The Grenada Revolution Online

Bishop Speech - Beat Back Destabilisers:
The Full Weight of the Revolution
Will be Brought to Bear on Them
(18 September 1979) - National Broadcast,
Radio Free Grenada

Sisters and Brothers of Free Grenada,

Today our Revolution is six months and five days old and even our worst enemies have been forced to concede that during this period the Revolution has made impressive gains on all fronts.

More of our people have been able to find jobs over the past six months than at any previous period in recent times; in fact, over 800 new jobs have been created by the Government during this period. Some 20 miles of main roads and feeder roads have been repaired or built during this period, three new community centres are being built, fifty young farmers are right. now being trained at our Mirabeau Agricultural Training Centre and we hope to train another 150 in the next coming months.

Over the next six months we expect that about 100 of our youths will be trained as fishermen on board the fishing vessel given to us by the Cuban Government; 38 students are also about to leave for Cuba to pursue University studies there for degrees in Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Agriculture, Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Science and so forth. Scholarships in the fields of Agriculture and Veterinary Science including modern techniques of artificial insemination have also been obtained from the Government of Kenya. The Government of Tanzania has also given us scholarships in the fields of finance management.

On top of this, because of repayments made by the People's Revolutionary Government (PRG) over the past six months the University of the West Indies, 20 Grenadian students will be able to pursue studies at that University in October and we will also be paying the economic costs for 25 more students who are already at the University.

All this means that something like 109 students will be receiving University or higher education this year - an undoubted record for us. This works out at 1 in every 1,000 of our population going off to University in a single term.

Locally, we have increased by 56 the number of Secondary School Scholarships for our Primary School children and have reduced Secondary School fees by one-third down to $25.00 this term.

In approximately half of all primary schools, children are already receiving lunch meals. All children under 5, and all primary school children are now receiving free milk.

The National Importing Board has also begun to have some impact on the high cost of living, and food prices on some commodities have begun to come down, rice by between 8-10% and sugar by between 16 to 20%, depending on which part of the country you live.

We have also been able to dramatically improve the extent and quality of health care for our people. The twelve Cuban doctors and dentists kindly loaned to us by the Revolutionary Government of Cuba have made a most dramatic impact. Already these outstanding doctors and dentists have attended to well over seven thousand (7,000) patients in Grenada. Carriacou and Petit Martinique.

And, on top of this, we have been able to attract new Grenadian doctors, nurses and public health personnel back home.

Our hospital at last has medicine, sheets and basic supplies. In fact, we we're even able to send some medicines to our hurricane-stricken Dominican sisters and brothers.

The women of our country have already begun to benefit from our proclamation of the principle of equal pay for equal work for women. And all sections, classes and strata of our population have benefitted immensely and released a huge sigh of relief at the ending of brutality by minority elements of the Police Force, the Secret Police, the Mongoose Gang and the old Gairy Army.

On top of this, crime and violence in our communities have been dramatically reduced - in fact by some 75%.

At the same time, the previously forgotten and abandon sisters islands of Carriacou and Petit Martinique have also been receiving our attention.

Carriacou's new airport is three quarters finished and its electricity supply has been vastly improved.

Petit Martinique now has a resident nurse and visiting doctors, and we are working on providing electricity and communication facilities for that island.

Workers are now protected under the Trade Union Recognition Law passed by us, and for the first time in the history of our country working people have the right to form or to join a Trade Union of their choice.

Having abolished the right to exploit, the people of our country are now protected from big profiteers and prices are being carefully watched. At the same time, job victimization and the shameful practice of sexual exploitation of our women in return for jobs have been abolished.

Our people now know that in return for hard work, increased productivity and greater sacrifice, the rewards for all of us would be cheaper food, more work, better health care, more roads, more schools, more community, centres and more scholarships for our children.

The people have therefore responded magnificently to our revolutionary call to join with the Government through voluntary work to build the communities, and the evidence of this can be seen in every parish and in most villages throughout the island at this time where more and more of our people are uniting and organizing to build the new Grenada.

We have also made good our promises to remove Gairy's repressive and dictatorial laws from the law books.

The Newspaper Amendment Act which required the payment of $20,000.00 before newspapers can be published has been abolished.

The Public Order Amendment Act which had in effect banned the use of loudspeakers at public meetings has been abolished.

The law banning the importation. of progressive reading material which severely restricted the right of Grenadians to read has also been repealed.

The Essential Services Act which in real terms took away the right to strike for eleven of the most important categories of workers in our country has also been thrown Into the dustbin of history.

Thus, not only have the basic human rights of Grenadians been restored but indeed new rights, particularly social and economic rights, have been introduced.

Naturally, progressive internal changes must also have a progressive external reflection. Grenadians are justifiably full of pride at the fact that for the first time in our history and our country now has a well defined, principled and honest foreign policy which has gained for our country tremendous international respect during the past six months.

No longer are Grenadians laughed at as being from the UFO country - the land of flying saucers and crazy politicians who believe that they are mystics.

Now, when Grenadians speak abroad, people want to hear our message, and they listen.

Following our successful impact at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference in Lusaka, Zambia, which led to a historic state visit to our country by one of Africa's greatest sons, President Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia.

We made an even bigger impression at the Non-Aligned Movement Conference recently held in Havana, Cuba. There, our country was selected as one of the Vice Presidents of the Conference; we were elected to the Bureau, the executive arm of the Non-Aligned Movement, and Grenada was one of only five countries (out of the 91 full member countries participating) which was called upon to move a vote of thanks at the end of the Conference.

Because of the new respect with which our country is now held we were also able to conclude successful bilateral discussions with the Presidents of Iraq, Algeria, Syria, Panama, Tanzania, Ethiopia and the Foreign Minister of Libya, among others at the Havana Conference. The results of these discussions, and also of discussions held with President Fidel Castro of Cuba, will soon be seen by all Grenadians.

Our call for closer Caribbean co-operation, greater movement of Caribbean peoples to each others' countries, and a firm, independent and non-aligned posture in our relations with the rest of the world have had a deep and resounding impact on the people of the Caribbean.

This is why the Mini- Summit of the Governments of Dominica, St. Lucia and Grenada called by our Government, and the "Declaration of St. George's" which it produced has touched a chord in the minds and hearts of the people of the Caribbean.

This is also why in spite of hostility from the reactionary elements of the Caribbean press and hostility from a few Caribbean Governments, the working people, progressive intellectuals and technocrats of the Caribbean have continued to pour into Grenada to see in what ways they could make a contribution to the building and consolidation of our Revolution.

Like the people of Grenada, the people of the Caribbean also understand that a new experiment, a new process is being attempted in Grenada which can bring social and economic justice and a new way of life for the over-exploited and oppressed masses of Grenada and thereafter the Caribbean.

Yes, sisters and brothers, we have made tremendous strides in the past six months. The new sense of freedom, dignity and national pride is undoubtedly felt by all Grenadians. And without doubt we will continue to go forward to gain more and more successes.

But, we must never forget that there are those in and out of Grenada who would wish to see the Revolution derailed, to see our efforts turned back. These counterrevolutionaries, these saboteurs, these destabilisers are without doubt among us and have used and will continue to use different tools to try to turn back the Revolution.

There are those who have begun to dismiss and lay off their workers so as to give the impression that although a Workers' Government, a People's Government, is now in power, the Government can do nothing to protect the right of workers to job security.

There are also those, like the Manager of Buy Rite, who will begin to harass and intimidate their workers, even to the extent of physically searching their bodies in an absurd attempt to pretend that managers are still above the law.

These and similar activities are calculated to make working people lose confidence in their Government and in-the ability of their Government to protect them against continued acts of harassment and exploitation.

In this way, their willingness to continue to work hard to build the country and safeguard the Revolution will be considerably weakened.

Let me say at this point that we simply wish to advise all such persons that the full weight of the Revolution will be brought to bear on them.

It is now more than ever clear that some newspapers and radio stations in the Caribbean have abandoned all pretence of fair and objective reporting insofar as the Grenada Revolution is concerned.

One good recent example of this, out of several possible choices, is a recent report of an interview done with me by the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper. In that report the Gleaner, which is a well-known destabilising influence in Jamaica, claims that I said that one of the first acts of the People's Revolutionary Government was to pass a Law requiring that newspapers pay $20,000.00 before being able to publish; when what I said in fact, and what is by now well known to everyone in the region, is that one of the first acts of our Government had been to repeal and abolish Gairy's Newspaper Law which had required newspapers to pay $20,000.00 before having the right to publish.

In my view, there is absolutely no chance that this lying report could have been the result of a mistake by the Gleaner.

My comments on this were made at an airport press conference in Kingston, Jamaica on Sunday 2nd September, while on my way to the Non-Aligned Movement Conference in Havana.

There were several reporters present who accurately reported what I had said and so far as I know only the Gleaner had hearing problems.

When a so-called free and responsible newspaper can go to such extremes to lie, distort and fabricate, some idea can be had of the vicious nature of the destabilising campaign which is being directed against the Grenada Revolution by reactionary and backward agents of imperialism in the region.

Grenadians must understand that the Grenada Revolution is seen as a threat to newspapers like these. Under their concept of a free and responsible press, the press had the right to distort, to fabricate, to print and reprint libellous and scurrilous material from inside and outside, to refuse to publish the views of the broad masses, to ignore the work and achievements of progressive Governments and to openly and unashamedly carry the line of reactionaries and other elements serving the interests of imperialism, foreign domination and exploitation.

Several of these newspapers in the region are owned by the same big businessmen and corporations with a vested interest to maintain the cruel, unjust, exploitative and profiteering system that we live under.

For example, the Trinidad Express which has been attacking us quite consistently over the past several weeks is one of the two main owners of the Grenada Torchlight newspaper. They must therefore oppose majority rights, they must oppose attempts to end profiteering and exploitation, they must oppose all attempts at progressive or socialist reconstruction of our societies.

Let us again use the Torchlight to illustrate this point. Compared to the 50 to 100 shares which most shareholders is Torchlight own, one man, Mr. D.M.B. Cromwell, owns 6,902 shares and the Trinidad Express Newspapers Ltd. owns the next highest bloc of shares, 4,606 shares. Thus, between the two of them they are able to exercise effective control over the company and therefore over what goes Into the papers.

That being so sisters, brothers and comrades, would you expect the Torchlight and the Trinidad Express newspapers, owned, controlled and run as they are by these big businessmen, to support the Grenada Revolution, to publish the achievements of our Revolution, to honestly explain how our Revolution intends to bring social and economic justice to the masses of the people, to take a sympathetic view of our intention and determination to pursue an independent, sovereign and non-aligned path, to agree with us when we oppose imperialism, that is, foreign control and domination of our economy by a few big overseas companies? Can we really expect them to oppose precisely those things which are responsible for their own wealth, comfort, influence and privileged status?

Obviously none of this could be expected. This would be like asking the slave master to voluntarily give up his slaves; or like asking the big imperialist multi-national corporations to give up their profits; or like asking the racists in South Africa to voluntarily give up their system of apartheid: or like asking the mass murdered Hitler to agree that he was a criminal and a murderer.

The People's Revolutionary Government of Grenada wants to make it perfectly clear that we are totally and completely opposed to minority control of the press, that we are totally and completely opposed to a press which fabricates and distorts, that we are totally and completely opposed to a press which refuses to publish the reality about what is happening in our country, to a press which refuses to publish the views of the overwhelming majority of the broad masses, to a press which believes that its freedom to publish gives it he right to print and reprint libellous and scurrilous material.

That is our position and we are willing to stand by it.

We remember only too well the destabilizing role played by the newspaper `El Mercurio' and the extent to which it helped to lay the basis for the vulgar, cowardly, murderous and criminal overthrow of the progressive and duly elected Allende Government in Chile by General Pinochet and his gang of fascists In collusion with imperialism. We are not going to let the same thing happen in Grenada. That had better sink home because it is a fact.

Another powerful agent of destabilization which is being used by the enemies of the Grenada Revolution and which at this time perhaps represents the greatest threat to the Revolution, is the spreading of false and malicious rumours.

Sometimes we take rumours for granted and dismiss them as the innocent pastimes of idle people and sometimes of course this is true. But we must never forget that rumours can be, and often are, used in a systematic and scientific way by our enemies as a method of spreading confusion, creating fear and panic and deteriorating and destroying the image of our Government and its leadership.

Let us consider some examples.

The early rumour, for example, that I had been bitten by a bee and was no longer able to see was meant to suggest that Gairy's mystical and obeah qualities had begun to work on me, and was clearly an appeal to the backward and superstitious beliefs of some of our people.

The later rumour that my colleague and brother, Comrade Bernard Coard, had cuffed me was meant to suggest that there were serious divisions in the leadership of the party and Government, and that a power struggle was taking place.

The further rumour that the Government was conducting a house-to-house survey and asking questions about the people's ownership of beds, chairs, sheep, cows, goats and so on was used to suggest that we are going to divide and share up people's property in order to make sure that nobody had more than one bed, or one sheep, or one goat, or one chair.

The other rumour that the Cuban doctors who have worked so hard and so impressively with us in Grenada were really only male nurses and had not been trained to be doctors was clearly aimed at discrediting the fantastic work being done by these doctors and to try to get Grenadians to be afraid to go to them for treatment.

Another recent rumour that ordinary level and advanced level results had arrived in Grenada but could not be published until I had returned from Cuba, so that I could decide who had passed and who had failed, was aimed at giving the impression that the Gairy system of corruption and favouritism was still continuing.

And the most recent rumour that the People's Revolutionary Government had given instructions that nobody between the ages of 18 and 40 years would be allowed to leave Grenada is clearly aimed at creating panic in the minds of that section of our population which is hoping to travel abroad.

We have no doubt that most of these rumours are carefully worked out by vicious but clever minds in our country who understand the importance of propaganda warfare.

It is significant that the 18 to 40 year rumour is aimed at the young people who are generally regarded as constituting the very core and heart of the support for our Revolution. It is also significant that this particular rumour was released simultaneously In Grenada and America so that we actually received a query from our Embassy in New York a few days ago asking us to confirm whether this rumour was true or false.

The destabilisers not being content simply to attempt to destabilise Grenadians in Grenada are also aiming to destabilize Grenadian nationals abroad.

Following the imperialist-inspired and CIA-organized overthrow of the Allende Government in Chile, surviving Chilean patriots put out a document entitled "Psychological Warfare Against The Popular Government" which carefully detailed the different forms of psychological warfare which had been used against the Allende Government. This document quotes quite extensively from the sections of the Handbook published by the U.S. Army and CIA dealing with psychological warfare entitled "Field Manual of the Department of the U.S. Army".

The document shows that the intention of the destabilisers is to keep the nation in a state of commotion, to promote malicious rumours and other forms of false propaganda constantly, to create a general social situation of instability and crisis, to manipulate people's natural feelings of terror, hatred and hope, to destroy the image of the leadership, the Party and the Government so they will no longer be able to govern and will appear weak, uncertain and defenseless.

The document explains with great clarity that the procedure for carrying out psychological warfare combined both direct political action by reactionary politicians and false propaganda in the local newspapers and other forms of the mass media. It also points out that rumour-mongering and malicious telephone calls played an important part in this destabilization process.

What the above tells us is that these rumours are not just the work of local reactionaries working alone but local reactionaries being guided by and working hand in hand with imperialism, the CIA and other reactionary forces outside of Grenada.

Sisters and Brothers, we must learn from the experiences of others. We must recognize the destructive role that economic sabotage, malicious and irresponsible press reporting, arson, violence and malicious rumour-mongering can play in attempting to destabilize our Revolution, to turn back the gains which the poor and working people are only just beginning to enjoy after so many years of bitter suffering and terrible deprivation.

It is vitally important that such activities should be nipped in the bud. It is vitally important that you should remain alert, vigilant and watchful. Anyone caught spreading malicious rumours or attempting to engage in other acts of sabotage or arson must be reported immediately to your nearest PRA Camp or Police Station, or better yet, should be communicated directly to anyone answering telephone number 2265.

I give you our firmest assurance that those found committing such activities will be jailed, will be severely dealt with. The Revolution will not be slowed down or stopped by the activities of counter-revolutionaries, saboteurs or destabilisers.

In spite of attempts to turn back the Revolution, the Revolution will go forward. In the words of the Bible, we say very firmly, that justice will come to the poor and the meek shall Inherit the earth, whether or not the exploiters and destabilisers are against this happening.

Let us unite to beat back the destabilisers!

Let us constantly struggle to raise higher and higher the consciousness and commitment of our people!

Let us organise and mobilise to build our Revolution!



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