The Grenada Revolution Online

Bishop Speech - Feature Address by Prime Minister Maurice Bishop
at the Official Launching of the
Media Workers Association of Free Grenada
(11 July 1981)


The speech below was typed from the original issued by the Government Information Service/Prime Minister's Office with its official stamp. Noticeable misspellings or errors are marked with (sic) which means 'as given.' The applause comments in parenthetical marks are unclear. Do they report on what happened when the speech was given, or do they itemize notes in the text for the speaker to expect a response? There is no way to tell as the speech is dated for the date of its delivery.


Comrade chairman, Comrades of the political Bureau of the Party, distinguished Comrades from overseas, Comrades of the executive of the Media Workers Association of Free Grenada, members of the Media Workers Association, Comrades, Sisters and Brothers all.

Comrades today I want on behalf of our party and our government to salute this formal launching, it is a very important, very ceremonial but also very significant occasion when we see the launching of the Media Workers Association of Free Grenada.

There are a number of reasons why our party and government welcome today with such enthusiasm the formation of this new organisation. Firstly, of course, there is a fact that organisation in itself is always important and whenever a group of workers get together to organise themselves that must be a significant development for our country. That is doubly so in a situation where workers are working in an organisation as important as the media. When workers of such numbers because now today there must be a few hundred such workers in our country; when workers engaged in such an important area of activity choose to get themselves together, choose to deepen their unity, choose to make sure that their effectiveness will improve as a result of organisation, that is an extremely important step forward.

But there are also other factors. There is of course the very critical question of the particularly dangerous period in which our revolution and our country finds itself. The danger of this period is reflected not just internally but on the regional and on the international levels. The evidence of this is overwhelming. But in so far as the media is concerned the most critical area of proof is centred around the concocted systematic, and negative propaganda campaign which we have seen waged against the revolution over these past few months.

LOCAL PROPAGANDA CAMPAIGN - GANG OF 26

On the local front, we have seen the elements in the gang of 26 come forward and call themselves the 'voices of our people', come forward and pretend to those who they believe they can reach and confuse, that they can speak on behalf of our free fighting people, we have seen the evidence therefore, in those who have come forward with this Grenadian Voice, representing not themselves at all, but representing the CIA in their plot to overthrow the revolution, and set our process back. We have seen too comrades, that right after the "Grenadian Voice" was closed down another such paper was put out by similar elements with exactly the same counter-revolutionary intent and being once again promoted, inspired and encouraged and backed, by the CIA. We have seen within seconds of the demise of the first CIA plan. The other paper came out, this time called '[The] Grenadian', and on this occasion, 'The Grenadian' as they choose to call it and the 'patriotic alliance' as they choose to disguise their CIA front is put out by no less than those CIA counter-revolutionaries and conspirators to murder - Cyrus and Herry. These two elements using the soil of a friendly country are not trying to infiltrate our country with a new brand of counter-revolutionary rubbish.

But this is not all on the local front. On a daily basis our people also have to put up with the fact that every single day reports leave our country, being sent out by those who represent the CANA, the UPI, the AP, and AFP [Agence France Presse], people who have long since abandoned all regards for truth and facts; people who now see their roles and their jobs as being to pervade (sic) lies, inaccuracies and distortions on a daily basis, with the intention of trying to smear the image of our free and fighting people and the revolutionary process that we are building. That in fact represents the local situation.

REGIONAL PROPAGANDA

But on the regional front we also know that we have to contend with those who pretend to be speaking with many voices but in fact all represent the same minority interest ruling class. Those like Ken Gordon of the Express - the same Ken Gordon who in addition to owning the Express also has shares in the Nation; is also involved in the Sun; is also in the Inter-American Press Association, is also linked with the Caribbean Press Council. In other words the same people who pretend to be putting out so many different papers; who pretend to be speaking on so many different radio stations, in reality they all are a very small, tiny minority that could be counted on the fingers of one hand.

We see that not only with the Trinidad Express, but we also see it with the Trinidad Guardian. These two newspapers on a regular basis choose to continue their assault on the process that is being built in our country. And next door we also find the Jamaica Gleaner that played such a leading role in helping to detabilise the progressive Michael Manley administration in Jamaica. That Gleaner newspaper, the representative of the ruling circles of the Caribbean, which is part of the plot linked to imperialism to try to control the ideas of the people of our region. We find that the Gleaner and Oliver Clarke are knee deep in the same conspiracy, to overthrow our popular revolution.

Comrades we have to be clear on the meaning of this. We have to see that the elements that are operating locally and who are linked with these regional forces, are in turn linked to a wider international force - a force much more powerful than themselves, a force that they do not even understand; a force that will be quite happy to consume them in its move towards trying to reverse the popular revolution in our country.

THE CIA REPRESENTS THE TRUE DANGER

We have to see that on the international front the CIA represents the true danger. We have to see on the international front when Time and Newsweek carry articles attack our process, attacking the Cuban revolutionary process and the Nicaraguan revolutionary process, that too is part of the overall plan to try to label all those who are opposed to their imperialist ways, as enemies of democracy. They try to label all those who are willing to stand up and fight to defend the right of their own countries, and to build their own resources, as being international terrorists. That is all part of the wider plan and conspiracy that these people are involved in.

But we also note, that just as we allow these people to continue to have full access to our country; just as we allow these representatives on a daily basis to send their news out; just like everyday we allow the Express, the Advocate, and the Guardian and the Time and the Newsweek to come into our country, when our voice, and our own national newspaper the Free West Indian try to get into their country, they try every possible way to block it. They then turn around and they bawl freedom and freedom of the press, and freedom of expression. They not only block the Free West Indian, they also block the national newspaper of the people of Cuba, as happened this week in the United States. We have to see therefore the direct relationship between what they call freedom and what we know and identify as freedom. When the CBS television team came down to our country from the United States they pretended that they were coming to film our international airport. But instead they came on a plan of destabilisation hatched even before they left. For one week, they carried night after night, vicious programmes aimed at destabilizing our revolution. When comrade Kenrick Radix leaves our country and travels to New York in order to reply on what they call, equal time - the right of everybody who is attacked to have equal time; the equal time to reply to the lies and slander which appeared on the programme, Comrade Radix received for the hour that they spend attacking us, on 5 seconds. We have to understand this comrades, because on top of these difficulties, our country like all non-aligned struggling and developing third world countries, also face on a daily basis, the serious obstacle of exclusive imperialist control of almost all avenues of information we receive.

IMPERIALISM CONTROLS INFORMATION FLOW

There are a number of difficulties which we face on a daily basis in this regard. We find that the national information and communications system that we have is only slightly developed, or just beginning to develop. That is true of most of our country. We find secondly, that we have to depend almost completely on the imperialist trans-national information monopolies and communication companies which operate on a large scale and control the flow of information from developing countries to these other countries and among. We find that the contents of the information circulated by the western mass media in developing countries is one sided - they distort realities and they neglect our national interest.

If we consider some statistical data perhaps the point could be brought home more clearly. We have to observe that 70% of the earth's inhabitants do not have adequate information opportunities nor do they have the possibility of realising their rights to information because information never reaches us.

We have to observe that of the 25,510 radio stations only 6,670, or just about are located in the developing countries. We have to observe that 30 countries in the Third World have no national television systems whatsoever, and 32 countries have no national news agency.

Comrades, many other areas of weakness can be identified. the lack of trained personnel, the deficiencies in technical equipment, the incapacity to produce local and indigenous programmes, the lack of educational and research facilities - all of these factors add up in such a way as to militate (sic) the progressive developments of the media in countries like ours.

This poor state of national information systems has negative impact on mobilising our masses to solve our developmental tasks. It gives the imperialist mass communication media more room to manoeuvre than otherwise they would have.

This trans-national information monopoly in developing countries manipulate hundreds of millions of people in Africa, in Asia, in Latin America and in the Caribbean. The United Press, the Associated Press, the Agence France Press, and Reuter (sic) between them monopolise the information flow to and from the developing countries. These different information agencies send out 33.9 million words everyday and they employ over 2,100 foreign correspondents in 304 offices in almost every country in the world. The 20 largest Latin American daily newspapers are completely controlled by these four agencies with 79% of all their news coming only from these sources.

Naturally, to this situation one of major struggle that countries like ours have to join in fighting is the struggle to establish a New International Information Order. We have to see this struggle for the New International Information Order as being very much linked up with the other struggle - the struggle or our New International economic Order which our country has been involved in fighting for over these past two years and months.

OUR MEDIA MUST BE MORE ORGANISED

Comrades, the response of our own country to this total information monopoly by the imperialist world has to be many sided. One important area of response is seen by what we are witnessing here today - the need for us on a national level in our national information and media systems to become more organised; to begin to develop more and more the possibility of joining together in amore unified and therefore effective way to try to counter this negative glow of information that we have to receive every single day. It is very, very important, as part of this struggle to begin to correct these historic problems, that we organise all of the patriotic and democratic forces working in the media around a new approach to this question of press freedom and press responsibility.

THE ROLE OF THE MEDIA - AND TASKS

Your association being formed today, is going to have the primary tasks of improving the professional, the educational, the political and the ideological level of all of your members. You are going to have the tasks of lifting the professional and the technical skill of your members in the shortest possible period. For this, you will certainly have to think of ways of providing incentives for those workers in the media who see media work as a career, and who are genuinely interested in serving the cause of true and responsible journalism. That is going to be one very, very important area of work that you are going to have to be involved in.

The role of the media in Grenada as indeed in other progressive third world developing countries must be to inform our people, to give them the facts, to educate our people, to help to raise their consciousness about what is happening in our country; about what is happening in the region; about what is happening in the world so that they are better able to understand the nature of the task which lies before us.

The role of the patriotic media must be to help in the tasks of mobilising and organising the people around the constructive programmes the revolution is putting forward - that also is an extremely important task that you are going to have to carry out.

Your role too as your constitution emphasises must be to put at the service of your people the skills which you have developed and which you will continue to develop, to serve the revolution, to serve our people and to help to build the process that our people want to see built over the next few weeks, months and years. This new press that we are talking about, this new media that we are talking about must be owned by the people, it must publish the views of the people, it must be there to reflect the realities and the aspirations of the people. This new media that we are talking about cannot as in the past be a media to distort, to tell lies, to peddle the views of a small exploitative minority but instead it must be an alive media that is there to print and to publish and to disseminate the views and the ideas of the opinion of the real people of our country;' of the vast majority of the people of our country. That is an extremely important role that this new media is going to have to play.

Comrades of the Media Workers Association I am sure that already you realise that the task that you have is not an easy task - it is a difficult task, and it is going to be even more difficult because on a daily basis what you are trying to communicate will be challenged by those who will continue to spread the old ideas, to disseminate the old values, to try to confuse and keep down the aspirations of our people. Your task therefore, is going to be doubly difficult because very day as you get your line across, everyday as you deal with the true realities; everyday as you interpret the facts you are going to be faced with the opposite views that are being brought into the country by the more than 20 radio stations which can beam into Grenada on a daily basis; and by the dozens of newspapers and magazines which come into our country on a daily basis spreading the lies of imperialism. That is going to make your task more difficult but it is also going to make your task equally challenging. It is going to mean that the responsibility that you can set for yourself will be of a very, very high and lofty kind, it is going to mean that the objectives that you can put down in your work plans are going to require a lot of hard work, a lot of sacrifice, a lot of commitment, a lot of dedication.

THE ROAD AHEAD IS NOT EASY

You are going to find that the road ahead is not going to be an easy road. You are certainly going to find that because everytime a copy of the Free West Indian comes out it is a permanent document, a document that our people can keep and look at for years to come, that you have an added responsibility to ensure that what goes into the newspaper is not only factual, is not only objective, but is also relevant to our people and our peoples needs; because every single week and over the ensuing years when you have been moved from a weekly to becoming a daily, every single day whatever is published in your Free West Indian is going to be looked at increasingly more and more with a critical eye by the people of our country. That not only holds true for those of you working in Free West Indian, but double and tribly (sic) so for those of you involved in Radio Free Grenada. Because it is not a question of what you say every week, it is not a question of what you say everyday, it is a question literally of what you say every minute, and every second. And every single second that something comes over Radio Free Grenada that is supposed to be reflecting the views of our people, whenever you fall into error, whenever you make any serious mistake there is not going to be a second opportunity to correct the mistake that you have made. Therefore the responsibility of working in Radio Free Grenada is a very, very serious responsibility that carries with it the responsibility of vigilance on a secondly basis, to be vigilant every single minute, to ensure that every single word that goes out on our radio can in fact do credit to our people and our revolution. That will require a very keen sense of responsibility, a very developed approach, a very serious approach to acquiring more skills if the comrades in that area of the media hope to move forward.

You in the Media Workers Association will have the responsibility of ensuring that these areas of news which were never carried by the Ken Gordons and the Oliver Clarkes, by the Trinidad Express and the Jamaica Gleaners, by those who represent CANA and API and UPI and APP in our country; you will have the responsibility of making sure that that news gets to our people, gets to the region and gets to the world.

THOSE HYPOCRITES NEVER CONDEMN OUR REAL ENEMIES

Those who like on a weekly basis to write editorial after editorial attacking our country, these are the same people when there is definite evidence of a CIA plan to overthrow the Grenada revolution you could never see a single word of condemnation coming from the pens of those hypocrite (sic).

When the United States approaches the Caribbean Development Bank, and tries to get the CDB to accept money on a basis of excluding Grenada, you could never expect to find an editorial in the Express or the Guardian or the Gleaner condemning this and pointing it out as divide and rule activity by US imperialism.

When those who plant bombs in our country to murder our people as happened last year at the June 19 Rally, you could never expect to see these hypocrites carrying articles condemning the terrorists, speaking out against criminals and counter-revolutionaries (sic) activity. That is not their concern.

When these elements like Cyrus and Herry move from island to island trying to incite our people to violence, trying to spread a lying gospel, trying to distort what is happening in our country, publicly calling for the overthrow of the revolution, you cold never expect to see these elements carrying articles condemning the activities of Cyrus and Herry.

When Cyrus and Herry try to paint Duck and Ayub (sic) and the other murders with whom they are linked, when they try to paint these murderers and terrorists as heroes and martyrs you could never expect to find the Trinidad Express of the Advocate or the Jamaica Gleaner taking a position that these people are liars and hypocrites.

THE CIA HAS WORKED-OUT TIMETABLE

The responsibility therefore for ensuring that that side of the news, for ensuring the reality of what is happening in our country, is going to be your responsibility almost exclusively, and comrades in this particular period of danger that our country faces; in this period when it is very clear that the CIA has decided to go all out in the shortest period of time to try to overthrow our government and our revolution, it is very very obvious that your task in this period becomes much more of an important one. In this period when all evidence points to the fact that an actual timetable has been worked out by the CIA for the overthrow of our revolution it becomes doubly the duty of all patriotic members of the media to work seriously, to work consistently, to try to get the line of the revolution across, to work to try to block the plan of isolation and the actual invasion; to work towards exposing and isolating those elements of our country who continue to work with the CIA in order to try to bring our Government down.

The evidence after all is overwhelming. We can see it from attempts to block the international airport project, we can see it from the attempts to try to stop us from getting funding from our friends in Europe; we can see it from the attempts to get the CDB and the other regional institutions to discriminate against Grenada; we can see it in the attempts of the US to stop us from getting a loan from the IMF recently. The evidence of economic aggression is overwhelming.

Equally the evidence of propaganda intervention and destabilisation is also overwhelming, and at the same time we know that the evidence of mercenary invasion is also a real possibility. We can see it from those who are being trained in Miami, openly being trained; we can see it from the fact that this is being shown on American television and publicly these mercenaries are admitting that they are being trained for Nicaragua and for Grenada. We can see it recently from what was planned for Dominica and for Grenada when the Klu (sic) Klux Klan elements spent a lot of time working out with other forces a whole plan to invade these two sister islands of Dominica and Grenada using the racist Klu Klux Klan as mercenaries. We can see it comrades from this campaign that they started recently using one of the racist members of congress, this man [Bill] Nelson [Rep. D-FLA] who has been speaking on Radio Antilles over these past few days talking about the fact that America is not willing to have relations with Grenada until Grenada holds elections; talking about the fact that America will not move to develop any relations with our country until we do what America wants us to do. This hypocrite and racist cracker coming from the south of the US who have taken positions of support for every racist measure and act of exploitation perpetrated against the blacks in the US, this racist Nelson who has recently voted with Reagan against giving any kind of assistance to our sisters and brothers in Nicaragua; who has voted with the Reagan Administration to try to impose a new blockade against our sisters and brothers in revolutionary Cuba; this man who stands on the side of those who are willing to see the people of El Salvador murdered on a daily basis; this man who speaks of an election but yet will go to Haiti and sit down quite comfortably with Baby Doc Duvalier and drink champagne with Baby Doc Duvalier while watching the people of Haiti being discriminated against and brutalised on a daily basis. These hypocrites will speak of elections but do not remember that his own country has excellent relations with South Korea, Chile, with Uruguay, with South Africa with several countries like that, countries which not only do not hold elections but which are engaged in a daily basis in fascist genocide against their people. These hypocrites who will come down here as part of this plan to try to prepare our people in the region and prepare the people in the United States psychologically for the invasion of our country, we have to remind people like this man Nelson once again that while in the United States he and others like him might be able to try to form their views on the people of the US they cannot come out here to this region and they certainly cannot come to Free Grenada to tell what we must do.

WE MUST DEFEND OUR REVOLUTION

This is the time in the history of our people when we have to see the situation in our country as if we are in a country in a state of siege. That is the kind of mentality that we have to develop. Because if our country is in danger of attack from the CIA, if our country faces an invasion, if our country faces daily aggression then the people of our country, the patriots of our country, have to see their primary role at this time as being to find all ways of preparing to be able to defend our country, find all ways of preparing to make sure that the plan of isolation is not successful, find all ways of making sure that those who are willing to continue to engage in counter-revolutionary activity are exposed, isolated and ruthlessly crushed. That is the task of our people.

COUNTER-REVOLUTION WILL HAVE TO PAY A PRICE

Those on the other hand in this period who choose to continue to link up with the CIA, who choose to continue to try to engage in disruptive activities; those who choose to try to organise the workers of our country for political strike action; those who choose to spend all of their time plotting and scheming and planning and organising counter-revolution; those who want to use their money and to use their businesses to spread lies and to support the CIA in their plan of overthrow; those who want to engage on the local front in spreading counter-revolution all of those elements are going to have to understand particularly in this period that if you want to engage in counter-revolution there is a price you are going to have to pay. (Applause)

Our media is going to have to help in getting the message across that if you are engaged in a plot to try to wipe out the Militia, in the Militia Camp in Crochu in St. David's then there is a price you will have to pay.

If you are engaged in a plot in trying to spread lies about the revolution, and then you want to be able to get up and leave the country to go abroad and spread more lies you will not be able to leave - there is a price you will have to pay. (Applause)

Those who in the most unpatriotic way will choose to link up with the mass murderers in the CIA to work out with them a plot to invade our own country, to link up with murderers like Cyrus and Herry; those who choose to engage in such activity cannot expect to have the normal rights and the normal freedom that our true patriotic majority enjoy. They cannot expect that if their plan is to have the country overthrown; if their plan is to see this government overthrown, if their plan is to see the revolution set back, hen they are going to have to understand that because such a plan involves taking away the rights and freedom of h majority of our people then no tiny minority can expect to have rights and freedom to implement their plans. (Applause)

Some of them are coming forward and saying to us they did not know the recent plan was a CIA plan, they did not recognise that CIA had done all this, the leaders of the gang of 26 have misled them and fooled them, then those who are curious and genuine about that must come before our people and say that they were misled. (Applause)

REWARD FOR PRODUCERS-MANNERS FOR COUNTERS!

But those who choose to continue to be involved in counter-revolutionary activity; those who believe it is their right to continue to organise violence and terror in the country, they are going to discover that one of the slogans of the revolution is REWARD, RECOGNITION, AND RESPECT FOR THE PRODUCERS AND PATRIOTS BUT MANNERS FOR THE COUNTERS (applause). Chants of MANNERS, MANNERS HEAVY, HEAVY MANNERS).

Comrades some of these elements believe they have some kind of constitutional or some kind of god-given rights to engage in counter-revolution and to be respected for their rights to be engaged in counter revolution. Some of these elements believe that because they are big businessmen and merchants, that because they are big planters and journalists they could always rule the country with their ideas and at one time rule the country with their economic power, that they have a right to do what they want, that nobody can tell them anything, that nobody can stop them. Some of these elements over the past two and a half weeks, not only are they continuing to plot, plan and scheme, and to meet and to try to see what ways they could work out in alliance with their CIA friends to overthrow this revolution. Some of them have been doing it openly and publicly and boldly, and some of them have even been boasting about the fact that the revolution cannot pick them up, that they too big and mighty and powerful to be picked up. Some of them have been boasting about the fact that whatever they do must be protected, because they are so big and mighty and powerful. These elements still do not want to accept that this People's Revolution is serious. that it is not rolling over; that it is not going to be stopped; that it is not going to stand aside for counter-revolutionaries; that it is here to stay forever and ever. (applause). And those elements comrades, who are unprepared to understand that there is a price to be paid if you are involved in counter-revolution, that there is a price that you will have to pay, those elements who believe that they can continue to do what they want had better take another lesson from what happened this morning. Because this morning at some time between 5.00 and 7.00 am Lloyd Noel, Tillman Thomas, Stanley Roberts and Leslie Pierre (applause). Noel, Thomas, Leslie Pierre and Roberts, these four counter-revolutionaries were pickup and are now in detention (applause and shouts of joy) (Chant of WE SUPPORT THE PRG). These four counter-revolutionaries who up to yesterday morning were bragging and boasting that they could not be picked up are now learning in prison, are now learning that there is a price that they have to pay, for engaging in counter-revolution (applause).

We sincerely hope comrades, that others who are now engaged in plotting and planning and organising to overthrow will learn the lesson of this morning. We hope they will understand yet again that when there is any threat to this revolution the people and the revolution will stop at nothing to make sure that the revolution goes forward (applause). They are going to have to understand yet again a lesson that they do not want to learn - that no one in our country will be allowed to link up with the CIA, nobody will be allowed to work with the CIA (applause).

Those who like the CIA, those who want to go work and continue to work with the CIA there are several planes leaving Barbados for America everyday - go and catch one of those planes and go up to the United States (applause). But if you choose to stay in Grenada, if you choose to continue to make our country your home, then all people who are living here all of our Grenadian people must behave in a patriotic and responsible manner - do your normal jobs, nobody will stop you. Engage in counter-revolution the people will manners you (applause!).

If you stay and you work normally even if you do not support the Revolution but you choose not to engage actively in counter-revolution that is O.K. But if you stay and you decide to stay with counter-revolution then you are going to be exposed, you are going to be isolated, you are going to be ruthlessly crushed - it is as simple as that (applause).

MEDIA WORKERS MUST BE IN THE FRONT LINE

Today, therefore and in this period we certainly look forward to the Media Workers Association to help our people in defending our process, I helping our people to receive facts, in helping our people to be more educated, and more conscious, in helping them to be more vigilant. We look forward to the Media Workers Association and all of its members not only using their pens in the interest and for the benefit of our people, but we expect them to be in the front line of the struggle and to be ready, able and willing when the time comes, to lay down their pen and pick up their guns to be able to join with the people to defend our revolution.

Long Live the Media Workers Association of Free Grenada.
Long Live the Free People of our Country
Long Live the People of The Caribbean.
Long Live Responsible Journalism
Long Live the Friendship with Grenada and Cuba.
Long Live the Friendship between Grenada and Nicaragua.
All Power and Glory to the Working People of our Country.
Long Live the Grenada Revolution
Forward Ever! Forward Ever! Forward Ever!


NOTE: The newspaper called "The Grenadian: Voice of Liberty" was published June/July 1981 and also in 1982. Coming to a stop for a year, the monthly newspaper was revived February 1983 in issue No. 4. The title was "The Free Grenadian", but this was replaced in March 1983 issue No. 5 as "The Grenadian". In April 1984 the word "FREE" was reinserted. The paper was published by a group called The Patriotic Alliance [of overseas Grenadians] and printed in Trinidad and Tobago. The "agents abroad" of the March 1983 issue are Peter Clyne of Toronto; Sydney Granger of Miami; Wayne Francis in London, Lessie Christopher also in London, James Herry of New York and Keith Mitchell of Washington, DC. The newspaper was considered by the PRG as a 'counter rag' and it was reported that Grenadians with a copy in their possession were considered enemies of the state.


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