The Grenada Revolution Online

Bishop Speech - Address to Nation
(5 October 1980)

National Broadcast, Radio Free Grenada

Sisters and Brothers of Free Grenada,

We are faced with a very serious situation in our country at this time. Many of you may not realize exactly how serious the situation is because throughout it all the life in our country is continuing as usual, more and more benefits have been coming to our people, and, indeed, especially this month, the Revolution has been moving forward with increasing strength and purpose, as the new cooperatives being to develop, the health service improve, more and better education is being provided, as new community projects are being undertaken every day all over the country and our mass literacy campaign—the CPE programme—gains strength and vigour.

However, counter-revolution is on the rise, and I want to share with you tonight, the P.R.G.’s understanding of what is happening, and why.

In recent weeks we have seen a sudden increase in all sorts of rumours, lies and slander against the Revolution and its leadership.

As part of an organised campaign of counter-revolution, these lies are being spread both by word of mouth and through pamphlets.

Any close look at the rumours reveals that they are sheer and utter nonsense.

For instance, at a time when Comrade Hudson Austin is inspecting army camps, and speaking at public meetings in various parts of the country, rumour says he is in jail!

Even while Comrade Bernard Coard is representing our country at important finance meetings in Bermuda and Washington, rumours say his passport has been taken away and he cannot leave the country.

Another most foolish rumour is that the P.R.G. would like to sell the International Airport to the Canadians, but the Cubans say no. While, of course, any sensible person knows that a country does not sell its airport to any other country.

There is another rumour which says President Fidel Castro of Cuba sent down two hundred more workers to Grenada and I sent back one hundred, saying that we could not take all, and that Comrade Fidel sent them back, saying “who you think is boss”? Well, even I had to laugh at that one.

Rumours, Sisters and Brothers, dozens of them on the street each day. Rumours have always been spread about our party since long before our Revolution, with the aim of weakening us, but not one of these has yet come true.

Where are the discos that Gairy said we would make of the churches is we were in power? And remember how he said we would kill all Grenadians over 40?

We laugh at those rumours now, but we must remember what the basic aim of such rumours always is—that is, to confuse and demoralize our people.

Since the Revolution we have observed, and it is important to remember now, that a wave of rumours and other destabilising activity has always come just before any manor attempt at turning back our Revolution.

Remember the rumours which were spread before the De Raviniere plot last November? - that people between 18 and 40 years would not be permitted to leave the country?

That Cde. Coard and I were fighting each other.

These and many other rumours led up to their plot to burn down St. George’s, take over army camps with the assistance of mercenaries, and to kill not only the leadership of the country but also a large number of ordinary peace-loving Grenadians.

And let us remember also that a list of all the rumours, discovered at De Raviniere’s home, proved that they were carefully planned out and planted among our people. Exactly the same activity is being organised again at this time.

But this time around, they are organizing more carefully and with greater external help and financing. For side by side with lying rumours spread by word of mouth, we have seen the distribution of thousands of copies of a pamphlet which spreads the same lies in written form.

More seriously, however, sisters and brothers, we have experienced, during the past three weeks, the rise of violence; violence undertaken by a section of the same group which is spreading the rumours and the pamphlets, violence being carried out by remnants of the same criminal gang which planted the bomb in Queen’s Park on June the 19th, which killed 3 of our innocent sisters and wounded dozens of our people.

Sisters and brothers, you will remember that some of those same elements shot and seriously injured an army soldier and a militiaman in St. Patrick’s within weeks of the Queen’s Park bombing.

Now within the past 3 weeks some of those same elements have attempted to burn down the Magistrate’s Court in Grenville in St. Andrew’s, through the use of a gasolene bomb, and have attacked a militia camp in St. David’s.

This violence moved to an even more serious stage when, only last week, in the early hours of Saturday morning, they set off a bomb in the Madeys/Morne Fendue area of St. Patrick’s; a bomb which was so powerful that it was heard, and its vibrations were felt, over a wide area of the parish.

But what was particularly sinister was that, for the first time in Grenada, the Bombers left a note in which they promised war, unless all the Cuban workers assisting us in building Grenada were sent home within 3 days.

Now while all of this has been happening locally, let us also be aware of how these activities are linked with, and supported by, events abroad.

Even while the bomb was being set in St. Patrick’s - a bomb which was expensive to make and which required gelignite which cannot be obtained locally very easily - the former dictator Gairy was trying to hold a meeting in New York.

This is the same criminal whom we would like to have in Grenada to face the judgment of the people.

This is the same Gairy who is on radio constantly in the United States saying he is coming back by any means possible.

This is the same Gairy whom the United States Government says it doesn’t want, but at the same time won’t return to our people for his judgment.

What are the circumstances under which Gairy tries to hold his meeting in New York. He is introduced by a man called Theodore Britton, whom some of you would remember was, up to a few short years ago, the Ambassador from the United States of America to Grenada and the Eastern Caribbean.

A former Ambassador sharing a platform with a criminal wanted for murder and attempted murder! What are we to make of that?

And when the masses turn out in their hundreds to express their contempt for Gairy and their solidarity with the Grenadian people and Revolution, twelve carloads of American policemen are sent to protect him from the anger of Grenadians and other Caribbean people and Americans themselves - living in the United States.

Another interesting and important point to note is that two enemies of the Revolution who as a result of our extreme - and, as it turns out, mistaken - generosity and humanity who were released from detention a few months ago, also had an important role to play in Gairy’s meeting.

These two known CIA agents, Stanley Cyrus and James Herry, were key organizers for that meeting!

These two who always stated that they would die before they allowed Gairy to resume power, Herry who tried to take command of a militia camp, Cyrus who is wanted in connection with the murder of our sisters in Queen’s Park on June 19th together played an active part in trying to mobilize people to come out to Gairy’s abortive New York meeting.

What opportunists these characters are!

Let us be conscious, sisters and brothers, of what this means in terms of the clear links between Gairy, the CIA, and the local counter-revolutionaries.

Sisters and brothers, what is the meaning of this new round of counter-revolutionary activity? What does it all add up to?

The most obvious point is the growth of terrorism in our country. The use of terror is a dangerous new step in this quiet and peaceful land of ours.

The death and injury of so many of our citizens at Queen’s Park on June 19th reminds us all too well of the meaning of terrorism. The first thing that we must note, therefore, is the real possibility of terrorism developing in a serious way in our country.

Secondly, besides killing and maiming, their aim is to spread general confusion in our country, to divide our people, to divert the energies of our people from their present work of building their community, building our economy and building our nation together.

Let us analyse thirdly, sisters and brothers, the motives of these counter-revolutionary elements. Is it their objective to take away from the people the benefits that the Revolution has brought to them? Is that their intention?

Let us consider, for example, what it would mean to our people’s lives to lose the benefits which they have received just in the past fourteen days.

Think of the drastic cut from secondary school fees from $37.50 to $12.50 a term, together with other substantial improvement in the field of education.

Think of the provision of free medical and dental care for our people at hospitals, visiting stations and Health Centres throughout Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique for the first time in our history.

Think of the opening of the new secondary school - the Bernadette Bailey Secondary School in Happy Hill, that being only the second government school to be established after 400 years in our country.

Apart from these, we can see in agriculture many more plants being provided to our farmers. We can see new factories being established for our people, the Coffee Processing Plant at Telescope in St. Andrew’s and the new Agro-Industrial Factory about to be opened.

These developments are clearly in the interest of our farmers, our workers, our housewives, of all of our people. If the resources of our country, our labour and our materials are to be used to repair damage done by terrorists and counter-revolutionary elements, if we have to keep repairing Court Houses for example, then this will slow down the building of our economy.

And clearly, this is one of the aims of these counters to slow down our process of national reconstruction and development.

Comrades, it has always been our position as party, and continues to be our position as Government that the resources of our country must be developed by the people of our country.

In other words, only we and we alone can truly build our process. But at the same time as we build our economy, we do need specialists from outside.

Today, because of the international respect which our country commands, we have in our country specialists from several agencies and countries.

One such country, of course, is Cuba. In fact many of the numerous benefits which our people have received and are receiving, have come from the selfless assistance of the government and people of Cuba.

Cuba is a country that has shown, in no uncertain terms, its support, its solidarity with and for our Revolution and our people.

Remember in the early days of and weeks of our Revolution it was Cuba who made it possible for us to be really able to defend ourselves from any mercenary invasion.

Cuba subsequently loaned us twelve doctors and dentists and we must contrast this with the colonialists and the imperialists who have never sent a single doctor or dentist to our country, but instead have always and continue today to keep taking away from us those few doctors and dentists that our limited resources are able to train.

In the space of a few months of the Revolution, our Cuban friends came to help us to build an international airport, an airport which will bring tremendous economic and social benefits to our country.

Tomorrow in fact, a further 80 Cuban workers will be arriving in our country to assist in building the Point Salines Airport. At the same time, 35 Cuban airport construction workers who have completed their assignments, will be returning to Cuba tomorrow.

In other words, the agreement we have with the Government of Cuba is that they will lend us their skilled workers to help us to do the work that our workers cannot do at this time, while at the same time, their workers will train our workers to be able to perform those functions. And as fast as they complete these very important assignments, they will return to their homeland with our deepest and most fraternal appreciation for their very valuable contribution to the building of our country.

Can you imagine, sisters and brothers, how many millions of dollars we would have had to spend if we had to buy all the necessary machinery ourselves, pay the required number of foreign skilled workers, obtain the necessary designs and drawings and rely on a straight commercial contract to have our airport built?

The figure would certainly already have been somewhere around 100 million dollars, and that would certainly have meant that the project would not have gotten off the ground, and would have remained - as it has done for the past 25 years - as another ‘impossible dream’.

Or consider what the cost of the assistance we have been receiving in water developments and in medical and dental assistance to mention just two more areas, would have been if our Cuban friend had not come to our assistance.

Consider too that the price of sugar in our country would have been the same price as in other islands of the Caribbean, that is to say, between $1.25 and $1.35 a pound instead of our local price of .67˘ per pound.

This price would not have been what it is if the people and government of Cuba had not come to our assistance in this area by sending us hundreds of tons of sugar free of cost and selling us hundreds of more tons at a greatly reduced cost.

Yet the counter-revolutionary elements do not attack the bombers, do not attack the terrorists, do not attack the arsonists or the imperialists or Gairy, but they attack precisely those who are helping us to build our country and to develop our economy.

I am sure by now you would have realized that these attacks on Cuba are not accidental but are very consciously aimed at trying to get our people to turn against precisely those who are helping us the most.

The counter-revolutionaries and the imperialists understand very well how important Cuban solidarity and assistance to our country has been, and continues to be, to the task of building our economy.

They understand very well that one of the best ways in which they can turn back our Revolution is precisely if they are able to break or to weaken the present unshakeable link and bond between our government and people and the government and people of Cuba.

That is also why they are trying to fool our people through their rumours, into believing that the leadership of our country is now against the presence of Cubans in Grenada, and that we are actually trying to organize demonstrations against them.

Nothing of course could be further from the truth, the truth is that our relations with Cuba are better than ever, our admiration for and friendship with Comrade Fidel Castro is stronger than ever.

And our need, desire and appreciation for their fraternal and unselfish assistance is firmer than ever.

The reactionaries may as well stop their childish attempts to fool and confuse our people on this question. Imperialism was not able to succeed in this and neither will our local reactionaries.

Our Revolution will continue to go forward in anti-imperialist solidarity, cooperation and friendship with the Cuban Revolution, even though we recognise very clearly, just like the Cubans do, that in the final analysis, regardless of how much assistance we receive from whatever source only we, only we the Grenada people can build the Grenada Revolution.

Sisters and brothers, we must also ask and answer the question  - why is counter-revolution rising back up at this time? From what we have been able to pick up from the people over the last few days, more and more people are asking themselves this question.

They are saying ‘but how come these people starting to play the fool again?’ at exactly the same time that the Cooperative Movement is getting off the ground and the CPE programme is picking up steam.

In other words, at exactly the same time that they are seeing more education and more production going on. Sisters and brothers, there are at least four reasons for the activities of these counter-revolutionary elements at this time.

First, we must always remember, as we have always said, that Revolution breeds counter-revolution, that the stronger the Revolution becomes, that the more the revolutionary process advances, the more you will find one or two unpatriotic, undemocratic reactionary power-seeking opportunists and agent elements who will oppose the Revolution.

This is a natural law of the Revolution. This law will always be with us. Most of the small minority elements that have lost special privileges and advantages, which they were enjoying because of corruption, will always oppose the Revolution.

Those who support imperialism and believe that it is the right of big countries and their big greedy companies to continue to suck our lifeblood will always oppose the Revolution.

The imperialist governments and their big companies who feel threatened by the potential of the Revolution to use our resources for our people and our country’s development and not for their own enrichment, will also always oppose the Revolution.

The power seekers, the opportunists who want persona, individual gains and benefits for themselves, and the ultra-leftists who believe that Revolution is like instant coffee that can be made overnight - all of these elements will also continue to oppose the Revolution.

And naturally enough in their opposition these external and internal reactionaries will always look for ways of ganging together to try to roll back our process, to try to restore the rule of puppets in the service of imperialism.

Therefore, the first reason (and this we could say is a permanent over-riding reason) is that there will also be a very tiny minority of counter-revolutionary elements who for different reasons will always be looking for ways to overthrow the Revolution and to seize power for themselves and their imperialist external backers.

The second point - we must realize that it is clear to these elements that the Revolution remains sound and healthy and is continuing to move forward at a rapid pace to bring more benefits to our people.

Just in the past few weeks, (as we have said), they would have seen, felt and heard of the benefits that this Revolution has brought.

The bringing of these daily benefits frightens the counter-revolutionaries and makes them wonder how much longer they can afford to wait before making another grab for power.

They recognise very clearly that more time means more benefits, that more benefits mean more strength and support for the Revolution.

That more support means greater organization, that greater organization means greater unity and the prospect of the further deepening and development of the revolutionary process, therefore, frightens these elements.

The third point, sisters and brothers, is that these counter-revolutionary elements are always examining the situation, they are always trying to see how far they can go, when they can move, what they can get away with, where and how they made mistakes, why they failed in the past.

They look back at the De Raviniere plot which failed, they look back also at the [Kenneth] Buck Budhlall gang attempts which also failed, they look back at the Cyrus + Herry propaganda offensive which also failed and they discover from these failures that they were beaten and crushed easily because those elements had no support among the people, and because there was not even the appearance of opposition or sufficient confusion in the country.

So this time around they are hoping to correct those errors! They are trying to pretend that the Opposition to the Revolution is building, that counter-revolutionary activities are not just localized but are being spread all around our country.

Obviously, their advisers have told them that this is a good tactic, that it is important to create an appearance of much opposition activity. So this same small band is putting out pamphlets and spreading it all around the country to make it appear that there are several pamphlets.

They are creating and spreading dozens of rumours and pushing them all over the country to make it appear that these rumours are coming from several different people.

They are causing terror and violence, not only in St. Patrick’s but also in St. Andrew’s and in St. David’s, again with the aim of making it appear that there is widespread opposition to the Revolution.

They hope in this way to give the impression that hundreds are involved when this is clearly not the case.

They hope to create a lot of chaos, confusion, demoralization, division, violence, all over the country and get their reactionary friends abroad - Gairy in New York, the Trinidad Express, the Barbados Advocate and Radio Antilles in the region to come out and back them.

And they are doing all of this so that when they come with their next attempt at a violent overthrow, it will look like if there was more justification for it.

Sisters and brothers, as a result of all of this, these elements are more desperate than ever before. Time is running out for them, they still cannot get the people to support them, they still cannot find an individual to lead them openly and publicly, so they are forced to admit that they have failed to get the people’s support and they have moved instead to take revenge on the people by bombs, by murder, by violence, by the killing of innocent women and children at random.

Obviously, it must be the task of the Revolution to now make sure that these criminal elements are seriously and firmly dealt with, that their murderous ambitions are stifled.

The question is “how can we do this?”

One way is to pass firmer laws to deal with terrorists and counter-revolutionaries who use violence to further their political ends.

This we have now done by the passage of the Prevention of Terrorism Law [gazetted 3 October 1980; amended 24 October 1980] which provides the legal basis or dealing very firmly with these counter-revolutionary elements when they are caught, tried and found guilty in our Courts.

Secondly, we must firmly ensure the success of every single programme of our Revolution. The CPE programme is fundamentally important to the development of our country.

If we are to build our economy, if we are to be productive, every Grenadian must know how to read and write.

How can our people produce jams and jellies or process coffee and cocoa if we cannot read or write?

How are we going to operate the machines for our factories if we do not learn to read and write? We must understand that we cannot build our economy or develop a free and productive country if one tenth of our people do not know how to read and write.

We cannot build a free nation if 10% of our people are still mentally enslaved, we must therefore give our fullest support to the CPE programme.

It is especially through the development of agriculture and agro-industries that we can build our economy and deal seriously with the problems that [is] the unemployment situation in our country.

[Side 2. suggests the transcript is from a recording]

This is why it is so important that we ensure that our people form cooperatives to increase production and to push our economy forward.

Only last week, the very first such cooperative was launched in Duquesne, Requin, St. David’s [and] we must now make sure that more and more cooperatives are formed.

We must also make sure that our programme of good health care for all communities and our house repair programme are successful.

Our Revolution has made tremendous gains since the 13th of March last year. However, local counter-revolution aided by its foreign friends is always trying to turn back the progress of our country.

In order to defend our gains and to safeguard our people from mercenary invasion or any violent attack, we must have all our people ready in the militia to be able to defend our country.

It is very important, therefore, to join the Militia to be able to defend and to safeguard the Revolution when the time comes. We must ensure the safety of our people and our Revolution by supporting and working actively in all of the programmes of the Revolution.

Thirdly, sisters and brothers, we must build the mass organisations of the people, we must join these organisations and make them stronger.

If you are a woman, join the National Women’s Organisation, if you are a youth join the National Youth Organisation, if you are between the ages of 6 and 15 join the Pioneers Organisation.

In our villages, we must join the Farmers’ Union and other mass organisations so that more and more of us can become organized and therefore more united.

With greater organisation and unity, we will be able to understand the development of our Revolution, to raise our consciousness and therefore be able to fight back whenever the Revolution is threatened or attacked.

The fact is that the more organised we are and the more united we are, the greater the chance we have of building our country and resisting counter-revolution. Join the mass organisation, therefore, increases our organisation, build our unity.

The fourth task, Comrades, is that we must see the importance of crushing rumours wherever and whenever we hear them.

Quite often some of us who are patriots, who are supporters of the Revolution allow ourselves to innocently repeat rumours, we must be aware that these rumours are really carefully worked out devices for trying to create confusion, for trying to make us lose confidence in the ability of our Government and our Revolution, to lose confidence in the ability of the leadership to solve the problems of our country.

These rumours are also designed to make us as a people lost confidence in our ability to solve our problems and develop our country.

Rumour-mongering is a serious business. Rumours are aimed at destabilising, they are aimed at making us feel that the leadership is divided and fighting each other, and that our Cuban sisters and brothers are not helping our country to develop.

This, of course, is definitely not true. Our leadership is firm and united, as we have always been, equally our Cuban comrades have been working very hard every day brining free medical attention to our people, helping us to build our international airport, and teaching and sharing their skills with our Grenadian workers - vital skills which our workers do not now have but are rapidly acquiring.

Whenever we hear these rumours - whenever and wherever we hear them - crush them immediately, do not give them a second of life.

Fifthly, sisters and brothers, we must organise to show concrete support for our Revolution at all times. Whatever organisations we belong to - be they Trade Unions, church groups, community work brigades, the Jaycees or other service clubs, Mothers Unions, Friendly Societies, whatever organisation, let us write letter to the Radio Stations, the newspapers (both local and foreign), let us pass resolutions and sign petitions in support of the Revolution and condemning the recent acts of destabilisation and terrorist violence in our country.

By demonstrating your concrete support in this way, this will certainly help to build our Revolution and to beat back the lies in the foreign press.

Finally, we must all become the eyes, the ears and the nose of the Revolution. We must all become, in a practical and concrete way, the guardians of our Revolution.

This is both and easy and yet a difficult task because we do not always appreciate how easy it is for us to carry out this particular function.

But think of it, if a counter-revolutionary wants to produce a pamphlet, for example, he has to buy the paper from somewhere, he has to find a typewriter, he has to find a typist to type, he has to find a duplicating machine to roll off the documents he is producing.

He has to, then, find a vehicle to help him distribute them. The vehicle - like the machine, like the typewriter must belong to someone.

Or consider the person who want to go to plant a bomb or to burn a building down. Bombs could be made in any of our communities. In some cases, these elements would need clocks to make them, in other cases they would need gasolene, they would need explosives, they would need detonators, they might need wire.

Again, these things must take place some part of our island. If, therefore, we are vigilant, we are alert, if we understand the possibilities of catching these elements when they are engaged in any of these acts, we can identify them.

Keep a lookout in your area or in your workplace for those elements who are likely to be involved in these counter-revolutionary activities.

And whenever you catch them or suspect them, report them immediately to the Security Forces in your area.

In that way, you can become a guardian of your Revolution and can save the lives of possibly your own family and friends.

So, let me leave you, sisters and brothers, with the assurance that we together hand in hand, strong in unity, strong in our consciousness, strong in our organisation, strong in the benefits that the Revolution can bring and will continue to bring - let us go forward and onward to continue to build a new, free and revolutionary Grenada.

Long live our Revolution!

Long live the People of Free Grenada!

Long live the People’s Revolutionary Government!

Forward ever! Backward never!

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