The Grenada Revolution Online


Newspapers, Newsletters & News Magazines - After the Gairy Government Newspaper [Amendment] Act until the Peoples Revolutionary Government (PRG)
1975 - 13 March 1979

The West Indian, 1975-1979
[following the 1975 Newspaper (Amendment) Act and during the years of the Gairy Government]

The "West Indian" was Grenada's oldest paper still publishing during the period of the Gairy Government. It continued to be published within limits of 1975 Newspaper [Amendment] Act. Publication of the "West Indian" was taken over by the Gairy government circa 1971. As of May 1971, Reggie Clyne was editor. The newspaper ceased publication in 1979.

An amusing footnote in one of Lent's many studies of Eastern Caribbean communication tells this tale:

"The largest page-one story in the May 11, 1971 issue of the "West Indian," for example, told about a Grenadian bank employee who had finished a London course of study. Three lines of 72-point type were required to headline that story."

When you run out of one size type, use another - even it is it bigger. When you print on an oversized newsprint sheet, use wide margins to border the text! Such were the adaptive measures editors needed to take.

An interesting evaluative story was written in the 26 September 1975 issue of "The New Jewel" concerning the "West Indian" newspaper under the headline "Gairy's Newsman Expelled From Island." The author is unknown at this time and the article not signed.

Jerry White is a bearded, chain-smoking photo journalist who is a Canadian by birth and --- until a few weeks ago --- was a Grenadian by choice. He was, in fact, one of Prime Minister Eric Gairy's boys.

But no more. White was given his walking papers by three Grenadian policemen and says he was lucky to get out with his clothes and camera equipment.<\/p>

White's story starts back in October [1974]; when the Prime Minister and I decided to join forces,' he explained recently in St. Thomas, where he has taken temporary refuge.

'The Prime Minister owned a printing plant and I was publishing a magazine called Islander,' he said. 'My wife, Erika, and I had been living in St. Vincent and Gairy asked us to become residents of Grenada.'

Gairy's purpose was to have the Whites take over operation of the West Indian, a newspaper that Gairy's government had bought and that Gairy wanted to have printed at his plant, White said.

As he explained it, 'The West Indian had been the oldest daily newspaper in the West Indies but it had gone defunct after the founder died. The Torchlight, an opposition newspaper, made a bid to buy it but Gairy's government stepped in and purchased it under a private company name.'

When the Whites came to Grenada to run the newspaper, 'circulation was zero,' White recalled. 'They were printing 75 copies and selling two.'

The Whites converted the paper to a weekly and set up a new system, using the paper's outdated equipment as best they could.

'We did all the photography, the writing, the paste-up, the stripping --- plus we even sold advertising,' White said. 'We literally worked 24 hours a day once a week to get it put together and then we ran it offset on Dr. Gairy's printing press, so he was getting paid for printing the government newspaper.'

But the government newspaper hardly represented what White felt was a free and independent press.

'Gairy wouldn't allow me to print any crime news, for instance, and all his stuff had to be run verbatim,' he said. 'Anything which was mentioned in the House by the opposition was never allowed to be used.'

'And of course I couldn't print anything about the Green Berets [sic], as we called them, or the Mongoose Gang, as they're also know. They're a gang of thugs and ex-convicts and other undesirables hired by Gairy to protect Grenada, presumably as a standing army, but the only thing I ever printed about them was they grow corn and potatoes.'

So White said he decided to 'go the other route,' making the West Indian into a weekend feature paper that concentrated on 'agriculture and dance groups' rather than hard news.

His formula apparently worked. Circulation jumped to 2,000, White noted, and the paper grew from eight to 12 to 16 pages, 'People who wouldn't advertise before did now,' he said.

But White still had problems, the chief of which was money. 'I very rarely got paid in time and when I was paid it was by Dr. Gairy personally out of his pocket,' he recalled.

He said his real problems began, however, 'when Gairy passed a law stating that all the newspapers in Grenada had to put up $20,000 each to insure against libel --- which was the same thing Antigua had done --- plus pay a $900-a year license fee. This was all done to put The Torchlight and The New Jewel another opposition paper, out of business.

The end result of Gairy's action was that The West Indian went on publishing in Grenada, but the opposition papers folded.

'Of course after the other papers closed up, there was no need for me because there was no competition,' said White, who admitted that he also earned Gairy's disfavour by 'openly voicing my opinion' about Gairy's suppression of a free press.

'I thought it was the most blatant way I'd ever seen it suppressed,' he noted, 'so in effect I became a bad boy.'

White was soon notified that he had lost his residency. 'Three policemen came in one day and told me I had to leave the island,' he recalled. 'I told them I needed my money that Giary owed me and I did try to collect it, but I never got it. That was about $1000 in U.S. money.'

His wife, Erika, who at the time was information officer for the government, was also fired from her job and given 10 days to get off the island, he said.

'I got out with only my clothes and camera equipment but hopefully she got out with our reference material and five years worth of work on a documentary film,' said White, who was awaiting his wife's arrival in St. Thomas this past weekend.


The Torchlight, 1975-1979
[following the 1975 Newspaper (Amendment) Act and during the years of the Gairy Government]

The masthead on The Torchlight reads:

Knowledge Is Power

   

According to Alister Hughes who conducted an exclusive interview with D.M.B. Cromwell on 4 September 1975, Cromwell was the Managing Director of Messrs. Grenada Publishers Ltd. The newspaper generally published Wednesdays and Sundays.

Cromwell told Hughes the Company had "paid the $20,000 deposit prescribed by the Newspaper (Amendment) Act, and he expected that there would be an issue of the Torchlight next Sunday 7 [September 1975].

Mr. Cromwell added that his Company also established a Bond for $960 and paid a license fee of $500, both of which are requirements of the Newspaper (Amendment) Act 1975. Cromwell said:

This Act is a direct [unclear word] to the principle of the Freedom of the Press and Freedom of Speech. It has not been easy for a small Company such as ours to meet the heavy financial burden imposed by this Act. Nevertheless, we recognise a duty to the Community and I am pleased that our columns will be again open to Grenadians for expression of their opinions.

An interesting premonition was published by the "Torchlight" 10 March 1979, when Nick Joseph was the Assistant Editor. He authored an article concerning Winston Masanto, Commander of the Grenada Military Force. On Saturday, March 10, Masanto said, "Don't be surprised if one morning you get up and find that the boys have taken over." That they did on 13 March 1979.

In May 1979, the Managing Editor was Mr. D.M.B. Cromwell, with a Manager/Editor Albert Xavier and Circulation Manager, Simon Green. Cromwell, Xavier and Green were members of the United People's Party (UPP).

Having its difficulties with the Grenada Government of Gairy, the "Torchlight" protested the ban imposed of Government advertisements, information and access to public documents filed in the Registry of the Court.

              
The Torchlight Melville Street Office 1977                                   Melville Street Building 2006 ©Ann Wilder


The Spark, 1975
[following the 1975 Newspaper (Amendment) Act and during the years of the Gairy Government]

The first issue of The Spark, vol. 1 no. 1 was published 2 February 1975 as an underground newspaper. One of its primary writers was Kamau McBarnette.

The publication's title is used within Leftist circles worldwide; for example, the Marxist Workers Party and a publication from South Africa. Spark's 1970s masthead, according to Dujmovic, was identical to that of the Soviets Iskra in 1900: “A Spark Shall Kindle a Flame.”

There is the stated link of the Spark with the Organization for Research, Education and Liberation (OREL), a separate, secret political study group within NJM [formed in 1974], some say. Others say OREL had no direct organizational link to NJM. OREL is Russian for “eagle” and also a location name in the USSR, namely associated with the Battle at Orel of July, 1943. Articles in the Spark were often unsigned and NJM denied the issuance of the publication.

Volume 1, No. 2 issue, most likely published in March 1975, of the Spark states:

"The masses must be made to understand the treachery of
Gairy . . . They will therefore be prepared to accept and/or support what must logically follow, seeing the need for the violent overthrow of the rich ruling class."


The New Jewel
[following the 1975 Newspaper (Amendment) Act and during the years of the Gairy Government]

The New Jewel, edited by Selwyn Strachan, officially suspended publication following the 1975 Newspaper (Amendment) Act, but went underground continuing with a new issue generally published on different days of the week. Most all were 25 cents each. Many are listed below.

According to NY Times reporter Seth Mydans, the "New Jewel Movement had gotten around a government ban on 'unauthorized publication of periodicals issued more frequently than 100 days apart,' by changing the publication's name with each issue." A new publication appeared each week with Volume 1, Number 1. For example:

The New Jewel, 20 January 1976, a 6-page legal-sized mimeo.

Revolt!, 29 May 1976, a 6-page legal-sized mimeo - Workers and Farmers Unite!

Resist! Freedom Now, 5 June 1976, a 6-page legal-sized mimeo.

The Liberator, 14 June 1976, a 6-page letter-size mimeo.

Rebellion, 23 June 1976, a 6-page letter-size mimeo.

Hurricane, 3 July 1976, a 6-page legal-sized mimeo.

Volcano, 13 July 1976, a 6-page legal-sized mimeo.

Fearless, 20 July 1976, a 6-page legal-sized mimeo.

Lightning, 6 August 1976, a 6-page legal-sized mimeo.

Avalanche, 4 September 1976, a 6-page legal-sized mimeo.

Typhoon, 11 September 1976, a 6-page legal-sized mimeo.

Dynamite, 27 September 1976, a 6-page legal-sized mimeo.

Rocket, 3 March 1977, a 6-page legal-sized mimeo on newsprint.

The Immortal, 7 May 1977, a 6-page legal-sized mimeo on newsprint.

Resistance, 9 July 1977, a 6-page legal-sized mimeo on newsprint.

Challenge, 16 July 1977, a 6-page legal-sized mimeo.

The People's Organ, 1 August 1977, a 6-page legal-sized mimeo.

The Message, 24 August 1977, a 6-page legal-sized mimeo.

The Informer, 21 September 1977, a 6-page legal-sized mimeo.

The Shu-Shu, 8 October 1977, a 6-page legal-sized mimeo.

The Educator, 26 November 1977, a 6-page legal-sized mimeo.

The People's Weapon, 18 December 1977, a 6-page legal-sized mimeo.

Revival, 11 February 1978, a 6-page legal-sized mimeo.

The Fighter, 14 April 1978, a 6-page legal-sized mimeo.

Fight, circa August 1978, a NJM publication aimed at youth.

The Truth, 16 March 1978, a 6-page legal-sized mimeo.

Defiance, 28 May 1978, a 6-page legal-sized mimeo.t.

Justice, 19 June 1978, a 6-page legal-sized mimeo..

The Struggler, 21 June 1978, a 6-page legal-sized mimeo.

The Vigilante, 25 July 1978, a 6-page legal-sized mimeo.

The Giant, 26 July 1978, a 6-page legal-sized mimeo.

Exposure, 28 August 1978, in which NJM strongly supported The People's Alliance.

The Fork, circa August 1978, fortnightly news-sheet of NJM St. John's, St. Mark's, St. Patrick's Parish Councils.

The Cutlass, a newsletter of the Agricultural and General Workers Union (AGWU).

The Cutlass, 19 November 1978, vol. 1, no. 17.

Guidance, 8 October 1978,
a 6-page legal-sized mimeo.

Fact-Finder with a NJM Release - "Why The Alliance is in Trouble", 22 October 1978,
a 6-page legal-sized mimeo.

Oppression Destroyer, 29 October 1978, a 6-page legal-sized mimeo.

The Light, 12 November 1978, a 6-page legal-sized mimeo.

Victory, 26 November 1978, a 4-page legal-sized mimeo.

Resistence, 3 December 1978, a 6-page legal-sized mimeo.

The Everywhere Paper, 10 December 1978, a 6-page legal-sized mimeo.

Determination, 23 December 1978, a 6-page legal-sized mimeo.

The Investigator, 14 January 1979, [From an anonymous source quoted by DaBreo] -

" . . . the Jewel . . . likened Gairy to Jim Jones in their newspaper 'The Investigator' of 14 January 1979 and on their front page under a picture of Jones and Gairy they wrote 'Gairy is like Jim Jones and Jim Jones is like Gairy.' They rather see everybody dead before giving up power."

[The Jonestown Massacre occurred 18 November 1978 in Guyana].

Fight-Back, 12 February 1979, a 6-page legal-sized mimeo.

Harassment, 18 February 1979, a 6-page legal-sized mimeo.

Alert, 25 February 1979, a 6-page legal-sized mimeo.

Register, 11 March 1979, a 6-page letter-sized mimeo.


The People's Tribune
September 1978 - March 13, 1979
[following the 1975 Newspaper (Amendment) Act and during the years of the Gairy Government]

Soon after the defection of George Brizan from the New Jewel Movement, a severed relationship from active membership in the New Jewel Movement since July 1973, Brizan established "The People's Tribune." Referring to some members of the New Jewel Movement, Brizan wrote of them as 'the minority Communist element.' He wrote that the activities of these upstarts 'would destroy Jewel or bring it into disrepute if the more stable elements fail to assert themselves.'


The Grenada Newsletter
17 August 1973 - 13 March 1979
[following the 1975 Newspaper (Amendment) Act and during the years of the Gairy Government]

The subscription basis of this Grenadian-published newsletter appears to have exempted the Grenada Newsletter from any governmental interference.


The Farmer's Weekly
[unknown]
[issued by Reynold Benjamin]

The small Grenadian-published newsletters have hopefully not dropped out of sight. The Farmer's Weekly was one of them.


Appreciation and acknowledgement to John A. Lent's interviews with Grenadian editors and program directors found in "Third World Mass Media and Their Search for Modernity" and the Journalism Quarterly article "Mass Media in Grenada."

For additional and detailed information, please check out these links:

Gairy and Media
The Spark, 2 February 1975
The Spark, [March 1975]
Torchlight and the PRG/NJM
Grenadian Voice and the PRG/NJM
Grenada Newspapers - Before 1975
Grenada Newspapers - 1979 - 1983

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