OBSTACLES TO HEALING AND RECONCILIATION
IN GRENADA AS IDENTIFIED BY THE TRUTH
AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION
THE CONTINUED ABSENCE OF THE REMAINS OF THOSE WHO
WERE EXECUTED ON FORT RUPERT ON OCTOBER 19TH, 1983
The general trend among the majority of persons with whom the Commission interacted, for example:
- Those who came to give evidence and testimony before the T.R.C.;
- Those who attended the public outreach/public hearings of the Commission in different parts of the island;
- Those who sent in memoranda and letters;
- Loved ones and close relatives of those who were killed in the tragedy on Fort Rupert on October 19th, 1983, as well as the relatives and loved ones of those who died as a result of the tragedy of October 19th, 1983 whom the members of the T.R.C. visited;
- Some prominent citizens who were politically involved in the past, and on whom the members of the T.R.C. paid courtesy calls. Although they would have like to do so, unfortunately, the Commissioners were unable to meet with any relatives of the former P.R.G. and P.R.A. official's who are presently incarcerated at the Richmond Hill Prison.
The majority of those people maintained that until and unless the remains of those who died on the Fort on October 19th 1983 are retrieved arid given to their families for burial, then this continued absence of their remains will remain a serious obstacle to national healing and reconciliation in Grenada. In fact, many see this as one of the most serious obstacles to healing and reconciliation in Grenada today.
For example, in the words of Mrs. Alimenta Bishop - mother of the late Maurice Bishop whom the Commissioners visited on August 31st 2002:
I have asked time and time again about the body of Maurice, but no one has told me. Even now, I would like to have my son's body to bury it. How can I console myself without my son's body?
According to Maurice Bishop's sister - Miss Ann Bishop,
There are people who know, who are not talking.
Mrs. Bishop continued:
My pain will be eased if I know what they did to my son, his body - where is it? Some have asked me if it would help if they named the Airport after Maurice. I said, what would help is to have my, son's body.
One can surely hear and appreciate the pain and anguish of this mother, and there are many such mothers in Grenada today.
Echoing similar sentiment, was another anguished mother - Miss Gertrude Isaac, mother of Fitzroy Bain, whom the members of the T.R.C. visited on August 27th 2002. After expressing much pain and anguish, she said:
If I only got the body to bury.
The T.R.C. therefore recommends that those in authority should persistently make serious public appeals, and take some seriously relevant actions nationally, regionally, and internationally to ascertain from those who may know whore those remains are, or what may have happened to them, with the hope that such persons may - even anonymously - divulge what they know. The families of the missing have a right to the remains of their loved ones.