The "Torchlight" supported the ouster of Gairy and, at the time following the coup, gave conditional editorial support to the People's Revolutionary Government.
18 March 1979 issue - Reported that only three days after the coup, the Cuban ship Matanzas arrived in St. George's with a cargo of weapons and ammunition. Significantly, the article commented, the voyage from Cuba for a freighter similar to the Matanzas would normally require at least seven days."
21 March 1979 issue - Bishop in fear of a counter-coup. He told a Guyanese journalist that the danger could come from groups of the El Condor Cuba Counter Revolution type.
29 April 1979 issue - "More Than Socialist Rhetoric Is What We Need" - column header by Soothsayer who wrote -
"When the initial shock of Gairy's dethronement wears off there will be those who will cry out for information releases other than PRG releases."
9 May 1979 issue - "On the back page of the ARSON issue was a quote from the Anglican Dean, the Reverend Harold Crichlow:
"Unless free and fair elections were carried out in the near future, the Dean warned, another form of oppression even more dangerous to the freedom of the individual would occur."
18 May 1979 issue - A "Torchlight" reporter had his camera seized.
1 July 1979 issue - "Grenada's marijuana smokers are angry. And Grenadians tuned in to Radio Free Grenada late . . . must have found it hard to believe their ears when the Disk Jockey uttered words to this effect, as he touched on what he rightly called a controversial topic at home-no less than the question of marijuana smoking."
"The 'Brothers' the DJ revealed, are displeased over the recent raids on two homes in the St. Patricks area, which resulted in the seizure of a number of marijuana plants."
"Continuing to explain the present record of the local weed-man, the comrade-announcer pointed out that after all, it was marijuana smokers who took up arms on March 13 to fight for the Revolution, intimating that they are justified at being annoyed over what is in fact the first reported search for marijuana cultivations since the armed overthrow of the Gairy Government three and a half months ago."
" . . . reports of veiled threats by local herbsmen in the light of recent raids have been filtering into The Torchlight."
1 July 1979 issue - The Torchlight reprinted an early June. 1979, article from a West German mass-circulation magazine, "Die Bunte," that claimed that a naval base is being built in Grenada for Russian warships and that the island has had "mysterious visitors, Cubans and Russians." It also said that American reconnaissance planes have discovered that "in the interior of this island vast areas of forest have been cut down and these areas are interconnected by roads."
The article included an Editor's Note at the foot of the reproduced story. The editor said, "We know of Raimund Harmstorf's visits to the island and of the presence of a few Cubans, but, as far as the other claims made in the article go, the 'Torchlight' cannot substantiate."
15 July 1979 issue - "Reports reaching the 'Torchlight' indicate that three persons including an American woman [Mary Elizabeth Andrew] and the brother of a political detainee are presently under PRA arrest for reasons not yet understood."
22 July 1979 issue - Out of Bounds - "Residents of Calivigny & Westerhall areas are worried."
"So said a usually trustworthy source in a telephone conversation with our Reporter on Wednesday."
"The mood of the residents, according to the source, is attributed to the increased military activity in Petit Calivigny, a peninsular encompassing more than 300 acres of land on the SE coast of the island, adjacent to Calivigny Island."
"As reported, the area is being used to train soldiers of the People's Revolutionary Army and is out of bounds to the public."
"Our source stated it is his belief that the PRA intends to set up a military case there."
"But according to him, the fact that the zone is out of bounds, has not been gazetted, and this could have dangerous repercussions."
"Meanwhile it was learnt that PRA members have been paying visits to Calivigny Island from time to time."
"However, when contacted, Mr. Ken Milne, who is supposed to be the owner of the property, said he was uncertain as to what is going on on the island."
31 July 1979 - Acting Editor of the Torchlight, Nick Joseph, leaves his post to study journalism in the US. Newly appointed Acting Editor is Grenadian Mark Julien.
5 August 1979 issue - Editorial - THE PRICE OF TRUTH
"This newspaper has noted with concern the condemnation and threats which have come from official quarters about a story which appeared in our publication of July 22, and which we consider a legitimate news story."
"Our position as an independent newspaper serving a free society is well known. Indeed, we have incurred that wrath and vilification of the now deposed Government because of this commitment to truth. The positions we took then have since been fully justified by events and there are many in our society who tell us that the events of March 13 could never have occurred without the role played by this newspaper."
"We have made it clear from the outset that we support the People's Revolutionary Government. We continue to do so but this cannot be at all costs."
"Shortly after the PRG was installed our then editor sought guidelines from the Prime Minister and was assured that the press should continue to operate freely. Indeed the Prime Minister is on record as promising even greater freedom to the society."
"We have therefore taken him at his word while recognising that some measure of restraint is necessary in the peculiar circumstance in which the Country now finds itself. On one occasion in the past we were accused of an error of judgement and we apologized for it."
"This new indictment is however a horse of a different colour. We have sought guidelines in the absence of a constitution and they have not been given. We have carried a story which we believed to be valid and of legitimate news interest and we are now pilloried in the worst way."
"We must therefore point out to the Government that if they want us to operate within certain guidelines they must tell us what they are. In the a absence of such guidelines continued harassment of this newspaper could lead to conclusions which we are still not prepared to draw."
10 August 1979 issue - PEACE CORPS DEPORTED
"An American Peace Corps (sic), teaching at Boca Junior Secondary School was deported last Friday morning by Security Forces, according to a Government release."
The Release states that on three occasions the previous night the Peace Corps member 'disrupted a political meeting at Boca which was organised by the NJM.' The American citizen, as stated, continued to interfere with the smooth process of the meeting even though he was warned by the crowd present."
"The release stressed no Peace Corps volunteer is supposed to be involved in political activities, far less subversive activities, in countries where they are placed."
"It continued, it is reported that chemicals that can be use in the manufacture of bombs were stolen from the Boca Junior Secondary School a few weeks ago. This matter is still being investigated to discover the culprit."
3 October 1979 issue - "Rastas in Grenada intend to soon seek representation in the PRG. The Rastas feel they deserve such representation because they were 'frontline warriors and leading Freedom Fighters in the Revo' which toppled the Eric Gairy government on March 13."
"They are also claiming that they should have a voice in the shaping of Government policies, especially those relating to culture . . ."
3 October 1979 issue - Winston Whyte, Chair, Grenada People's Action Labour Movement [PALM] - 35 years old.
" . . . said he understood that the PRG announced at a public meeting that he was the leader of a 'subversive and destabilisation force' operating against the government.'
"Whyte said . . . his younger brother [Graves], an Agriculturalist, was picked up by the PRG six weeks ago and held in detention in jail without any charge preferred against him."
"'My brother, who has never been involved in politics, has not been allowed to communicate with anyone. None of his closest relatives, even, has been permitted to see him,' said Whyte."
"He estimated there were about 90 political detainees held in jail on circumstances many of them similar to his brothers."
10 October 1979 issue - RASTAS TO PROTEST
The "Torchlight" printed a strong graphic picture of the Rasta, drawn by Ras Daniel Hartman of Jamaica, on the front page of its newspaper, and below this picture said:
"Rastafarians in Grenada are likely soon to take to the streets in massive numbers to protest the debarment of Rasta children from schools and the arrests and charges for ganja smoking. This was told to Torchlight by JoJo, when they visited our office
yesterday . . ."
"The Rastas, according to these spokesmen, would like to know why the PRG is holding on to power for so long and what has become of the election promises. Local Rastamen have been holding weekly Nyabinghis over the past five weeks and it was at one of these gatherings at Gouayve Park last Saturday that they decided that the PRG was anti-Rasta."
The article continued later--- "'We are not supporters of Cuba and Russia, we see (these countries) as enemies of Rasta, since they do not acknowledge Rastafarian doctrine, The Twelve Tribes of Israel congratulate Torchlight for its brave stand in this time.'"
It was on 12 October 1979 that journalist Eslee Carberry was a passenger in a boat in St. George's harbor, taking usual trip with his latest 'Westindian Crusader' newspaper copy to St. Vincent and on to Barbados where the paper was printed. Although Carberry had written permission from Grenada's Special Branch and all was clear with the Immigration Officer, the boat was stopped by a member of the People's Revolutionary Army and a stevedore who claimed to be a security officer. One of the two said: 'Carberry cannot leave.' After a back and forth, eventually the boat continued its schedule with Carberry aboard.
13 October 1979 - In the absence of Bishop, Bernard Coard, as Acting Prime Minister, shut down the "Torchlight."
Following the "Torchlight" shutdown correspondent Alister Hughes interviewed D.M.B. Cromwell who said Austin was offended by the Rasta story. Cromwell told Austin the article was an interview, which quoted two Rastafarians and the article made that clear.
Cromwell, the "Torchlight" Managing Editor said:
"It is surprising to me that the Government has taken action against the Torchlight for opinions expressed by other persons."
20 October 1979 - After Bishop's speech concerning the "Torchlight" for the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce (CAIC), Mr. Mervyn Assam, Second Vice President of the CAIC said
" . . . every Government has the apparatus and machinery to develop Government information programmes, to develop their own political propaganda machinery to counteract any of the distorted views that may be put out by a newspaper, and to use it as a countervailing power, as a forum within the society to debate issues and ideas."
20 October 1979 - The Grenada National Party (GNP) press release commented on the closure with the point that a greater wrong on a lesser one does not make it right.
Another point made referred to the legal entity of the ownership of the "Torchlight." The press release asked how the newspaper could be 'democratised' without acquiring it legally?
21 October 1979 - Roman Catholic Bishop Sydney Charles issued a pastoral letter on the Ban Imposed by the People's Revolutionary Government on the "Torchlight" Newspaper, to be read in all churches and chapels on that Sunday.
The Bishop [Charles] expressed
"total disagreement with the action taken by the People's Revolutionary Government . . . The silencing of any newspaper in a country is always a matter of grave concern, but, more so in our situation since the newspaper silenced in the only one without political affiliation . . ."
13 October 1979 - The "Torchlight" was shut down.