The Grenada Revolution Online

Kenrick Radix [1941-2001]

     Kenrick Radix

“They say we are LEFT; yes, we are LEFT because we were LEFT behind!”

The quotation from Kenrick Radix gives indication of the profound outspokenness of this exemplary orator who championed the poor and disenfranchised. ‘Dix’ as he was known, died 13 November 2001 from complications of his long-running struggle with diabetes. He was only 59 years old.

As part of the 14-person Provisional Revolutionary Government, announced 16 March 1979, Bernard Kenrick Radix was appointed, by Maurice Bishop at a 25 March rally, to be the Minister of Legal Affairs. His deputy was Lloyd Noel with no Secretary being appointed at that time.

Radix held the position as Minister of Legal Affairs until the day of this arrest 15 October 1983. One can imagine his energy those October days; fired up because his long-standing friend Maurice Bishop was under house arrest. On 12 October 1983, Radix talked to regional press. Early on the morning of 15 October 1983, Radix and Fitzroy Bain organized a first street demonstration demanding Bishop's release and reinstatement.

By that Saturday evening, Radix himself states he was under arrest. Reports place Radix in the ‘Goat Pen’ section of the prisons. One printed report suggests that the reason Bishop turned the crowd towards Fort Rupert, instead of Market Square, was to free his dear friend Kenrick Radix.

Another report says Radix was arrested on 18 October after the second street demonstrations. Still another report says Radix was arrested on 20 October and landed in a dungeon at Fort Frederick with George Louison. Without food or water for a couple of days, they were left alone. On 22 October, they were fed. Not good for Radix because he had slipped into a diabetic coma. He was taken to the hospital; Louison returned to prison.

Radix was released from Fort Rupert 27 October, two days after the arrival of U.S. forces. He was one of those former PRG members who U.S. Security Forces held in small wooden packing crates before questioning by political officers.

EARLY YEARS

Born in San Fernando, Trinidad, 25 November 1941, Bernard Kenrick or Kendrick [a double spelling which continues to this day] was the son of Lloyd and Eileen Radix of Parade, Tempe and White Gun, St. George's. Radix received his education at the St. David's Roman Catholic School and St. George's Catholic Boys School. He took his secondary school studies at Presentation Boys College in Grenada from 1955-1960.

Dix, Dixie or Rado - as he was colloquially known, entered Dublin University in Ireland in the year 1965 where he received his B.C.L. upon graduation in 1968. He qualified as lawyer at Lincoln's Inn, London University 1969/1970. He returned to Grenada that same year. He was a practicing Grenadian lawyer, since 1970, in partnership with Maurice Bishop, his friend, both pleading cases for Black Power advocates, sometimes at no charge.

From February-October, 1970, Radix was allied with the Movement for Advancement of Community Effort (MACE), along with Maurice Bishop and Franklyn Harvey. In November-December 1970 Radix and Bishop undertook the defense of 22 nurses. In January 1973 at La Sagesse in St. David's, Kenrick Radix, Selwyn Strachan, and Teddy Victor helped lead the large gathering protesting the locked gates to the beach at Lord Bronlow's estate. After that incident regarding Lord Bronlow's closing of La Sagesse beach and the subsequent 21 January 1973 NJM People's Trial and demonstration, Bishop and Radix defended the people arrested at that event. With Maurice Bishop, Radix was a co-founder of Movement for Assemblies of the People (MAP) from October 1972 March 1973, followed by his membership in the New Jewel Movement (NJM) March 1973. During this time, Radix's address was in Parade, St. George's

BLOODY SUNDAY

Bloody Sunday’ in Grenville, on 18 November 1973, saw the merciless beating of Kenrick Radix, Maurice Bishop, Selwyn Strachan, Unison Whiteman, Hudson Austin and Simon Daniel. Radix raced up a stairs to Bhola's apartment with Austin and Daniel. The three gave themselves up, were arrested and thrown into a six by four foot cell with the bloodied Bishop, Strachan and Whiteman. This was the time Gairy's Assistant Superintendent of Police Belmar ordered everyone's head shaved with broken shards of glass.

On 18 July 1975 Kenrick Radix was beaten into unconsciousness and shot on Granby Street while trying to photograph a confrontation between NJM newspaper vendors and police. Radix survived the ordeal.

He ran for Parliament on opposition ticket in 1976 on the People's Alliance ticket, but lost by 276 votes to his GULP opponent from St. David's C.B. Gairy, according to Brizan.

In 1977 one could see the law office of Attorneys Bishop, Radix, [Tillman] Thomas and McBarnette with law clerk Rudolph Ogilvie, who recently passed.

According to Radix:

“In 1978, there was some dissatisfaction with his [Coard's] performance because he introduced a new style of leadership into the party leadership. Politely, it could be called lobbying, but more accurately I would call it a type of subversion, canvassing, infighting. Instead of collective consideration and amendment of various proposals, he would arrive with an already worked out package, and through force of personality, convince the others to accept it. This fundamentally conflicted with collective functioning, and was not received well. An attempt was made to remove him, but the move was stalled with the personal intercession of Bishop.”

Ever outspoken, Radix made his "confession" in the Senate chambers on 18 February 1978 that, in effect, Innocent Belmar had saved their lives on Bloody Monday while imprisoned. This cause a furor within the NJM Bureau and resulted in Radix being disciplined in an undisclosed manner and Radix saying he was speaking off the cuff and that he really thanked God Almighty for their fate.

In August 1978, Radix was beaten by Mongoose in Market Square in front of hundreds of people.

19 February 1979 at a President's Day Party at the Church's on Westerhall, there was a large gathering of Americans who lived on the island, plus U.S. Ambassador To Grenada Frank Ortiz, Jr. and Sir Paul Scoon. Kenrick Radix and Unison Whiteman were there as opposition members, according to the Grenadian Voice.

13 MARCH 1979

On 13 March 1979, according to Adkin, Radix was one of the assault group on the True Blue barracks, aiding the establishment of the People's Revolutionary Government. Stran Phillip's report, The Truth of the Revolution, does not include Radix in the initial assault squad on True Blue barracks. Other reports, including Alister Hughes, are that Radix went into hiding 10 March and was off the island on 13 March. The timing is unconfirmed and typical of conflict of factual information in the history of Grenada.

He was quickly dispatched by the new government to the United States. On 17 March 1979, Radix was the Grenadian Permanent Representative at the United Nations with a United Nations press release of 21 April 1979 confirming his appointment. He spoke at a rally of 300 Grenadians opposite United Nations Headquarters, saying that Grenada wanted Gairy back, but that there was no bilateral extradition agreement. Radix was working up an exchange deal involving a U.S. criminal who had been living in Grenada. He returned to Grenada on 14 June 1979.

At Camp David, Maryland, 13 August 1979, Bernard Kenrick Radix presented his diplomatic credentials as Ambassador of the People's Revolutionary Government of Grenada to the United States, in a ceremony in which President Jimmy Carter participated.

12-15 OCTOBER 1982

“ . . . in 1982, I had been ill and had been away from Grenada for several months. I returned and found that there was some dissatisfaction with my work. I objected on the grounds that these investigations had begun when I was away, but fundamentally saw this as an attempt by Bernard Coard to remove me from the Political Bureau so as to weaken Maurice Bishop and other people in the party.”

At the October, 1982 meeting of the Central Committee, during the infamous personal assessments, Radix's score was the worst. He was accused of 'deep seated individualism,' among other things. In retrospect, this particular criticism does not appear uncharacteristic of Radix's independent world view, nor a deficient trait.

“It was in fact,” Radix related, “decided that I should be removed from the Political Bureau, but I resigned from everything, causing quite some excitement. I resigned from the Central Committee as well as from my government post because I deemed this to be unprincipled conduct.”

Radix was Minister of Justice in 1983, but he submitted his resignation once again after Bishop was placed under house arrest. Previous PRG posts were with the ministries of Agro-Industries and Fisheries.

POST-INVASION

In 1984 Radix was one of three founders of Maurice Bishop Patriotic Movement. He left MBPM in 1993. Radix married Shahiba Strong on 6 June 1984. Shahiba Strong had been Grenadian Foreign Ministry's chief of protocol to Maurice Bishop. A daughter Imarah Radix was born in 1985. At 24-years-old, this accomplished and beautiful young lady represented Guyana at the 2009 Miss World Pageant in South Africa. Imarah Radix, 2009 Miss World Pageant in South Africa.


The first name of Kenrick Radix can also be spelled as "Kendrick."

A printed interview from which the Radix quotations above were drawn was published in “George Louison and Kenrick Radix Discuss . . . Internal Events Leading to the U.S. Invasion of Grenada,” The Grenada Foundation Inc., ©1984

Appreciation to Grenada Today newspaper for permission to reprint the photo of Kenrick Radix at top of page

Link to Dix: Remembering Kendrick Radix, by Caldwell Taylor, ©2002. This remembrance was originally posted at VerseAtIsle, Big Drum Nation. Appreciation to Big Drum Nation for permission to reprint in full on this site.

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