The Grenada Revolution Online

Bishop Speech - To Aruba's Socialist Conference
on Aruba's National Day, No. 1 - (19 March 1981)

On behalf of our party, the New Jewel Movement, our Government and the people of Grenada, I want to thank M.E.P. (the Electoral Movement of the People of Aruba), for extending such a generous invitation for me and my delegation to be here.

I extend the fullest fraternal, cordial and sincerest best wishes and congratulation tot he leaders, founders, officers and members of M.E.P. on the outstanding occasion of ten [10] years of your founding as a popular people’s party.

We congratulate you also on the occasion of five years of the launching of a flag and an anthem of the proud people of Aruba.

The formation of a popular people’s party, and the launching of both a flag and an anthem signify most clearly to all the world that the people of Aruba are indeed serious and committed to the forward march for self–determination and independence.

In Grenada you must know, that the people of Aruba have a very deep assurance that in us they will always have a true friend, a true ally, and a true supporter.

I am particularly happy and enthusiastic to be here, because we in the party and Government of Grenada have a deep commitment to the process of Caribbean independence and liberation, and as importantly, to Caribbean integration, solidarity and cooperation.

It is our very firm view, that though we were colonialized by different masters, and therefore have had different colonial experiences which have served to divide and separate us in order to rule us better, we are essentially and fundamentally one Caribbean people: hard–working, patriotic, democratic, progressive, anxious to have a better life, anxious to develop our own processes free from all forms of outside direction.

Under colonization, we were taught different languages, different European cultural traditions and we were encouraged to ape our respective masters.

In addition, the long and bitter rivalries between colonial powers themselves, ensured that we did not have much opportunity for contact with each other.

Thus, they carved up our region, and gave rise to artificial differences of language and alleged cultural difference, strengthened no doubt by our geographic separation.

But many island states (such as the Seychelles and the Bahamas - with some 600 islands) have shown that geographic barriers are in fact surmountable.

Indeed, you the six [6] members of the Federation of the Netherland Antilles have given the world the next proof that despite geographical separation, you are committed to and can, in fact, work together in the interest of all the people of the six [6] islands.

And it is for this and other reasons, that we believe that part of the process of regaining our sovereignty in the Caribbean must include the struggle to remove all artificial barriers.

Thus, one of our main concerns as an English–speaking Caribbean country is to actively develop the closest possible ties and cooperation with the Dutch–speaking, the French–speaking, the Spanish–speaking, and indeed American–speaking sister islands.

To this we are committed as a party, as a Government and as a people.

I am particularly happy also today to be here, because this, in effect, has become a mini–gathering of the Socialist International.

It has provided an opportunity therefore to meet with some friends from the old days, in particular to meet once again with Comrade Gallardo of Guatemala, a comrade who has been in the forefront of his own struggle, a man who has given his entire life to the struggle for his people, a man therefore this entire conference, I am sure, will want to go on record as recognising the tremendous contribution that he has made over the years.

This conference also provides for me an opportunity to meet with the distinguished and illustrious Secretary General, Brother [Bernt] Carlsson of the Socialist International.

In approaching the question of development, we see it as an ongoing scientific activity, having as its primary goals the attainment of the fullest social, cultural, spiritual, political and economic  potential of any people.

Particularly for poor, exploited and oppressed countries of the world, we see the task of development as one having both a political and economic dimension, and we say clearly then, that there is an unbreakable link between economic transformation and political independence.

For us, there is a clear link between the price we pay for essential goods and services, and the political outlook of the ruling party of any country.

Hence, we are convinced that there can be no strict separation between politics and economics.

The two, inextricably linked, give rise to the political economy of development.

Indeed, this approach to the question of development is indispensable to our very survival, being as we are, countries with long histories of colonial exploitation, backwardness and underdevelopment.

And, therefore, in any genuine effort to go forward, raising the standard of living for our people, moving from ignorance, superstition, illiteracy, backwardness and widespread poverty, to jobs, decent housing and all the basic human needs of our people, we must register the greatest possible political unity as poor nations in the struggle for economic and social justice.

Small island states, such as Grenada, and no doubt Aruba, are characterised by a variety of features considered “normal” for poor underdeveloped countries. These include:

1. very low and generally grossly uneven per capita incomes;

2. a low level of scientific and technological development, as well as;

3. a lack of institutions and organizations designed for modern production.

In addition, small island states obviously have small land sizes and small resource bases; countries falling into this category generally have a land sixe no larger than 500 sq. miles (approximately 1,200 sq. km.)

The limitations of such small land base are many, including the need for much stricter economic and social use of the limited land.

Land use policies are therefore often indispensable to orderly housing, agricultural, recreational, and other developmental needs.

As we meet here to consider the political and economic development of our micro–states, we must know that the world economy is riddled with an economic crisis of massive proportions.

In its more recent report on the world economic situation, the International Monetary Fund [IMF] begins with the statement that, “The world economic picture is rather grim.”

The international monetary and economic crisis in the industrial western world is manifested in many ways:

1. Unemployment of phenomenal proportions;

2. Runaway inflation;

3. Prolonged decline in industrial output;

4. There is also the worsening of the balance of trade, especially for the developing countries. It is accelerating at a rate faster than recovery is possible.

5. Further world–wide environmental decay and industrial pollution of land, of air, of sea, of rivers.

6. There is too the deterioration of the rural poor in particular in developing countries; illiteracy rates are actually increasing in some of there countries among women. Malnutrition, famine, and hunger are also on the rise.

We in Grenada recognise the tremendous obstacles that we face, particularly as in addition to the economic crisis we also have to contend with increasing military threats and destabilisation of all forms against our country.

Yet, our experience over 2 years has been concrete proof that it is possible to move forward and to make progress even in the face of adversity.

How is this possible?

Our experience has taught us that if the following guidelines are observed, then progress is possible even in the face of the most tremendous odds.

1.       Always be honest with the people. Always tell the people the fact. Never attempt to fool the people. Never make the people believe that manna will fall from heaven. Always attempt to raise their consciousness as to the reality of the world, the reality of our region, the reality of their own economy and in particular the difficulties that lie ahead.

We in Grenada are quite convinced that peace, peace in the world and peace in the region, is essential for our development.

There can be no peace if there is rampant poverty, backwardness and plunder of the poor of the world.

Equally, there can be no development without peace.

Because the resources of the world, the vast resources of the world, must be used for the poor, the hungry, the sick, the handicapped, the dispossessed of the world, we must have peace if we are to attain and maintain peaceful development and progress.

Grenada seeks no quarrels, Grenada seeks no interferences, for we have a firm belief in peaceful co–existence, in good neighbourliness, in mutual respect for all; we believe firmly and passionately in the legal equality of all states regardless of size, in territorial integrity and in sovereignty.

We believe that we have a right to live in peace.

We have a right to develop our own resources for the benefit of our own people, and not for the benefit of a tiny handful of transnational corporations around the world.

We believe we have a right to build our own economy, free from the strings of foreign aid dependency.

We have aright to live a life free from the threat of military power, nuclear threat, and destruction of our land and sea resources.

We have a right to develop relations with whomever we want as long as the people of our countries want these relations.

We have a right to be free of tensions, free of fears, free of instability, free of the threat of mercenary or other invasions, free of terrorism

This is why Grenada in November 1979, initiated in the Organization of American States [OAS], a resolution calling on all in the region to strictly respect the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace.

We want to repeat today:

Our call for disarmament,

Our call for detente,

Our call for resumption of Salt II talks,

Our call for peaceful co–existence and mutual respect for all countries.

And, Mr. Chairman, today in Aruba on your soil, on this historic occasion, in the presence of so many illustrious fighters for the rights of their people, Grenada firmly renews this call and pledges to do all in our power to obtain these lofty objectives.

As we say in Grenada:

A people that is united, conscious, organised, and vigilant can never be defeated.

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