The Grenada Revolution Online

Gairy Speech - Address by Sir Eric M. Gairy, Prime Minister, United Nations, Opening Session, General Assembly, Twenty-Ninth Session, Tuesday, 17 September 1974

In Prime Minister Gairy's first presentation to the United Nations since Grenada gained Independence on 7 February 1974, he thanked the organizations and states of the UN for support and granting Grenada full membership. He spoke about Grenada's new national independence from Great Britain, the Grenada Constitution, his visit to Tanzania and attendance at the Sixth Pan African Congress, homage to the African states and decolonization, the status of women in Grenada, world peace and the need for a Grenada trust fund to support education. He also spoke of the belief that if man were to dwell in outer space, he cannot do that successfully without woman. Names of notables were honored - Dag Hammarskjöld, Dame Hilda Bynoe, Mrs. Marie-Jo McIntyre, The Prince of Wales, Julius Nyerere, General Yakubu Gowon and Benedict Tolbert.

289. Mr. GAIRY (Grenada)

It is with overwhelming emotion and a deep sense of gratification that I accept the privilege and the honour afforded me at this moment to address the Assembly, and, speaking for and on behalf of the Government and the people of our new nation Grenada, known as the Isle of Spice, please permit me to express my grateful thankfulness to the most gracious members of the Security Council for their kind and unanimous recommendation of our membership to your very august and distinguished Organization. Permit me also to express again my thankfulness and appreciation to our sponsors and to every State Member of the United Nations that has supported the recommendation giving us full membership in the Organization with all the rights, privileges and obligations entrenched within the Charter.

290. The fullness of our obligations entrenched within the Charter has been clearly demonstrated and fully expressed within the terms of the preamble to the Constitution of Grenada, in which:

We the people of Grenada have affirmed that our nation is founded upon principles that acknowledge the fatherhood and supremacy of God and man's duties toward his fellow man;

We recognize that, inasmuch as spiritual development is of supreme importance to human existence, and the highest expression thereof, it is our aspiration to serve that end with all their strength and resources;

We firmly believe in the dignity of human values and that all men are endowed by the Creator with equal and inalienable rights, reason, and conscience ; that rights and duties are correlative in every social and political activity of man ; and that while rights exalt individual freedom, duties express the dignity of that freedom;

We express our respect for the rule of law; and since moral conduct constitutes the noblest flowering of their culture and their plural heritage, regard it as the duty of every man always to hold it in high respect;

We reiterate that the ideal of free men enjoying freedom from fear and want can be best achieved if conditions are created whereby everyone may enjoy his economic, social and political, civil and cultural rights.

291. We desire that our constitution should reflect the above-mentioned principles and beliefs, which represent those high ideals upon which our nation is founded, and make provision for ensuring the protection in Grenada of fundamental rights and privileges.

292. The General Assembly’s twenty-ninth session is in many ways its most significant and somewhat critical one. As we move swiftly—all too swiftly—towards the end of the twentieth century, no area in the world, indeed no nation, is entirely free of disease, hunger, poverty, illiteracy. Nor is anyone endowed with the full blessings of peace for which we strive. This poses a challenging situation for all—the large and the small, the great and the humble. Yes, it is also a challenge to the new and developing nations so full of hope from this day on. And I wish to extend sincerest congratulations to Bangladesh and Guinea-Bissau.

293. Grenada’s presence here today in this world assembly is in itself an expression of faith in the United Nations and a reiteration of that confidence referred to by the late Dag Hammarskjöld, the second Secretary-General of the United Nations, when he spoke of

the capacity of men and Governments to have the common sense to find their way out of the lawful labyrinth of seemingly irreconcilable conflicts and the insoluble problems in which we are now wandering.

294. We are here, too, because of a common ideology of interests between the nations represented here and our new nation, Grenada. Our common interests are fundamental to the successful resolution of our problems at both the national and the international levels.

295. It is precisely because of our unshakable faith in fundamental human rights, and in the dignity and worth of man, which underscores the principles of self-determination, that the people of Grenada have chosen the thorny path from colonial servitude to national independence.

296. It is also precisely because of our faith in the sanctity of the equal rights of men and women that we have enshrined in our Constitution the provisions which guarantee that the rights of Grenadian women are equated to those of Grenadian men, especially in the context of citizenship, thereby setting a precedent for this aspect of human equality within the Commonwealth of Nations.

297. May I put on record here today that Grenada is firmly committed to the concept of the rule of law—a concept in which we have been schooled and a concept we irrevocably accept and endorse.

298. My address here today is not intended to be our definitive statement on foreign policy. This will be fully expounded at a later time.

299. As the elected leader of our nation, I assure you that Grenada stands today as a free nation, a nation committed to the cause of world peace. Within the General Assembly, as in the other organs in which we shall serve, we shall co-operate to the fullest extent to achieve a reduction of international tensions and an improvement and promotion of the climate of understanding among nations and peoples. Members of the United Nations thus equally committed to the cause of world peace can readily rely on Grenada’s support in exercises aimed at achieving the goal of all mankind: the elimination of the negative and counter-productive forces of friction and the achievement of a world order based on the principles of human dignity.

300. I feel so strongly, so totally committed to the cause of world peace that whenever and wherever the opportunity presents itself, I would, if asked, unhesitatingly join in any efforts at mediation tending towards a peaceful settlement of international disputes.

301. Our policy commitment to the cause of universal peace, in the context of the present disposition of international politics, is firmly rooted in the principle of respect for the territorial integrity of nations. We are therefore opposed to the division or dismemberment of sovereign States through outside interferences or subversion.

302. Disturbances, wars and political pressures do certainly transcend all boundaries, whether religious, ideological, political or otherwise. Naturally and consequently, even the smallest territories are immediately, directly or indirectly, affected by any form of tension.

303. Over the past 29 years of the existence of the United Nations, we have followed with unswerving tenacity the activities of the Organization and its unflinching determination to bring freedom to peoples in every corner of the globe; and it was in this very respect that I was afforded the privilege on two occasions in the past year to address the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples on matters relating to human justice and to freeing Grenada and its people from colonial rule. In turn, we today pledge ourselves, without any reservation whatever, to join all nations within the ambit of the United Nations, and even those outside, in continuing the relentless fight for the emancipation and freedom of all people of the world—a world in which most are people of colour, my black brothers and sisters in various parts of the hemispheres.

304. We ourselves, in our struggle to attain the status of national independence, which is the prerequisite of our being here, have experienced the not uncommon birth pains that precede the transition from colonial status to full freedom and independence. And now that we are accepted as a full-fledged Member of this noble body, this fact must essentially provide all sane, loyal and patriotic citizens and all friends of Grenada with a very deep sense of satisfaction. And in this context I sense the spirit of every Grenadian citizen and friend harmonizing with me at this very moment in giving praise to the great God, the Supreme Architect of the universe, the Universal Power, the great source of all existence, the centre of all creation—God, holding and binding all things together. And so we say in unison:

O praise the Lord, all ye nations; praise Him, all ye people. For His merciful kindness is great toward us; and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever. Praise ye the Lord.
(Psalm 117)

305. Today we would like to place on record our homage to the original authors of the United Nations Declaration on decolonization of 14 December 1960 [resolution 1514 (XV)], and in particular to the African group of States, who championed this principle in this very chamber almost 14 years ago. In our struggles we were indeed heartened, encouraged and inspired by the clear and unequivocal message contained in that Declaration.

306. Grenada pledges its unswerving support for the principle of decolonization. Like other nations which have had to struggle against great odds to achieve independence, we know that there can be, and there must be, no compromise in the matter of freedom.

307. Within the framework of this august Assembly and elsewhere, the firm and total commitment of our nation to the establishment and maintenance of human dignity, freedom and equality will be characterized by a dedication to the redressing of all social evils.

308. If we are conscientiously resolved to put into effect those lofty principles inherent in our faith in the equal rights of men and women. If we are conscientiously resolved to establish human equality, we must essentially recognize and accept the fact that there is a marked tendency to leave behind us what I consider to be a most integral and most vital part of our human resources—woman. It is in this context, therefore, that Grenada has been paying due recognition to the position of the women in our society and to the contribution that they can make in the daily life of our nation. Our philosophy is evidenced by the fact that Grenada is the first and only country in the Commonwealth in which a woman was recommended—by me, as head of Government—and appointed as a Governor.

309. Again, in keeping with our philosophy, Grenada is the first and only Government within the Commonwealth to provide in its constitution, in article 98, that women’s rights shall be equaled to men’s, particularly in regard to citizenship.

310. A further illustration of our philosophy and in eloquent testimony to the confidence and high esteem with which we value the contribution our women can make to world affairs, my Government has chosen a woman, Mrs. Marie-Jo McIntyre, who is here with us today, to be our first plenipotentiary permanent representative in this world body.

311. I look forward with excited expectation to the time when the great Powers of the Western Hemisphere will include a woman technologist in outer space exploration; for if man is to dwell one day on the moon or on any other planets, he cannot do that successfully without woman.

312. We in Grenada have also given profound thought to the so-called population explosion, and we believe that the real solution consists in greater efforts to achieve maximum production from our arable lands and a more equitable distribution of our products.

313. When we consider the perfection of God, it is difficult, extremely difficult for us, to conceive that God has created and is creating more people than those for whom He has made provision. It is again in this context that Grenada welcomes this opportunity to be able to make a contribution at some later date towards the solution of this problem in a manner that is efficacious and lasting.

314. The Grenada that you have admitted to membership in the United Nations today is a land of beauty, of hope, of peace and of stability. It is a land of good beaches, with perhaps one of the best beaches in the world. It was the Prince of Wales in the 1920s who proclaimed the world famous Grand Anse beach in Grenada as the best in the world, and I hesitate to challenge the validity of that statement.

315. Since the destinies of all our nations here represented are interrelated and interdependent with the well-being of each individual Member, Grenada welcomes all willing foreign enterprise to enter into a meaningful and mutually beneficial participatory exercise in brining about the development of our nation. In a spirit of international co-operation, we welcome all who wish to assist us with their technical knowledge and their resources, so that we may strengthen our self-reliance. Such co-operation must, however, be based on the principle of mutual respect for each other’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and it must be based most particularly on the inviolable right of all nations fully to exploit their natural resources for the maximum benefit and development of their citizens.

316. It might be appropriate at this time to mention that arrangement are already being made in the United States to establish a Grenada trust fund, designed primarily to assist our youth in the pursuance of secondary, technical and university education. Our pre-independence birth-pains have greatly affected our plans for education and have done serious damage to our educational structure. In our effort to reconstruct our educational system, we need co-operation going beyond words.

317. I could not end without expressing my gratitude for the contacts already afforded me by some of the long-standing independent nation. I was overwhelmed by the hospitality and friendliness of President Nyerere during my recent visit to the United Republic of Tanzania on the occasion of the Pan-African Congress, and I regret that I was not able to be present to join in welcoming him in the Caribbean. I extol the brotherly friendship and generous hospitality of General Gowon and the Government and people of Nigeria. To meet General Gowon, a comparatively young man with a tremendous responsibility of such a large population and powerful nation, a young man of such simplicity and modesty, was indeed a source of inspiration and lasting satisfaction. General Yakubu Gowon is indeed a great personality.

318. My recent visit to the continent of Africa afforded me many opportunities and, having met Mr. Benedict Tolbert, the son of the President of Liberia, and roving ambassador, I am fully convinced today that Liberia will continue to make an invaluable contribution to world peace and to the various areas to which this august body directs its attention.

319. Mr. President, if I omitted at the commencement of my address to congratulate you, let me now be guilty also of the same omission before the conclusion. So let me extend to you heartiest congratulations on your election to the high and enviable office which you now hold.

320. May I in conclusion exhort you to join me in rededicating ourselves and recommitting ourselves to the pursuit of world peace with all the vigour, all the enthusiasm and all the energy, mental, physical and spiritual, at our disposal for the fostering and maintaining of world peace, so that there may be justification for the people we represent today thanking us for our efforts. God, the supreme and divine Architect, may bless us for our sincerity of purpose, our enemies may in silence and in conscience admire us for our unswerving determination, and generations yet unborn may praise us for their heritage as we today ask the cosmic Father:

O God of all nations, help us to know who we are; Lord, tech us to know ourselves; Lord, help us to understand better the purpose for which we have been placed on this earth plane; and Lord, help us to perform our duties and obligations more promptly and most effectively, to your greater satisfaction and glory and for the salvation of mankind as a whole. May God bless our deliberations.

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