Special Branch Report - Bishop in the UK 1973
NOTE: Below is an example of many Royal Grenada Police Force Special Branch Reports on Grenadians, especially those involved in political, Black Power, radical and anti-Gairy movements starting as early as 1970. The majority, it not all, of the people named in the report have died. It is also sobering to discover that recording of Grenada's history in detail was primarily chronicled in Special Branch Reports.
SPECIAL BRANCH - circa 11 May 1973 - 24 May 1973
Maurice BISHOP, the co-ordinating Secretary of the New Jewel Movement (NJM) of Grenada arrived in London on 11 or 12 May. While he is in London he is staying with Curtis FRANCIS at his home at 56 Lavender Avenue, [unclear postal zone].
- In information discussions since he has been in London, BISHOP has indicated that the New Jewel Movement was formed when the Movement for the Assemblies of the People (MAP) and the Joint Endeavour for the Welfare, Education and Liberation of the People (JEWEL) came together during March 1973. BISHOP said that JEWEL mostly operated in the St. Davids area of Grenada since the beginning of the year.
- BISHOP said that the objectives of the NJM were to seize political power and to put it into the hands of the people. It was in favour of the principles laid down by Julius NYERERE in the ARUSHA declarations which provided that no Government leaders should hold shares in any company nor hold directorships in privately owned enterprises nor should Government leaders have two or more salaries nor own more than one house. The NJM also proposed to institute peoples assemblies on the lines adopted in Tanzania. BISHOP said that they considered the Westminster form of Government unsuitable to the needs of the people in Grenada and it was in any case being manipulated by Eric Gairy. The House of Assembly only met five times a year and was ineffective. He referred to the attached publication issued by the NJM and to the many abuses of which GAIRY was accused in that publication.
- BISHOP said that the main support for NJM came from young working class people not more than 28 years old. There was, however, some support from older working class people. BISHOP referred to a Convention which had been attended by more than 8,000 people and said that the Government had tried in many ways to stop people from going to it. They had, for example, circulated false stories that the Convention had been cancelled, then instructed the Police to refuse permission to hold it and had blocked some of the streets leading to the meeting place. GAIRY had held a public meeting on the same day hoping to distract people from the Convention but only 2,000 people had attended GAIRY'S meeting.
- BISHOP said that the day he left for England, a representative of NJM had gone to Trinidad to obtain support from Grenadians there and to raise funds for the Movement. He stressed that the Movement was still short of funds. He mentioned that NJM had contacts in St. Croix (in the Virgin Islands) and that he intended to visit St. Croix himself on his way back to Grenada. He would then report developments to the many Grenadians there.
- BISHOP said that "Lucky" BERNARD, who was very bitter about being removed by GAIRY from his post as Head of Special Branch, was in sympathy with NJM and had passed information to them.
- BISHOP said that NJM wanted independence but not while GAIRY was in power. If independence was granted now, Grenada would become a "repressive state". The people of Grenada should first be consulted by a Commission on the lines of the Pearce Commission in Rhodesia. A draft constitution should then be discussed with the people and there should be a referendum on the constitution. Independence must be meaningful in terms of improving the state of the people and in the fields of housing, agriculture and employment and should aim to bring down the high cost of living which had recently troubled.
- BISHOP attended a meeting of "Grenada Causes for Concern" which was held at the Leary Constantine Centre at Villeddon from 18.00 to 21.30 on Sunday 13 May. Some 84 people attended almost all of whom were Grenadians. John LA ROSE, who was to have addressed the meeting did not appear. Copies of the attached pamphlet were distributed.
- The first speaker was Cosmos WARDALLY. He spoke about Trade Union activities in Grenada in the mid-50s and the disturbances which took place as a result of those activities. He said, however, that he was now opposed to violent action in Grenada. His speech was not well received and he was criticised by members of the audience for supporting GAIRY.
- The next speaker was a man whose name sounded to source like DRAVERICA [most likely the late Edward Dwarica]. He said that he had just flown in from New York. He criticised GAIRY and "squandermania". He indicated that he was a supporter of BLAIZE and the GNP. Members of the audience expressed some irritation with him.
- BISHOP then spoke of GAIRY'S misdemeanours and the unsuitability of the Westminster system. He said that BLAIZE and the GNP had failed completely and spoke of victimisation of members of the Police Force and the Civil Service. He said that many of them had been compelled to resign or to transfer to a different area. He criticised GAIRY for having no respect for the courts and for refusing to accept their decision. As regards the courts, GAIRY had now set up a traffic court whose sole purpose was to raise funds for his Party. BISHOP cited a number of instances of what he alleged to be unconstitutional action by GAIRY. One was that of a woman who had been enumerator, ie her duty had been to register electors and who was therefore debarred from standing as a parliamentary candidate. She had, however, done so and had been elected. The case had been taken to court. The court ruled that she must vacate her seat in the House of Assembly, but she had not done do and GAIRY had introduced a law to enable her to retain her seat. The second instance was that of GAIRY himself. People holding Government contracts were not permitted by the constitution to stand for election to the House of Assembly. GAIRY was himself connected with many firms with Government contracts. This case too, had been taken to court and GAIRY had lost it. He had, however, immediately introduced a law to legalise his position as a member of the House of Assembly.
- BISHOP said that a millionaire, whom he did not name, had built some houses near the sea and had fenced off the public path to the beach. Members of the public had broken down the gates and had gone down to the beach as they were entitled to. GAIRY had these people taken to court instead of upholding the law.
- BISHOP also criticised GAIRY for abolishing the Banana and Cocoa Co-operatives and nationalizing the marketing of these crops.
- BISHOP referred to a meeting which he said had taken place at GAIRY'S house on 6 May. 500 people had attended and GAIRY had selected many of them as "rough neck secret police".
- BISHOP also criticised GAIRY for overruling the Civil Service Commission.
- He then referred to incidents which took place on Good Friday when a young man by the name of Jeremiah "Tall 12" RICHARDSON had been killed by the Police in an incident which had nothing to do with politics. Some members of the public had even demonstrated at Pearl Airport and had demanded the arrest of the police constable who has killed RICHARDSON. They did in fact succeed in stopping aircraft coming into the Airport. A strong force of Police had been sent to the Airport and on the orders of the officers, they had shot and killed one demonstrator and wounded several more.
- BISHOP said that there was discontent in the Police force because none of the recent Commissioners of Police had been Grenadians.
- The Chairman of the meeting and Fennis AUGUSTINE then suggested that pickets should be mounted at Marlborough House on the following day, when there was to be a preliminary meeting for the Grenada Constitutional Conference and on succeeding days. He called for volunteers. No-one came forward at the meeting and AUGUSTINE and BISHOP both said in private discussion after the meeting that the attempt to mount pickets had been abandoned.
- Fennis AUGUSTINE appealed for funds for NJM: for Grenada Cause for Concern and for "Tall 12" RICHARDSON. The amount of 19 [pounds] was collected.
- On Monday 14 May BISHOP called at the office of "West Indian World" at 869 Harrow Road, where he was interviewed by Roy SAWH [unclear] and ALI, the Guyanese editor.
- On Tuesday 15 May BISHOP attempted to arrange a Press Conference at the Institute of Race Relations in Kings Cross Road at 16.00. No journalists appeared and the attempt was abandoned.
- Rhodan GORDON of the Black People's Information Centre (BPIC), 303 Portobello Road, Notting Hill had invited BISHOP to come to the Centre on the evening of 15 May to lead a discussion. BISHOP went to the Centre but no meeting took place. During the course of Wednesday 16 May BISHOP held discussions with Fennis AUGUSTINE.
- On Thursday 17 May BISHOP intended to call at the office of the Guardian and other newspapers in an attempt to gain publicity for NJM.
- BISHOP has been invited by the Black Panther Movement (BPM) to address a meeting at their offices in Shakespeare Road, Brixton on the evening of Friday 18 May.
- BISHOP has indicated that he may visit Birmingham during the weekend 19/20 May.
- Fennis AUGUSTINE and Maurice BISHOP have both said that Grenada Cause for Concern constitutes NJM's local branch in the UK.
- BISHOP had intended to leave London on Sunday 20 May. He discovered, however that the conditions of his reduced-fare air ticket (42 day round tour ticket?) required that he should spend a longer period in the UK before going on to the next stage of his journey. He has therefore decided to stay in London until Wednesday 23 or Thursday 24 May. He then intends to fly to New York and to return from there to Grenada via St. Croix.