Good Evening Fellow Grenadians:
Grenadians have always had the enviable reputation of being able to deal with their own problems and make decisions which sometimes are emulated by other countries both large and small.
There are no significant threats in Grenada today. However, being aware of what has been happening to some of our neighbouring islands - Trinidad and Tobago in particular - one cannot be too cautious, and, consequently, as Premier of Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique, I feel myself, am duty bound, to address you at this time.
There has been quite some talk recently throughout the region about 'Black Power', about acts of violence and talks about threats. So far as 'Black Power' is concerned, I am definitely not in a position to criticise its true philosophy; nor to support it, as I cannot boast of knowing sufficient about it, but guided by my own intelligence, by my common sense and by the dictates of my inner self, have absolutely no doubt that 'Black Power', as manifested in Trinidad and Tobago can do a tremendous amount of harm to any country.
In this context, one can only judge by what he sees and hears of 'Black Power', and not by what is written about its philosophy. Were I in the southern parts of the United States of America, where the black man is being, tormented, is being suppressed, is being lynched and kicked and told he cannot enter this or that hotel or restaurant or business place, or that he cannot walk on this or that street, I might have been an active and militant advocate of some movement to equate the black man's position.
I cannot speak on the merits or demerits of Trinidad and Tobago's case. Perhaps the situation in Trinidad and Tobago is different to the situation which obtains in Grenada at present.
In Grenada here, there is no situation that calls for, or warrants any black power movement. Unlike the United States, power is in the hands of the black. Our Governor is black, our Premier is black, our Chief Justice is black, and our Bishop is black. I see the black man in exaltation - in Law, in Religion, in Government, in Medicine, in Engineering, in Economics, in Education, in Sports, in Music and in every field of endeavour.
In 1950-51, I advocated what could re called power for the black - power to eat and drink like a human being, power to wear clothes like anyone else, power to be given the respect and dignity attributable, as of right, to every human being, the power to be given justice, the power to extend the black man's education in quantity and quality and the power to govern our land our land and people - this was in 1951.
Because of the tight and penetrating indoctrination of colonial traditions, there were many people, some with good hearts, some with love for the common man, who simply could not concede the idea of the aforementioned powers being given to the black man. But, through toil and tears and the spill of blood (for three of our people died in the process), the fight to establish the pride, the dignity and the respect for the working man and the cause of labour, was won.
One might well say that the setting for 'Black Power' was in 1951, that 'Black Power' has been well fought for, and well won. Today the stage is set for another kind of music. We cannot dance to an outdated tune. The stage is set for "Action and Progress" in the field of Education, for "Action and Progress" in the field of Agriculture, for "Action and Progress" in the economy of our country. Certainly, the stage is set to attract, to win and to hold the confidence, admiration and friendship of other nations, large and small. Grenada, as I said on other occasions, is making a name, a fame and a history much larger than its physical size.
The very large majority of Grenadians, with a sense of duty and responsibility, will not hesitate, I know, to lend unrelenting and unstinting support to our Government in its planned and calculated action to maintain the atmosphere of peace and quiet and law and order, without fear or hindrance.
I cannot boast of having the patience of Dr. Eric Williams. It is said that when your neighbour's house is on fire, keep on wetting your own house. We are now doubling the strength of our Police Force, we are getting in almost unlimited supplies of new and modern equipment.
I cannot close my ears to the ugly incidents alleged to have taken place recently, and it may be timely here to mention a few - three youngsters, clad in black, entered the 'Red Crab' Restaurant and ordered drinks and food, ate, and then shouted 'Black Power', and left without paying; another three demanded money and drinks from two foreigners at the Nutmeg Restaurant; others molested some other visitors by the Portofino Restaurant and at the 'China Town' Complex of Restaurants.
"A stitch in time saves nine" is indeed a wise maxim. My Government will not sit by and allow individuals or groups of individuals to agitate or incite, to promulgate or to promote any racial disharmony in this peaceful 'Isle of Spice' - the Caribbean Garden of Eden.
Today Barbados is providing strong Legislative powers with heavy penalties to curtail any such acts. I say, that those guilty of inciting racial disharmony, or guilty of molestation of any form should be told, "Good Morning" by the Cat-O'Nine as they start their prison term, and "How Do You Do" by the same Cat-O'Nine as they end their prison term. Law and order will always reign supreme in this great little State of ours.
It was only on Thursday of last week in the House of Parliament, in answer to threats of rebellion made by Mr. Friday, representative of St. Patrick's, that I swore, as Minister responsible for security, to defend this country, and all its people in every sector, irrespective of their political inclines, from any acts of violence or molestation, in any manner reason and expediency should dictate to me, as long as I have the backing of my Cabinet.
The Opposition referred to some one hundred or so workers engaged in the concrete project at Queen's Park, whom I gave time off to attend Parliament, as 'Hooligans'. Incidentally, groups of workers will always take the privilege to attend Parliament from now on. They must enjoy the privilege which was denied their forefathers.
The Opposition referred to my recruiting criminals in a reserve force. To this I shall not say yea or nay.
Does it not take steel to cut steel? I am proud of the ready response to my call on Grenadians, regardless of their record, to come and join in the defence of my Government and in the maintenance of law and order in their country. Indeed, hundreds have come and some of the toughest and roughest roughnecks have been recruited. Every man engaged in any form of subversive activity is being watched.
One irresponsible businessman who thought that I was susceptible to bribes, and who is now a disgruntled frustrate, pledges, I understand, $1/2 million on placards posters and other subversive material for his misguided cause. Let it be known that Government will spend as much as is necessary to bring the proper conviction on the culprit concerned, and the boasts he now makes of having committed crimes in Grenada and Venezuela, and that he can commit here again, will certainly cause him to regret this folly when we are quite through with him and his kind.
The white-skinned lawyer from St. Paul's who once called me a black son of a 'so-and.-so', and who claimed to be white 19 or 20 years ago, when we were trying to give the black man some form of recognition, is today, 20 years later, trying to preach 'Black Power'. It took him 20 years of my teaching to make him realise that he is not white. The black power movement is fraught with hypocricy (sic), false political ambitions, venom and malice. In it they preach of 'Back to Africa', but the Africans themselves have never welcomed West Indians into their folds as Africans. The two cultural patterns are quite different. Our need in this particular context is to establish true West Indianism with our own cultural patterns adaptable to all circumstances and environmental situations in which we find ourselves. Grenada now has proposals under consideration by all the English-speaking countries of the Caribbean.
My view is that the only solution for our people is closer integration, not only economically, but politically and in other ways. This is my dream and as Expo was a "Dream of Reality", so within my lifetime and yours, let us hope to see a true spirit of West Indianism established and maintained, rather than try to promote racial discrimination and racial dissensions. We should be proud of our own great West Indian heroes - Henri Christophe born and bred in Marquis, St. Andrew's, who became King of Haiti, Cipriani of Trinidad, Cuffy of Guyana and, back home, Donovan and Marryshow and others still in the flesh.
The Opposition groups have always been weak and vacillating, changing names and banners to suit their convenience. Today they are G.N.P. and Black Power; yesterday they were G.N.P. and Unitary State, and, you mark my words this day, before elections take place in the next 21/2 years, the G.N.P. or some of their leaders will find another name, and another passing waggon (sic) with which to align themselves. G.N.P./Black Power is a new hybred (sic) in Grenada politics. They should not be afraid of any action taken or any action contemplated by Government.
Fifteen thousand agricultural workers can also march into town with one day's notice from me as they realise today that Black Power may well be interferring with their bread and butter. Bananas, cocoa and nutmegs are sold to white countries which may very well stop buying our products if we are against them, and if there are no markets for our products, this would naturally mean that the agricultural workers are in trouble, and the stability of our economy will be threatened.
Large amounts of money are remitted home from Grenadians abroad - Grenadians in Great Britain, Grenadians in the United States, Grenadians in Canada, not even counting those in other countries and those who work on foreign boats. What would we do if the Canadians, Americans and the British became hostile to our own people abroad and deported them? Have we ever stopped to think of this, and that we would be the losers if things come to a showdown?
We must not forget that our tourist industry, too, plays a vital role in the economic development of our State. We are hoping to find, but we have not yet been blessed with oil and mineral reserves as is Trinidad, and so we do not have these powerful resources to fall back upon should our tourist industry be disrupted. Trinidad today, as a result. of the present state of unrest, has been set back many years in her tourist development. We must ensure that this does not happen here. I call upon all taxi owners and drivers, hoteliers and hotel workers to help keep out any threats of menace.
If Grenada wants any power at all today, it is certainly not 'Black Power' - it is Work Power for the very few who are unemployed; Money Power to meet the cost and standard of living and Brain Power, more Brain Power for our youth, so that they would become more qualified to hold responsible positions in our State. We cannot eat, drink nor wear black power.
The few lazy and recalcitrant boys who shout 'share' must be very careful, and must be prepared to defend themselves against the charges that could well be brought against them. Some people have worked very hard for their properties, and my Government shall defend the farm, the store, the shop, the hotel or the restaurant of Tom, Dick, Harry or George Franco, inspite of their political leanings, for we must protect all of the citizens of the State as a whole.
Shall we accept Black Power in Grenada and see our churches destroyed and desecrated, our showcases and business places smashed and burnt? Do we want to see our citizens terrorised and Grenadians running to St. Vincent or St. Lucia or some other place for peace of mind as Trinidadians are doing in Grenada today?
I am calling upon all responsible Grenadians to band ourselves together in preparation on against threat of Black Power or any other subversive movement that may wish to lift its ugly head in the presence of a peaceful and quiet country.
But here I must point out to our neighbours, the metropolitan countries of the United States and Canada, that now is the time to come forward and make a tangible contribution in our efforts to resist the infiltration of subversive movements of any kind.
I am happy at the very many hundreds of congratulatory letters and telephone calls that I receive daily from responsible people within our State, and abroad, in our stand against the enemies of Grenada. Certainly the very many new admirers that we have today, the very many people who are supporting us today, are doing so not because we are making noises and masquerading with placards and telling lies, but because they have seen us working hard, assiduously hard - they have seen Grenada attracting the friendship, the admiration and respect of many nations, including major foreign countries; they have seen modern schools being constructed in every corner of the State; improved training facilities for teachers; better roads and improved methods of construction and maintenance; significant expansion in the business sector; and Expo '69 that attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors to our lovely Isle; they have seen better homes for our local people; better standards of living everywhere; great improvements in the already booming tourist industry, and, generally, the tangible signs of progress that our five-year development plan has brought, is bringing and will bring to Grenada, Carriacou and Petit, Martinique.
Grenadians must be proud of Grenada in particular, and the West Indies in general. America today is perhaps the most cosmopolitan country in the world; with people coming from every part of the globe to settle, yet it is the most progressive because every resident of America, Talks, shouts and boasts of America as his home, his country - the land of opportunity and of plenty. Why should we, in this context, be talking of Africa or India, or any other country for that matter and not Grenada, this land of ours today? I have not seen any school for our children given to us by Africans, but I have seen schools built by our own efforts and some given to us by the British as well as others given by the Canadians, people to whom we must be grateful, people with whom we must be friends.
Trinidad I notice, is laying charges of treason against a number of soldiers and civilians. Let me give this warning to a few Grenadians here who could be arrested and charged at this moment, that my Government feels that if the occasion warrants bringing in the best international lawyers here to ensure firm convictions in the highest courts, money will be no object in our way.
The Opposition will resort to anything even the most vulgar lies in the attempt to embarrass my Government. About eight or nine years ago they influenced a young lad to commit perjury in Court, stating that I told him certain things. The presiding Judge at that time, Sir Donald Jackson, pitied the lad and sentenced him to six months imprisonment. And now a certain St. Paul's man, who considers himself very religious, and who is bitterly opposed to my Government, has been offering amounts to the tune of $2,500 to tempt someone to commit perjury. The Police are well aware of the situation and have begun investigations in this matter. Conspiracy to commit a perjury is almost as bad as treason.
Only last Thursday Mr. Friday referred to me as 'dwelling in a psychic plane'. I am sure that he and many others have good reasons for arriving at this conclusion, and it would pay the enemies of progress to bear this in mind. The lenders whose minds are limited to things mundane, and refuse to dwell in the realms of the psychic are essentially faced with marked limitations. Man is God's greatest creation on the earth plane and man himself is everything that man has invented. A look into man's inner self, and the knowledge, power and privilege to dwell within, must essentially bring about great spiritual, mental and psychic strength, energy and vigour to deal successfully with nay and all situations as they occur. My enemies, the enemies of my Government, the enemies of action and progress have a long way to go and alot to learn.
I know that I would have a ready response from the very responsible people of this country who would be dedicated to protecting themselves and families, their properties and estates and the good name of Grenada as a whole, and if and when the call is made for the formation of the VIUPP - Voluntary Intelligence Unit for Property Protection, men - intelligent young men and old men - and perhaps women will be called upon to join.
Our Police Force is being doubled to meet the situation. The Police are aware of the diligence exercised by the Trinidad Police.
Grenada's Police Force is certainly not on a lower level than the Trinidad Police Force in any respect. Today, the Grenadian Policeman knows that by his efforts in stamping out the attempts of those involved in Black Power or any other subversive movement, he can win the award of 'Policeman of the Year' and climb the ladder of promotion or receive monetary awards. The Police are geared and prepared to keep this country clean and in an atmosphere of peace and quiet at all times.
Finally, Ladies and Gentlemen, I want to assure every citizen in Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique that I and my Government stand ready at all times to ensure the security of our State - and the preservation of law and order. These are the bedrocks of our constitution, and by them we stand or fall. It is up to us all, through our concerted effort and action, to work with Government towards the maintenance of the high level of happiness, security and prosperity which we now enjoy.
May God bless you all.
Thank you and Good Evening.