The State of Grenada is situated approximately 90 miles from the coast of Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago and has a population of about 100,000. It lies within those groups of islands referred to as the "Windward Islands," being the most southerly thereof. Its exotic, beautiful and colourfully varied landscape is probably unmatched in the chain of Caribbean Islands.
Grenada changed hands alternately from British to French rule but finally with the Treaties of Paris in 1763 and Versailles in 1783, became a colony of Great Britain.
The socio-economic structure of Grenada is important to an understanding of Grenadians' love for freedom and their corresponding, albeit presently tacit, resistance to communism which is now being imposed on them by a small minority of leftists.
Following emancipation, the estates in Grenada's island dependency of Carriacou, becoming uneconomic to their holders, were cut up and sold or distributed to the former slaves. This system of land distribution, or "land settlement scheme" as it was then called, proved to be so successful as regards agricultural output that its adoption was subsequently recommended and implemented on the mainland of Grenada, again with fruitful results.
The net effect of this, in time, was the development of a strong, productive and surplus-creating peasant proprietorship imbued with all the virtue inherent in people of that economic group, of hard work, stable family life, honesty, thrift, and a determination to ensure that their children attain social and economic recognition by the rewards so conferred from a rigid, colonial educational system.
The economist, Thomas Sowell, in "Ethnic America" adverts to "the kind of incentives and experience common in a market economy" which resulted from kindred economic arrangements in the West Indies. Free enterprise, therefore, early took root and became a way of life, embedded in the psyche of the people.
Central in the lives of the people was the Church - the Roman Catholic Church which, until fairly recently, had a near monopoly of the educational system of the State. A value-oriented system of education was thereby established in a society where, today, some 80 percent of the population describe themselves as being of the Roman Catholic faith.
Given a small, relatively homogenous society it requires no great exercise of the sociological imagination to envisage a society moulded in a network of close social relationships united by ties of family, marriage, friendship, and that cooperative spirit universally characteristic of a system of peasant proprietorship strengthened, in this case, by a vestigial Africanism which locally expressed itself in the cooperative institution of the "maron" (sic) with its derivative expression that "all ah we is one" meaning thereby, that we are one people.
Grenada maintained the status of Crown colony until 1967 when, along with some other regional islands, it became a state in association with the United Kingdom until the grant of full independence in 1974. A two party system of parliamentary democracy then existed - the Grenada National Party led by Herbert Augustus Blaize and the Grenada United Labour Party of Eric Gairy.
The New Jewel Movement, the party of Maurice Bishop and his small clique of communists, was formed in 1972 and made political noises entirely disproportionate, at that time, to their numerical strength.
Quite soon, however, their ranks were to be greatly increased as a result of the politics of buffoonery practiced by Eric Gairy, his mismanagement of the economic affairs of the State, and his general ineptitude in coping with the problems of nationhood in the milieu of a Caribbean region characterized by internal ferment, fueled by the ideology of groups and individuals of the far left.
In early 1976, narrowly losing the general elections in an alliance with the Grenada National Party and with other moderate, conservative groups, the New Jewel Movement fell heir to the official position of leader of the opposition.
A great deal of blame must be assigned to Eric Gairy for the situation as it exists in Grenada today. This is not the place, however, save where relevant, and only en passant to agitate the question of the distressingly close approximation of Gairy's authoritarianism, to the totalitarianism which now prevails in Grenada.
Nor is it the place to discuss in any great detail his general mis-conduct while in office, which had deep repercussions on the society. A full chronicle of Gairy's misdeeds and folly which contributed to, or were even directly productive of, conditions for the growth and spread of leftism in Grenada could well be the subject of another paper.
Suffice it to say at this stage, however, that Eric Gairy was solely responsible for creating the social, political, economic and psychological environment for the growth of leftism and eventual totalitarian rule. His inordinate pre-occupation with matters not of this world, an economic and social policy based on greed, immortality, and egoism and a community image of a dandy and a "playboy" in a harsh economic environment of massive unemployment - all contributed to a mood of social alienation as evidenced by the phenomenal growth during this period of the Rastafarian movement.
Restlessness of a desperate nature combined with the hope, deliberately fostered by the leftists, that "better times must come" with the establishment of a "just society" made easier the growth of an alien ideology and created, in Marxist terminology, the "objective conditions" for a communist coup.
Such conditions were furthered fostered and reinforced by Gairy's introduction and institutionalization of violence and brutality as an aspect, as novel as it was terrifying, in the political life of the people.
The report in 1974 of the Duffus Commission of Enquiry attests to that fact. Political violence, a phenomenon still abhorred by most Grenadians reminiscent of the days of "sky-red," the arson and violence associated with the earlier entry of Gairy into the political life of Grenada, drove the middle class into the waiting arms of the communists.
Ignorant of the Machiavellian injunction about tampering with the property and women of one's subjects, significant sections of the community, influenced by adverse reactions to Gairy's conduct from popular opinion leaders, swelled the ranks of the New Jewel Movement. Young men and women of solid democratic middle class background joined with the leftists and actively assisted in the massive indoctrination process which was then conducted.
Others fled for the peace, safety and financial benefits of other countries. The brain drain and the democratic vacuum thereby created and the likely results thereof could easily have been anticipated and, given intelligent leadership, prevented.
But this was not the case.
In truth, therefore, the coup of March 13, 1979 was popularly received, and widely acclaimed, especially in view of the expressed promises given by the New Jewel Movement of free and fair elections, an end to political violence, victimization and corruption, and the restoration of freedom and democracy.
What was not then, but is now, generally known is that the coup of March 13, 1979 was spearheaded by Cuban personnel who had arrived in Grenada days before as "tourists," using forged Venezuelan passports.
And, as reported in the "Torchlight" newspaper of March 18, 1979, the Cuban boat "Matanzas" arrived in Grenada barely three days later, a trip from Cuba which takes at least seven days by a ship of that capacity. It was laden with arms and ammunition.
Promises of fair and free elections were soon forgotten. For, correctly anticipating that the majority of Grenadians would never willingly consent to live under communism, the New Jewel Movement quickly reneged on their promise of fair and free elections, a "bourgeois luxury" they now term it, and instituted a system of organized terror designed to eliminate resistance and silence dissent thereby securely entrenching their narrow, minority power base.
Naively expecting the communists to keep their promise as regards free and fair elections, the Grenada National Party, erstwhile political allies of the New Jewel Movement, attempted to hold a public meeting but this was broken up by communist thugs and their public address system was destroyed.
Shortly thereafter, on October 13, 1979, the "Torchlight," the only free press in Grenada, was closed. Mass arrests followed of persons considered to be "counter-revolutionaries."
The closure of this newspaper was not, however, without precedent, absent the use of force, in the light of the previous government's intervention in the media.
During the regime of Eric Gairy, "Radio Grenada," the only radio station in Grenada, was used solely for purposes of his party propaganda which usually consisted of puerile diatribes against the rumoured statement by groups and individuals which he considered inimical to his self-image.
The opposition at that time, the Grenada National Party, a moderate, conservative party with appeal mainly to the peasant proprietorship and the middle class, was never permitted access to radio time.
Constitutional redress through the courts of the land was unobtainable under the applicable Westminster constitutional model where such property, though financed by the taxpayers, was vested in the right of the Crown and that "crown," to all intents and purposes, was worn by Eric Gairy.
Political issues, important in the lives of a people in times, socially and regionally, of heightened political awareness, were never publicly ventilated and nationally agitated; issues of freedom versus totalitarianism, of democracy versus dictatorship, of communism versus free enterprise were never aired through the media of the radio (there was at the time to television station) in a society with a relatively high rate of literacy, with people, old and young alike, capable of making rational choices and decisions based on self-interest and community benefit.
Personally lacking the intellectual capacity or resources and jealous of the one, or possibly two, members of his government probably so endowed and equipped, Gairy made no attempt through the use of the media to expose and rebut the arguments, policies and programmes of the leftists or to inform of the abject misery, terror and slavery prevailing in communists countries.
Alas, it would have been a relatively easy accomplishment to win the debate for democracy in Grenada, a society, the majority of whom were already ingrained with democratic ideas and practices and committed to the notion of freedom. Sadly, to those who know the man, even sincere advice, given in good faith, of this method of approach would have gone unheeded or considered a personal affront to his "quality of leadership" and "knowledge of politics."
The only form of media of the middle class, the "Vanguard" newspaper, after having been successfully prosecuted for the essentially English offense of criminal libel in relation to published comments concerning pending proceedings of a criminal nature, was harassed by civil suites in libel brought by Eric Gairy, until its closure in 1972.
The New Jewel movement quickly seized the opportunity by the vacuum thereby created in the media and launched their own party paper, the "New Jewel." Initially, this party paper had a circulation of only about 1000. Then, in 1973, the parliamentary majority of Eric Gairy enacted the Newspaper Act which made mandatory a deposit in the sum of $20,000 for every newspaper published and made it a serious criminal offense for anyone to publish, sell, distribute or possess a newspaper in a contravention of the Act.
Thereafter, even the independent and highly respected newspaper the "Torchlight" was temporarily closed to enable it time to widen its public shareholding in order to increase their cash flow to meet this new burden for future publication. The New Jewel Movement protested, held political rallies on this issue and vowed not to pay. They went underground.
The mystique surrounding the illegal appearance of the "New Jewel," the police brutality visited on those persons found "distributing" it and the closely guarded secret as to location of its equipment, despite massive police searches, served to vastly increase its circulation and demonstrated to the politically aware, but adrift, middle class that the New Jewel Movement was the only political party, highly organized and capable of dealing with the dictator, Eric Gairy.
Blatant lies, political and otherwise, made by Gairy over the radio station, "Radio Lionel" they called it, were exposed by the "New Jewel" paper, though their own lies and propaganda were never exposed and rebutted, thereby lending credence to their claims that they were "honest," "democratic" and interested only in establishing a "just society" and restoring civil rights and liberties.
The newspaper of Eric Gairy's party the "Horizon," never fared well. Circulation was low, primarily as a result of its columns which failed to interest and elevate its readers. It was repetitious of speeches and addresses, primarily of a self-adulatory nature, made by Gairy but already broadcast over the radio and aimed at the mass of his supporters among the agricultural workers, a significant proportion of whom were, in any event, illiterate.
In or about the year 1970, the venerable newspaper, "The West Indian," of editorship formerly by the Honourable Theophilus Albert Marryshow renowned for his positive efforts at Caribbean confederation, entered into negotiations with a group of prominent Grenadian businessmen for the sale and purchase of this newspaper. Leaning of this, Gairy quickly moved to expropriate all the assets of this newspaper under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Ordinance.
Compensation to the owner at that time, J.B. Renwick, a wealthy lawyer and businessman, was made in the form of "treasury bills" which Renwick used, as they fell due from time to time, to pay his sizeable income taxes. The capable editor, A.O. Xavier, thereupon resigned and became editor of the "Torchlight."
Gairy then employed his own "party hacks" at the "West Indian." People like Walter Cudjoe, and Ken Cummings, editor, were intellectually incapable of dealing with the serious issues of the period.
Thomas Regalado, writing in "West Watch" of November 1981, estimates that there are "over 700 political prisoners on the island." The number of people imprisoned without charge or trial is probably considerably higher taking into account those persons of the Rastafarian sect, many of whom have been confined to "re-education centers" throughout the island.
Regalado also writes, in the same issue, of the torture of political prisoners. Many reports to date which have reached this writer have been scanty, unconfirmed and based on hearsay. Yet, there is evidence of some torture and ill-treatment of at least two political prisoners, one of whom, Ralph Thompson, a former member and ardent supporter of the New Jewel Movement, has since died while in custody.
To date, no inquiry into the facts and circumstances of his death has been held which is a normal procedure in cases of that nature under the Laws of Grenada. Nor has the matter been pursued by Amnesty International, despite the pleas of the wife of the deceased.
The other, Clement Antonio Langdon, was in June, 1981, the main focus of a C.B.S. documentary by Dave Marash entitled "The Prisoner and the Police State." Since having been shot at and wounded while in prison, the communists have refused to allow Langdon the use of medical facilities abroad which are presently unavailable in Grenada. No members of his family are allowed to visit him and his whereabouts are now unknown.
There is, however, a pattern to this system of imprisonment without charge or trial. Important community opinion leaders were selected for imprisonment on such legally alien charges as "country-revolutionary activities."
People, among others, like Dr. Rupert Japal, Dr. J. Otway, Winston Whyte, Ralph Thompson, Clem Langdon, Lloyd Noel, Tillman Thomas, Stressman Thomas, and the Budhlall brothers are all extremely popular in the community and are perceived by the communists as threats to their ideological posture. The majority of these people are still imprisoned.
Others like Leslie Seon and Curtis Stewart, being persons too troublesome to touch in terms of family roots, community connections and regional prestige, were forced out of the island and now reside abroad.
Organized terror is the main weapon in the arsenal of the communists, a minority as desperate as they are militarily entrenched. Imprisonment without charge or trial is but one aspect of that terror in which the communists are so well schooled.
Rape is another. Now many poor, humble and innocent Grenadian girls have been subjected to this indignity by the communists, without recourse to the law. But the brutal rape of the wife of Sir Dennis Henry, O.B.W., Q.C. in the early part of 1981, at gunpoint, and in the presence of her husband and children was gleefully bruited abroad by the communists bent on sowing the seeds of class war, of envy and of hatred.
Sir Dennis was a man of substance, the owner of a once thriving law practice and a highly productive agricultural estate. Again, there was no recourse to the law. Forced to flee to the U.K. for fear of further harm to his family for "talking," Sir Dennis had barely left the island when his home was confiscated by the government, and Cuban personnel installed therein.
Yet another method is murder - not the run-of-the-mill killing, but murder on a grand, spectacular scale designed to show people, to use their own words, "the weight of the revolution" and to strike terror in their hearts.
The brutal murders, in public view, by Cuban led soldiers, of Strachan Phillip and Joseph Charles on June 20, 1980 and September 20, 1980, respectively, created unprecedented shock in the community; and the gruesome assassination of seven young men in the parish of St. Patrick on November 17, 1980, by "persons unknown," gave rise to that community sense of loss, fear and helplessness which the terrorists then seized upon and paraded themselves as "protectors" of the people.
Significantly, those persons murdered were all members or supporters of the New Jewel Movement but had become outspokenly critical of the direction in which that party was taking the country.
On June 11, 1980 the government closed the "Catholic Focus" newspaper and accused its publishers, the Dominican priests of being "counter-revolutionaries."
These were the same priests (notably Father Gilbert Coxhead) who were so outspoken, in justice rightly so, against the excesses of the Gairy regime and who had helped to crystallize public opinion in opposition to Eric Gairy.
In June, 1981, the newspaper the "Grenadian Voice" was closed by the government after a single publication and its editors were jailed.
Perhaps, however, terrorism too, especially where it is organized on a governmental basis and perpetuated in small homogeneous societies does, dialectically, contain the seeds of its own destruction.
A clear and substantial majority of Grenadians, from all walks of life, now maintain a sullen opposition to the government of Grenada. Gone, hopefully, but not forever, is the care-free laughter, the hospitality and camaraderie of a warm and gentle people. In such circumstances, the terrorist trusts no one, perceives everyone as his enemy and himself becomes a prisoner, constantly being guarded, afraid even of his own guards. Little wonder that it is Cuban soldiers who now guard the senior members of the Communist government.
It should be pointed out at this juncture that one of the urgent intellectual tasks of modern day conservatism is the study and analysis of small societies in order to determine their social resilience or otherwise to the process of communization.
Specifically, there is need for analysis of such matters as the degree of social cohesiveness; the family, immediate and extended; community of friendship and association; the role of mediating structures in the economic life of the community; hierarchical structures and patterns of authority; political institutions, groupings, preferences and, simply, now and why people vote.
A study of such societies done not as a matter of idle sociological inquiry but with the clear objective of the problem of communism will reveal much about the likelihood or otherwise of communist gains in much of the so-called third world.
In the Caribbean it so happens that the left, utilizing the training ground of the social science faculty of the University of the West Indies, has done considerable study and analysis of those societies with the apparent, though never stated, objective of exploiting systemic weaknesses in order to gain political control.
The results of the recent elections in El Salvador and St. Lucia will probably reveal the existence of anti-communist configurations built into these societies. The socio-economic institutions and cultural orientations productive of such generalized anti-communist attitudes need to be identified, and engineered to strengthen democracy in these and similarly structured societies.
Additionally, philosophical studies, still in the seminal stage, of the seemingly crucial nexus between capitalism and human rights can receive insight and clarification from analysis of the operation of democratic processes in comparatively small, "primitive" societies.
In the case of Grenada, the experience is that with every marginal increase in the execution of the policy of terror, there has been a correspondingly greater decrease in the power of the communists in terms of their popularity and ability to marshal public support.
For example, people are not threatened with harm for failure to attend public rallies, even where free transportation is provided. Conversely, there has been a heightening of the dialectical process whereby the terrorist becomes the terrorized.
Grenada too can, therefore, be characterized as a society resilient to the process of communization, institutionally and culturally. It is in this awareness that the communists there are busily engaged in the process of indoctrination, especially of the youth.
For two days every week, students and teachers alike must interrupt their normal studies and duties to attend indoctrination classes held by Cuban "educators." On Sundays, a time for church in a deeply religious society, children are obliged to attend military camps for training in the use of firearms.
Time is the communists' only hope.
In truth, therefore, the communists of Grenada are a terrified minority, as frightened of the dormant wrath of an oppressed people as, likewise, they are of each other and of the Cuban "workers."
The bitter rivalry existing between the deputy prime minister Bernard Coard and the prime minister Maurice Bishop is certain to be exacerbated as economic conditions deteriorate and political support wanes. But that should not be cause for comfort.
Of these two leading Caribbean communists, Coard appears to be Moscow's choice as being the more intellectually orthodox and dedicated Marxist-Leninist.
The social suction of the hospitality of Grenadian people initially created what came to be regarded by the communist authorities as a frightful friendliness between the Cuban "workers" and the populace. As a result, Cuban "workers" are not replaced every so often.
The economic picture in Grenada appears bleak. Prices for the primary agricultural products of nutmeg and cocoa have reached an all-time low and this, at a time of decreased productivity in local agricultural output. Production in the banana industry has been sharply curtailed by the prevalence of moko disease.
Eye witnesses report of deserted beaches and vacant hotels during the height of the tourist season.
The Economic Commission for Latin America, in its "Economic Survey of Latin America 1980" entitled "Grenada" reports "a sharp downturn in the level of economic activity in 1980." In an interview published by the "Trinidad Guardian" of April 9, 1982, Mr. David Minors, president of the Grenada Chamber of Commerce, accused the communist government of "using the businessman's group as window dressing."
Indeed, relations between the government and the business community have deteriorated over the past few months with the imposition by government of increased corporate and realty taxes, and passage of a decree requiring licences first had and obtained for all imports and exports.
The observations made by Mr. Minors concerning the facade of a private sector should be clearly seen for what it is: a communist strategy to give the appearance of a "pluralistic" society wherein democracy, by their distorted definition of that term, may be said to exist.
Additionally, by allowing the private sector some measure of relative economic freedom, international loans may be forthcoming from Western lending institutions with which to stave the certain economic collapse consequent upon the adoption of "socialist" economic principles and practices, and to keep the populace minimally restful.
This is then directed at the leftist Western media with a view to having them project a "just" and "egalitarian" society. This was tried in Jamaica under the Manley regime. It is not being tried in Nicaragua and Grenada.
The "useful idiots," of which Lenin wrote, are now bent on pressuring this U.S. administration into giving aid to the "private sectors" of Nicaragua and Grenada. They urge the rope, to paraphrase Lenin, with which to hang themselves.
Measures of economic prosperity achieved by communist countries are never passed on as benefits to the people. They are used to purchase more arms and ammunition either to further enslave their people or to assist in "wars of national liberation," thereby contributing to the relentless, imperialist expansion of the Soviet Union.
In light of all this, the exclusion of the communist countries of the Caribbean from participation in the Caribbean Basin Initiative is a positive step in the right direction.
It is certainly not true to say that the communist of Grenada have left the private sector alone and intact.
Firstly, they have imposed a limit of 5% mark-up on all goods sold by merchants. This has resulted in the closure of many small, once thriving businesses.
Secondly, the government has moved directly into the business of importing foodstuff and building material. The effect of this has been a phenomenal increase in the cost of such basic items as flour, sugar, meat, cement, lumber and other building materials, as bureaucratic inefficiencies impinge on a fragile economy.
Corporate, as well as personal income taxes have been drastically increased and a realty tax of such enormous scale has been imposed that business and home owners have become mere tenants of their properties.
The disincentives thereby created and the resultant economic contraction, even of the production of local foodstuffs, and the increased unemployment consequent upon this is too evident to merit further comment.
The expropriation, or rather the confiscation, of property by the communists was rendered easy, again by the folly of Eric Gairy. For, instead of strengthening the socio-economic position and political power of the "recently arrived" peasant proprietorship, Gairy instituted a policy of "land for the landless" - a policy motivated by spite, hatred, envy and political victimization - and expropriated some of the most productive estates of Grenada.
Compensation was never either "adequate or prompt," to use the language of the constitution, and landowners were obliged to seek redress through the lengthy and costly procedures of the judicial system. In many cases, landowners first learned of the expropriation of their properties when armed policemen arrived to evict them.
There was no orderly system of sale or distribution of the expropriated land; instead, the estates were handed over to party financiers to be "managed," which usually meant reaping the produce of those lands without the corresponding effort of sowing them.
When the communists seized power, many once productive estates were then idle, but promises to return them never materialized. Instead, cooperative farming has been attempted but no success in food production has been achieved. Capitalistic ideas in so far as they relate to the economic laws of supply and demand die hard and Grenada is no exception to that rule.
The "cooperative workers" very quickly understood the profit motive involved in the production of one acre of marijuana as compared to an acre of cabbage or bananas in the economy of a society where marijuana is openly consumed by the few scoundrels who comprise the community leadership and who once advocated legalization of such drugs.
No public outcry, therefore, was or could be heard when the communists confiscated the property comprising the estate of the late W.E. Julien for purposes of an "international airport," or the property known as Calivigny Island and adjacent lands, now a major military encampment, owned by J.K. Milne, a Grenadian now resident in the U.S.A., or other properties and hotels owned by Grenada nationals. In these cases, however, there can be no recourse to the law no matter how lengthy or costly.
The communists often boast about "modernization of the economy" seemingly oblivious of the idea, which experience has now taught us, that economic modernization and communism are completely incompatible goals. They single out by way of example the fishing industry and heap praises on the Cuban government for the "gift" of a few fishing trawlers.
But this intensive technology in the fishing industry has generated much discontent among the local fishermen. The catches on the Cuban trawlers have been large but nearly all are being sold to purchasers in the French department of Martinique for relatively higher prices paid in U.S. currency. Grenadian fishermen are thereby forced to go further at sea to obtain a normal catch and this has adversely affected local supply and jeopardized the livelihood of the fishing villages throughout the island.
The "appropriate technology" was never considered or, if it was, earning scarce foreign reserves with which to purchase more weapons was deemed more important to the communist leadership than the livelihood or welfare of a significant proportion of the population of the fishing villages.
The Committee of Santa Fe, in a document entitled "A New Inter-American Policy for the Eighties" published by the Council for Inter-American Security has drawn attention to the fact that the international airport now being constructed by the Cubans "commands the deep water channel alongside the island of Grenada through which flows 52 percent of all imported U.S. oil."
Bishop, in an interview published in Newsweek magazine of March 31, 1980, had this to say about the intended use of this airport:
Suppose there's a war next door, where the forces of Fascism are about to take control, and the Trinidadians need assistance . . . Why should we oppose anybody passing through Grenada to assist them?
This is as clear an indication as any that the communist government reserved unto itself the right to use their enhanced military position to intervene in the affairs of other countries or, possibly, to allow themselves to be used as proxies for such purposes.
In addition to this airport which has a runway of 2,800 meters (capable of being extended to 3,300 meters) there is a 1,600 motor air strip already in use, about two miles away.
Egmont harbour is situated less than 3 miles from these airports. It has a depth of approximately 25 feet and is surrounded by steep hills, rising to heights ranging from 25 feet at the lowest level to 75 feet at the highest. The area immediately surrounding this harbour, together with Calivigny Island is the main military encampment on the island.
Within months of seizing power, there was a flurry of activity in this area. Residents of that locality (as well as those of the area in the vicinity of the airport known as Calliste) were forceably relocated and signs were posted warning the public to keep away: crate upon crate of "secret" material was unloaded there in the dead of night by Cuban personnel only.
Strange ships were sighted there giving rise to much local speculation about a "submarine base" and "strange persons with very white skin" who "couldn't stand the sunlight, definitely not Cubans" were seen in the area.
Local shipping is not allowed in the waters of this area. The secrecy and tight security which surrounds this area is consistent with any, and certainly the worst, inference which may thereby be drawn.
Timothy Ashby writing in "National Defense" of May-June, 1981, notes that Soviet "air and naval bases in Cuba, over a thousand miles from Grenada, are beyond the range necessary for effective operations in the south-eastern Caribbean."
Grenada, the author argues, "provides the perfect solution to this strategic quandary - a mountainous, easily defended bastion commanding the heart of this rich oil producing region." Is the British military position as regards Ascension Island of relevance in the matter now being agitated with Argentina? It is worthwhile to quote Ashby's conclusion in toto:
MiG27's operating from Grenada could strike the totally unprotected refineries in Southern Trinidad within ten minutes, based on their operational speeds of 770 to 1055 miles per hour; the same length of time would be required to destroy the Hess oil storage complex in St. Lucia.
Similarly, the major Venezuelan oil fields are only seventeen to twenty-five minutes flying time away, and the essential refineries and storage facilities in the Netherlands Antilles could be reached in about 35 minutes.
Grenada's Egmont Harbour would provide a superb small naval base protected by the nearly encompassing hills from both offshore surveillance and attack. Approximately thirty Soviet-built Osa and Romar-class missile patrol boats, with a top speed of 40 knots are now stationed in Cuba. Armed with Styx (SS-N-2) surface-to-air missiles, such craft would be a lethal threat to the ponderous oil tankers plying the sea lanes around Grenada.
And Egmont Harbour, which measures 1200 by 1800 feet and has a minimum depth of 21 feet, could accommodate an entire flotilla of Cuban missile boats.
Apart from Grenada's proximity to the oilfields and refineries of the Southern Caribbean, and its value as a Soviet client state at the other end of the sea from Cuba, the island is an invaluable staging post on the air route to Southern Africa.
But this is not all.
Grenada has now become an important training ground for the communists in the region. On January 9, 1980, the "Trinidad Guardian" alleged that Trinidadians were being trained as guerillas in Grenada. On the following day, Bishop filed a writ in the High Court of Trinidad and Tobago seeking damages and an injunction in connection with the alleged "defamation."
Both Trinidad newspapers, the "Guardian" and the "Express," in editorials of the following Sunday editions, welcomed the institution of such legal proceedings. To date, however, nothing further had been heard of this suit.
Nor will anything ever likely be heard of it because under that jurisprudential system (a) the defense of truth, if established, is a complete bar to an action grounded in defamation and (b) the cross examination of those witnesses called to establish the plaintiff's case is not limited to such confining issues as relevancy.
At stake, therefore, would have been all the activities of the communists, including those of Geddes Granger, an avowed terrorist and leader of the National Joint Action Committee of Trinidad, who a frequent "guest" of the government of Grenada.
Even the "scholarships" offered by the Cuban government are suspect. Hudson Austin, commander of the "People's Revolutionary Army" took up one such "scholarship" in Cuba just prior to the coup of March 13, 1979.
On February 11, 1980, the Cuban ambassador to Grenada, Julian Torres Rizo, visited Dominica. On July 22, 1980, the Cuban Embassy in Grenada cabled the government of Dominica offering "scholarships."
When no return of acceptance was received, the Cuban embassy wrote to that government repeating their offer of "scholarships." Subsequently, the government of Dominica refused the offer.
The Cuban government then offered these "scholarships" to citizens of Dominica on a private, individual basis. Of course, the government of Dominica is constitutionally powerless to deny the "scholarships" on an individual basis to its citizens since freedom of travel is an entrenched, fundamental provision of its constitution. But why this pressing, philanthropic effort by the government of Cuba?
Observe, for a moment, that the defence potential of the lesser developed countries of the Commonwealth Caribbean is limited; imagine, if you will, the lure, glamour and attraction of Marxist propaganda to a large body of unemployed and uneducated youth - the house, the plot of land, the car, boat, cow or donkey of my "bourgeois" neighbour.
Add, for good measure, a small clique of so-called intellectuals, as ignorant as they are unscrupulous, nurtured and indoctrinated in that communist nest which largely constitutes the social science faculty of the University of the West Indies, and, to round-off matters, further "educated" in Cuba. When then do we have?
The truth of the matter is that all the lesser developed countries of the Commonwealth Caribbean are now vulnerable to Cuban sponsored take-overs. Towards this end, Cuba views Grenada as a valuable ally and staging ground.
It is common knowledge among the political cognoscenti of the region that close ties are maintained with the communists of Grenada by leftist groups and individuals throughout the Caribbean - Trevor Munroe of the Workers Party of Jamaica; George Odlum and Peter Josie of St. Lucia; Geddes Granger of the National Joint Action Committee of Trinidad and Tobago; Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent, and so on.
Castro's statement at the conference of "non-aligned" nations held in Havana in 1980 regarding the intensification of the "anti-imperialist struggles" in the islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe is no idle boast.
Leftists from those two islands were among the list of "prominent quests" at the celebration of the anniversary of the coup on March 13, 1980. So was at least one member of the Red Army Brigade.
So too, in 1982, was Angela Davis and a contingent from the Black United Front of the U.S.A.
President Reagan, while in Barbados, referred to Grenada in the following terms:
That country now bears the Soviet and Cuban trademark, which means that it will attempt to spread the virus among its neighbours.
That, with utmost respect, is not a strictly accurate statement about the activities of the communist government in Grenada. For the communists there have brought the country and its unwilling inhabitants firmly within the Soviet orbit. It is indeed a communist government, not on which simply bears a "trademark."
All that remained is a formal declaration to this effect so that the communists can invoke the Brezhnev doctrine and obtain the military protection afforded by this doctrine from external and internal threats, alike. A nice question arises as to whether the Brezhnev doctrine is confined solely to Eastern Satellite states or extends as well to other parts of the world, particularly Central America and the Caribbean.
Can Cuba, Nicaragua or Grenada invoke this doctrine "in defense of socialism?" If so, does it supersede the Monroe doctrine? It is useless, as it is dangerous, to evade this problem. Sooner or later, probably much sooner, this administration or subsequent ones will be confronted with this difficulty.
The problem has to be faced squarely and only a firm, resolute and decisive posture in relation to the Monroe doctrine will sere to deter Soviet imperial expansion in this hemisphere. An immediate, clear re-affirmation of the Monroe doctrine will eliminate any future miscalculation in Soviet adventurism as regards U.S. hemispheric interests.
With equal respect, it is not strictly accurate to speak of an "attempt to spread the virus" of communism. The territorial offence of the communists of Grenada is complete.
They are actually, actively and relentlessly engaged in spreading the "virus" of communism throughout the region and will strike in country after country when conditions are ripe and when the signals from Washington indicate a weak and vacillating administration, as actually happened during the Carter years.
Yet, in country after country, the mass of people - poor, uneducated, unemployed and ill fed - in the exercise of that human right called voting, reject communism. As in Jamaica, Dominica, St. Vincent and St. Lucia, so in El Salvador. The people of these countries have overwhelmingly expressed a preference for freedom.
Shallow political analysts (the Sally Sheltons of this world) have viewed the problem of communism in Central America and the Caribbean in economic terms, thereby falling intellectual prey to the facile and philosophically unsound economic determinism of Marxism-Leninism, currently so fashionable among the leftist liberals.
his form of intellectual analysis persists in projecting the useless notion that economics is the determining factor of such problems ranging from the incidence of crime to communist take-overs and other forms of terrorist activities.
For example, writing in the "New York Times" of April 1, 1982, Sally Shelton, former U.S. Ambassador to Barbados and the Associated States of the Eastern Caribbean, considers the "double-digit employment plaguing nearly every island" of the Caribbean to be the "main threat to the security of the region."
How then to explain the expressed political preference of the "double-digit unemployed" of Jamaica, Dominica, St. Vincent, El Salvador, St. Lucia and Grenada (if given a chance to vote) for freedom, democracy and peace? It is to Soviet expansionism and a desire for global hegemony, actively undertaken through their Cuban proxy, that one must look for a solution to the problem of the main threat to the security of the region.
Bishop himself acknowledged this when, in March 9, 1980, he said that "if there was no Cuban revolution there could not have been a Grenadian or a Nicaraguan revolution." The communists themselves realize that their minority position will never permit them to secure power through the peaceful process of the ballot.
The hard fact remains that the people of the Caribbean and Central America prefer freedom and democracy to communism, even in their present state of abject poverty. It was in this conviction, and following a public opinion poll clandestinely conducted in Grenada in 1980 by this writer, that the Grenada Movement for Freedom and Democracy was formed.
The Grenada Movement for Freedom and Democracy (G.M.F.D.) is an organization of all freedom loving Grenadians who reside abroad. There is also a large, secret network of members within the island. The aims and objectives of this organization are as follows:
- To work towards the establishment of democratic government in Grenada, popularly elected, and to promote a society which guarantees respect for the fundamental human rights of the individual and the rule of law throughout our island nation.
- To galvanize Grenadians into awareness of events in Grenada and to encourage them to speak out against the lack of freedom and democracy now prevailing in Grenada and to encourage others to do so.
- To bring to the attention of the world all injustices being committed in Grenada by the self-appointed communist rulers, the so-called People's Revolutionary Government.
- To convince the people of Grenada of the support of Grenadians abroad in their struggle for the restoration of freedom and democratic rights, especially the right to choose their form of government in free and fair elections.
- Generally to work for the liberation of Grenada from totalitarian rule and to establish a society founded upon the principles of freedom, justice and the rule of natural law.
Initially, the activities of this organization consisted in recruiting members, screening them and securing their active participation in organizational work. Small, cell-like congeries of groups have been highly effective in increasing the membership and in creating an organization of committed and dedicated Grenadians.
Priority has been given to countering the flood of propaganda and lies emanating from the offices of the Grenada Mission to the United Nations in New York and from the office of Grenada's ambassador to the O.A.S. in Washington, D.C.
The task of creating an organization as committed and as vibrant as the G.M.F.D. was not easy. Great sacrifices were made and continue to be made. At first there were threats of harm to members and to their families in Grenada made, it is believed, by personnel attached to the Grenada Mission. Such threats continue to be made.
Yet, the membership stands firmly dedicated to the cause of a free Grenada and remain fearless of the terrorists' threat of harm. Ignorant of the hierarchical structure of the organization, the communists attempted to infiltrate the rank and file of the membership. Fully aware of this, the G.M.F.D. did nothing about it. Principles of freedom and democracy are not secrets. Methods of achieving those objectives, however, are known only by the select few.
Other problems were encountered by Eric Gairy who, in a seemingly magnanimous and patriotic gesture, had a few of his "loyal" supporters attend public meetings and rallies of the G.M.F.D. He then attempted to "capture" the organization and install himself as its president, trying to reap the benefit of others without himself, with typical laziness, doing any work. That attempt, too, failed.
Grenadians resident abroad, whether in New York, Montreal, Toronto, or London have now understood their errors of the past. They realize the necessity for that type of encyclopedic form of intellectualism required to combat the mass appeal of communist rhetoric and to cope with the myriad problems internally, regionally and internationally so that Grenada, though a small country, can take its proud and rightful place among the community of free nations.
Gone, forever, are the days of the flamboyant, semi-literate and egoist trade union leaders of the fifties now incapable of dealing with a mass of indoctrinated and highly politicized youth. Such anachronisms only impede the restoration of democracy in Grenada.
Moreover, a return to Gairyism in Grenada is certain to revive past animosities and social cleavages. It will serve to unite the Grenada army, presently disenchanted with the communists. In this scenario, either the position of the communists will be strengthened or there will be a prolonged and costly civil war with serious regional implications.
The G.M.F.D. maintains a secret network of membership within the island, costly though it is, which enables It in a relatively short time to know what is happening there.
Recently there has been an intensification of effort towards the organization's ultimate goal. It is known that the vast majority of the Grenada army does not support the present regime. Grenadians are, therefore, faced with the stark reality that only the presence of Cuban soldiers on their soil separates them from the freedom which is their birthright.
Let there me no mistake about the principle involved here. It is true that Grenada is the smallest state in the Western Hemisphere and may not, therefore, be worthy of the attention of a U.S. administration, presently burdened by more pressing problems largely creating by its inept predecessor in office.
It may also be true that by "making a deal" with Fidel Castro, Grenada and Nicaragua might be forced into an accommodation with the U.S. Yet, a two-fold principle emerges and one which is important but dangerous to overlook. Essentially this principle involves, firstly, the right of a people (which right is enshrined in their constitution and institutionalized in their society) to decide freely, through the medium of the human right of voting, the type of government under which they wish to live.
Secondly, as a corollary of the first principle, a minority of communists ought not to be permitted to seize a country and forceably impose a system of communism in that country.
Practically, it is submitted that a "deal" with Fidel Castro is, from the start, doomed to failure and even if concluded will, in the not too long run, be reneged on by the inherent duplicity of the communists.
Americans, for reasons probably peculiar to their national psychology, fail to grasp the fact and to understand that the basic objective of Soviet communism is global control. Vladimir Bukovsky, in an article entitles "The Peace Movement and the Soviet Union" contained in "Commentary" of May, 1982, contends that the idea of Soviet "global control" is "too big a simplification."
But the scenario which he depicts when he poses the question as to the consequences of unilateral disarmament by the West amounts, to all intents and purposes, not to any attenuated form of mere "control" but global domination, pure and simple. Towards this end, the means, however evil or dishonorable, justify the end.
Diametrically opposed differences arise regarding the perception of reality. What, for example, an American banker perceives as the bankruptcy of a nation pursuing communist economic policies is seen by the communists as "national sacrifice for the victory of the revolution." Economic hardships and personal deprivations are, therefore, elevated to the level of a virtue.
No amount of economic hardships - trade embargoes, denial of access to lending institutions and other forms of economic destabilization - can lead to the overthrow of communist regimes. That only creates the ideal socio-economic conditions for the over throw of communist regimes.
Where the superstructure of a democracy exists, as it did in Jamaica, economic destabilization can produce the ideal conditions for change by way of the ballot.
Where, on the other hand, however, no semblance of a democratic superstructure may be said to exist, as in Grenada at present, then the clear objective of a realistic U.S. foreign policy is to assist those democratic forces which are prepared to utilize force to regain and secure their freedom. Self-interest, if nothing else, dictates the adoption of such a policy.
The history of communism so far, is the history of force - force in gaining power and organized, systematic force, terror if you will, in maintaining their position of power.
But communism certainly more so than capitalism does too contain its "soft under-belly." Weaknesses - economic, military and other wise - must be exploited so that the international apparatus of communism can be kept busy and made dysfunctional and off-balance.
A policy based on ad hoc reactions to Soviet global initiatives can only result in a dangerous contraction of the American sphere of influence.
Active counter-offensive is required as a matter of extreme urgency to restore the balance of power which, in the final analysis, is the only guarantee of international peace. The communists will, for example, have much less time, effort, energy and resources for El Salvador if they are kept busy in Poland as in Afghanistan, in Nicaragua as in Grenada, especially if severe economic hardships are conjointly visited upon them.
And one will encounter a very reasonable and flexible Fidel Castro, amidst a systematic and sustained counter-offensive, one his teeth of Nicaragua and Grenada were suddenly drawn. Given the present dangerous state of military unpreparedness of the U.S., it may not now be prudent "to go to the source."
This present disability should not, however, prevent the formulation and implementation of a policy designed to nibble away at the edges, as it were, in order to create the ideal conditions for a later thrust at the "source" while simultaneously giving the U.S. much needed time to correct the military imbalance.
Sadly, however the present realities of life in the U.S. today appear to be these: a government hamstrung and made impotent by current "chic" notions of foreign policy and of U.S. hemispheric interests; a media ironically subversive of the liberty which is its very foundation (witness the orgy of disinformation displayed by C.B.S. in their documentary entitled "Central America in Revolt.").
In these circumstances Grenadians anticipate little or no help from the U.S. much as they require it to liberate their country. Indeed, there appears to be a growing perception among the community of free people that this great bastion of liberty can no longer be relied upon either to maintain existing freedoms or to assist others in regaining those freedoms recently lost to communist aggression.
But among people once free, the will to regain that freedom is never lost. Moreover, freedom, by definition and unlike the freedom of which the communists speak, can never be imposed on a people: it is always won by the people themselves. No one can give Grenadians their freedom. It is in this realization that the G.M.F.D. now moves into the final phase of its stated objectives.
Note: The document is transcribed as its original, except some minor spelling and punctuation errors are corrected and paragraphs shortened. It is undated. The most recent date within the document is a reference to a newspaper articles published in May, 1982.
There are some statements and dates that in retrospect are untrue, but which have been let stand for the reader to determine. The point-of-view of the author is quite clear.
Note the abrupt transition from Sylvester's discussion of the "West Indian" to political prisoners. There is no indication this change was made other than by Sylvester's intention.