The Grenada Revolution Online

Grenadian Voice

First Issue - 13 June 1981 [Volume 1, No. 1, week ending 13 June 1981]

The first newspaper published as the "Grenadian Voice" was 16-pages, produced on a duplicator. The intent of the publishers, knowing People's Law 81 of 1979, was to conform to that law, to keep within all laws, to have no counter-revolutionary content and be 'deliberately innocuous.' Click here for a complete copy of the first issue of the Grenadian Voice.

The "Grenadian Voice," was owned by Spice Island Printers Ltd. The Group of 26, as the shareholders came to be known by the People's Revolutionary Government (PRG), were shareholders in this private company.

People's Law 81 of 1979, limited ownership by one Grenadian to no more than 4% of the capital of a newspaper. In other words, 25 partners were thus required to operate a newspaper. No foreigner, foreign company or partnership held shares in the company.

A front page editorial was signed by all 26 shareholders. They were

Fitzroy Adams
Denise Campbell
Dennis Forrester
Alister Hughes
Ben Jones
William Minors
Dorothy Paterson
Hudson Scipio
Tillman Thomas
Terrence Cromwell
Charles McIntyre
David Otway
Fred Toppin
Alex Bain
Rawle A. Charles
Dudley Francis
Leonard Hughes
Benedict La Qua
Lloyd Noel
C. Eric Pierre
John Smith
John St. Bernard
Norris Franker
Stephen John
Leslie Pierre
Muriel Spencer

A policy of the newspaper was -

"The policy of this paper is to practise the highest standard of journalism; to encourage and promote freedom of expression in a free Grenada; to raise and ventilate issues which are important to the progress and development of our country, our nation and our people; to assist in creating an informed public opinion; to support those policies and programmes of Government which, in our opinion, are beneficial to the nation and the people as a whole—but to be ready to counsel caution or offer constructive criticism when we differ from Government."

Some of the first issue circulated without interference.

Second Issue - 19 June 1981 - 20 June 1981

At midnight 19 June 1981 (more specifically 12:15 a.m. 20 June), part of the total 300-man security force involved in the incident, surrounded the publishing offices of the "Grenadian Voice."

Two brothers, Eric and Leslie Pierre, were arrested after they refused to unlock their cars. Also taken into custody was Joan Spencer.

These three people were taken to PRA Headquarters at Fort Rupert for questioning. They were released 20 June 1981 after making their statements.

The premises of the "Grenadian Voice" were entered and equipment/supplies were removed. Newspaper issues were confiscated from inside the automobiles of some shareholders.

Four vehicles belonging to the publishers were confiscated; one owned by Eric Pierre, one by Leslie Pierre, one owned by Joan Spencer.

Alister Hughes protested about the search of his vehicle because of no warrant. Newspaper-related items were confiscated from his car during the search.

Telephones belonging to the shareholders were disconnected and not reconnected until November 1981; all except the phone of Alister Hughes.

On this same day, 19 June 1981, People's Law No. 18 of 1981 was passed. The law banned the publication of any new

. . . paper, pamphlet or publication containing any public news, intelligence or report of any occurrence or any remarks or observations thereon or upon any political matter, published for sale distribution or any other purpose . . .

22-24 June 1981 - US International Communications Agency (ICA) Washington, DC Seminar invited Caribbean editors. The main topic was the state of journalism in Grenada.

24 June - 02 July 1981 - Three members of Spice Island Publishers, Inc. - Journalist Alister Hughes, bank manager Norris Franker and Stephen John were banned from leaving Grenada.

Hughes was to attend a Caribbean Press Council (CPC) meeting in Trinidad and was held up by Immigration on an alleged personal income tax issue tied up in appeal.

Meanwhile Lloyd Noel, who had been in London, England since June, was referred to by Bishop as "bawling and talking in advance about freedom of the press" and turning Grenadians in England against the revolution.

Bishop added that Noel had been upstaged by Communications and Works Minister Selwyn Strachan, also in England, who held a meeting allegedly attended by thousands eager to hear the 'Line of the Revolution.'

11 July 1981 - By this time Leslie Pierre was re-arrested, and his fellow shareholders Tillman Thomas and Lloyd Noel were arrested. Stanley Roberts, trade union leader, was also arrested.

All four were charged with being involved in a 'CIA plot to overthrow the government" and were incarcerated for up to two years. See Detainee List

Alister Hughes' home was searched. He was given a warning. His home was under continuous surveillance, and he and his wife were subject to harassment by security forces.

Mid-July 1981 - Three of the original shareholders of Spice Island Printers, Inc. dropped out. They were Norris Franker, David Otway and Dudley Francis; Franker and Otway did so in paid advertisements in the "Free West Indian." Later Dennis Forrester disassociated himself from the so-called "Gang of 26."

In the published editorial "Our Stand On Bishop's Grenada," Rickey Singh of "Caribbean Contact," an organ of the Caribbean Council of Churches, wrote, in part -

" . . . we would like Prime Minister Maurice Bishop to clearly understand this newspaper does not countenance denial of civil liberties in any country, and we strongly favour the Rule of Law and the right to dissent."

14 November 1981 - Alister Hughes' car still had not been returned and his home had been under surveillance.

After the "intervasion," Leslie Pierre republished the "Grenadian Voice" with a first issue on 29 November 1983. This newspaper is no longer being published as of 2013.

PRG/NJM

In a speech "Freedom of the Press and Imperialist Destabilization" given 19 June 1981 by Prime Minister Maurice Bishop, Bishop referred to 14 May 1981:

"And . . . a few weeks ago, when Comrade Radix was in the United States and spoke with the men in charge of Caribbean affairs in the American State Department, a man called Ward was able to tell Comrade Radix that in a few weeks' time a new newspaper will come out in Grenada.

This man, working in the American government in the State Department, as head of the Caribbean section, was able to tell Comrade Radix when a new newspaper would go out because he knew that already CIA agents in the region had spoken to these puppets in Grenada and prepared and trained them for this newspaper they were to launch.

12 June 1981 - The PRG felt the "Grenadian Voice' was sponsored by imperialism and the CIA, especially, according to Payne, "since the paper appeared to have enough capital to distribute thousands of free copies to Grenadian communities overseas."

That the "Grenadian Voice" was on sale was discussed at the Economic Bureau meeting of 12 June 1981. A recommendation that People's Law No. 81 of 1979 be amended was made by Bishop. The addition to this law was that no newspaper could be published prior to the issuance of a PRG media policy.

18 June 1981 - A 4-page pamphlet was published titled "The Revolution Must Be Respected." The pamphlet was printed at the "Free West Indian" and published by the New Jewel Movement. It said, in part:

" . . . after an attempt to publish a newspaper, the PRG announced that no more newspapers are to be published until after a media policy was issued to give guidelines which would keep counter-revolutionary newspapers from being published."

The pamphlet also printed personal information about several of the shareholders.

19 June 1981 - Heroes Day Rally at Queen's Park - Bishop Speech "Freedom of the Press and Imperialist Destabilisation"

On the podium for this rally were Bernard Coard, Unison Whiteman, Kendrick Radix, Vince Noel, the Minister of Health, Fitzroy Bain, Bernard Gittens, Phyllis Coard, a representative of Cuba, Sister Simon, Demo Grant, Hudson Austin, Einstein Louison, Mrs. Alimenta Bishop, Rita Bailey (mother), Jackie Bailey and her sister

Bishop paid tribute to

"Our heroes and martyrs - Fedon, Marryshow, Butler, Alister Strachan, Scotilda Noel, Edith McBain, Jerry Richardson, Rupert Bishop, other heroes and martyrs, Evan [Charles] and [Andy] Courtney and the Stanisclaus brothers, Laurice [Humphrey], Laureen [Phillip], and Bernadette [Bailey] - these martyrs to our cause would be proud today."

and he continued into the speech about "the local counterrevolutionaries and the local reactionaries, the local Committee of Twenty-six."

Bishop listed the specific reasons for closing down the "Grenadian Voice." he said -

It is illegal for five reasons.

The first reason is that they used their own procedure when they tried to create their newspaper company law. That is a legalistic reason, we gave it to them so they can be happy with it. They used the wrong procedure - they must fire Lloyd Noel next time and get a real lawyer.

The second reason is that when the "Torchlight" was closed down the general of the revolution, the Commander of the Revolution Comrade Austin went on the radio and warned these elements that they must not put out a newspaper again until further notice. They have violated the voice of the revolution.

The third reason is that - when, in their second attempt, the "Catholic Focus" was closed down, for the same illegal reasons - we warned them that they must not put out any more papers trying to use illegal means under the Newspaper Act.

The fourth reason is, we have warned them on several occasions that they will have to wait until a media code, a media policy for newspapers, is formulated and implemented before they can bring out any newspaper, and they refused to listen.

And the fifth and most important reason of all: This is a revolution, we live in a revolutionary Grenada, this is a revolutionary condition, and there is a revolutionary legality, and they will have to abide by the laws of the revolution.

When the revolution speaks, it must be heard, listened to. Whatever the revolution decrees, it must be obeyed; when the revolution commands, it must be carried out; when the revolution talks, no parasite must bark in their corner.

The voice of the masses must be listened to, their rules must be obeyed, their ideas must receive priority, their needs must be addressed; when the masses speak, they must be heard. When the revolution orders, it must be obeyed. The revolution must be respected.

20 June 1981 - People's Law 18 of 1981 - the Newspaper (Publications) Law - was made official.

TEMPORARY PROVISIONS FOR PUBLICATIONS UNTIL THE FORMULATION OF NATIONAL MEDIA CODE

A Law to make certain temporary provisions concerning publications until the formulation of a National Media Code. The law banned the publication [for one year] of any new 'paper, pamphlet or publication containing any public news, intelligence or report of any occurrence or any remarks or observations thereon or upon any political matter, published for sale distribution or any other purpose.

22 June 1981 - The statement from Secretary for National Security on the Illegal Publication of the Grenadian Voice, Government Information Service, Grenada, June 22, 1981, was announced earlier. The reasons for closing down the "Grenadian Voice," in part, was -

"Firstly, the owners of this newspaper include the managing director and leading shareholders of the former 'Torchlight' newspaper."

"Secondly, the newspaper violates a clear ruling by the PRG, delivered last year, that no further newspapers were to be published, until a code of media policy had been issued by the Government. That media code has not yet been completed and published, and therefore this ruling stands."

"Thirdly, this group is the same one which, under the name the GNP for reconstruction and liberation issued five counterrevolutionary pamphlets during the past six months. Some of these have called for violence in the country, including the violent overthrow of the government."

"Furthermore, the security forces have concrete proof that at least one of the 26 owners of the 'Grenadian Voice' has been actively involved in a recent plot to attack militiamen and PRG soldiers in St. David's. This person has not so far been arrested because the security forces have been watching him in order to discover all his accomplices in the plot."

By the end of June 1981, Bishop and PRG spokespeople made their points, especially in reaction to a regional newspaper editorial. The Grenada Government Information Service {GIS] published this report: PRG REPLIES TO DAILY GLEANER'S EDITORIAL. It reads in full:

According to a Government official, the People's Revolutionary Government, (PRG), noted the report of the 'Daily Gleaner's' editorial of June 24 [1981], as carried by the Caribbean News Agency (CANA), attacking the PRG for closing the illegal, counter-revolutionary newspaper, 'Grenadian Voice', and for passing a law preventing the publication of any new newspaper in Grenada, until a media policy is formulated.

The PRG also noted that this editorial called for the isolation of Grenada in the region. " . . . out off from the rest of the region", a decision to be taken by the Commonwealth Caribbean Governments.

The PRG Official further noted that a report of the Gleaner's editorial was carried in the June 25 issue of the "Trinidad Express".

However, he said that the PRG was not surprised at this attack from the 'Daily Gleaner' played in the campaign of destabilisation of the Manley Government in Jamaica from 1976-1980, a campaign orchestrated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and United States imperialism.

The 'Gleaner' he recalled, was opposed to National Hero Paul Bogle who, with the small farmers and oppressed labourers, fought valiantly for true freedom, for an end to the plantation system of semi-slavery, for an end to racial oppression, for land and for happiness, in the 1865 Morant Bay Rebellion.

The 'Gleaner' he continued, was opposed to National Hero Marcus Garvey who, in the 1920s, called for, among other things the establishment of an eight-hour work-day, land reform, a minimum wage, workman's compensation laws, rural electrification, rent control and an end to racial oppression.

In 1938, also the 'Gleaner' was opposed to the workers and their leaders in their struggle for higher wages and better working conditions.

The Government Official said that the PRG knew of the 'Gleaner's' opposition to the progressive reforms of the Manley regime, reforms such as the Bauxite Levy, the sugar Workers' Co-operatives, the Maternity Leave Law, the State Trading Corporation, and the introduction of free secondary and tertiary education.

The PRG he said knew, of the 'Gleaner's' close association with the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA), that CIA infiltrated organisation which also played a key role in the overthrow of Salvador Allende, through 'El Mercurio' in Chile.

Against this background, he emphasised that the 'Gleaner' had no interest in the working people of Free Grenada, and therefore, it was not interested in reporting on the benefits of the country's Revolution, such as free education for all children maternity leave law for all working others, a milk distribution programme, a system of free health care for all the people, and the principle of profit-sharing for agricultural workers.

If the 'Gleaner' is so interested in the working people of Free Grenada, why didn't it write an editorial on the US attempts to block funding for our international airport, which will benefit all the Grenadian people, its attempts to stop funds to our country through WINBAN and, most recently, through Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) aid on loans which would exclude Grenada.

If the 'Gleaner' is so interested in the welfare of Grenadians, why didn't it write an editorial when terrorists, incited by imperialism, tried to kill the leadership of the PRG on June 19, last year [1980], by planting a bomb under the steps of the pavilion, which exploded, killing three innocent young women; or on the November 17, 1980, slaughter of five innocent young Grenadian men.

Why didn't the 'Gleaner' write an editorial when CBS-TV of New York carried hours of file every night for seven nights a week, and when Minister of Legal Affairs Kenrick Radix was given only 25 seconds to reply to the lies and distortions, contrary to the US media principle of equal time.

Why doesn't the 'Gleaner' write an editorial on the mercenaries, now openly training in Miami, for Nicaragua and Grenada?

Why doesn't it write an editorial about the links between the CIA and those responsible for the publication of the co-called 'Grenadian Voice'?

We would like to point out that the Grenadian people know the nature of those who comprise the 'Grenadian Voice' committee of 26.

The Grenadian people he said also know very well that the publishers of the so-called 'Grenadian Voice' are merely executing the first stage of a carefully-elaborated CIA plot, aimed at the overthrow of the Grenada Revolution.

They understand very well that this 'Voice' is not the voice of the people of Grenada, but of the CIA and social reaction. They know, without doubt, that this 'Voice' has nothing to do with a murderous plan. [that's what it says folks].

The Grenadian people know that 13 of the 26 are big businessmen or their managers, who continue to exploit and oppress their workers; five are reactionary lawyers, one of whom, like the 'Daily Gleaner', attacked the Maternity Leave Law; that seven of the group owned shares in the counter-revolutionary 'Torchlight', and that several of them a big landowners, who fight, tooth and nail, against workers' rights.

The Grenadian people are also fully knowledgeable of the corruption which characterizes this small minority.

The 'Grenadian Voice', like the 'Daily Gleaner', speaks for the oppressors and the exploiters, the CIA and US imperialism, and not for the working people of Grenada.

The true 'Grenadian Voice' is the voice of the Grenadian people. He concluded.

11 July 1981 - PM Maurice Bishop spoke at the Official Launching of Media Workers Association in Grenada.

31 July 1981 - August 1981 - Radio Free Grenada announced that one Caribbean newspaper did not buy the current campaign against Grenada.

In the published editorial "Our Stand On Bishop's Grenada," Rickey Singh of "Caribbean Contact" - the bulk of the editorial contained details about US destabilisation efforts in the Caribbean. Singh, a regular writer for "Caribbean Contact," an organ of the Caribbean Conference of Churches, criticised reactionary Caribbean media and the US press for launching an anti-Cuban and anti-communist campaign.

For additional and detailed information, please check out these links:

Newspapers - Overview
Gairy and Media
The Spark, 2 February 1975
The Spark, [March 1975]
Torchlight and the PRG/NJM
Radio
Television

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