sensitive response
to the needs of our America by the establishment of the Major Project
You can be assured of Grenada’s
unqualified support for this
project because the objectives of the major project are in concert with
Revolution’s goals of educational opportunity, improvement in the
education and democratisation of education.
We wish to suggest adoption of the concept
of major projects in
other pressing areas of human need that fall within UNESCO’s frame of
since such mechanisms can assist greatly in promoting international
understanding, co-operation, social progress and peace.
Indeed, Mr. President, Mr.
members of the Board, mankind needs several such major projects to
the timetable of progress is advanced and that we enter the 21st
century with the door behind us closed to poverty, illiteracy and
Thank you very much.