The Grenada Revolution Online

Bishop Speech - Heroes Day Rally, Queen's Park,
Address by Prime Minister Maurice Bishop
(21 June 1982)

Members of the Central Committee,

Comrade Ministers and members of the People's Revolutionary Government,

Comrade ambassadors of Cuba, Libya and Venezuela,

Comrade representatives of El Salvador,

Comrades of the Black Independent Political Party,

Comrades of the Mass Organisations, the Trade Union Council, the Productive Farmers Union, the National Women's Organisation, the National Youth Organisation, the Pioneers, the National Students Council, Comrades of the People's Revolutionary Armed Forces,

Beloved comrades, sisters and brothers of Free and Revolutionary Grenada.

Comrades, it is really good once again today, to be back with you on yet another Heroes Day commemoration in our country. Heroes Day, comrades, was renamed in the past couple of years because of the bitter memories which we have of that day, two years ago when the bomb planted by imperialism together with their local counter-revolutionary allies went off in this very Park and did damage, caused injuries to hundreds of our people, sent 97 of our people to hospital, had 38 of our people kept in hospital and had 3 of our young sisters innocently murdered because imperialism had the plan of destroying the leadership of our country.


But, comrades, today on Heroes Day, as we think with bitter memories of these departed and loved ones who gave their lives for our Revolution, we also draw the lessons of June 19th, 1982. And we recognise June 19th, 1980 as being a day when imperialism and local counter-revolution made the admission that they had lost the struggle for the minds and the hearts of our people and having lost the struggle to try to bribe our people into following their ways they had to resort to brutal terror and brutal violence.

That is a lesson, comrades, that we shall never, ever forget. Because it reminds us in a very, very forceful way of the value of our unity, of the value of our deep political commitment and belief, of the value of the sacrifices which we have made over the years, of the value of our victory when our Revolution came on the 13th of March 1979. But, comrades, on that day we can also always permanently draw the lessons that imperialism is a desperate animal, that imperialism is a wounded creature and when a creature is wounded, it is even that more dangerous, and, therefore, always has to be watched with a very close eye.

And therefore, always out people are called upon to exercise the maximum amount of vigilance in the face of the enemy, and in the face of the imperialist onslaught and aggression that we face. But, comrades, we can also draw the lesson and have drawn the lesson from the 19th of June that a people as small as ours in numbers is nonetheless a people who have a sufficient will and capacity to defeat the greatest enemy that mankind has ever faced.


We know that although they came gunning for us on that day, the unity of our people on the night of the assault, the unity of our people in immediately hitting the streets in order to let imperialism know and understand that we were not terrorised or frightened, that we would not bow in a submissive way but we would come fighting back - that, is another lesson that we can draw.

And as we look around today comrades, and we proudly see on the field in front of us the militance of our People's Revolutionary Armed Forces, our Army, our Police, our Militia and all the other sections of the Armed Forces, we know too that we will always have the lesson of June 19 that our Revolutionary Armed Forces are very strong and vigilant and will defeat counter-revolution within hours whenever it strikes.

But 2 years later, comrades, we have to understand also that in the final analysis the best way in which we can honour our heroes and martyrs, the best way in which we can pay tribute to these martyrs and heroes is to build production in our country, is to honour in every single way the full meaning and impact of our national slogans for this our year of "Economic Construction", draw on our slogan of "Working Harder, producing more and building Grenada".

If we do this, comrades, that would be the best possible way in which we can salute our martyrs and our heroes. And coming in the last few hours from a very important trip which a number of us made overseas, we are able to say today, comrades, with the greatest of confidence and with the certainty that we are right that today we are able to salute and recognize and honour our heroes and our martyrs - confident that we continue to have the support of the world's progressive and socialist forces. There can be no doubt about that.


The visit our delegation made to the German Democratic Republic - the GDR, to the People's Republic of Bulgaria and to Libya was an extremely successful and important visit. It was successful, comrade, not only in material terms but also in moral and educational terms and that is always of the greatest importance. Every single one of the objectives which we had set ourselves before we left on this trip, every single one of these objectives has been reached and fulfilled in a complete way and we are very, very happy with the results of that trip.

We had set ourselves, comrades, as one of our major objectives before we left the further development of relations with the socialist world and we see the development of relations with the socialist world as being very important, as being very strategic as a matter of principle for our country.

We believe this is so because as a non-aligned country attempting to build socialism in our country, developing relations with the socialist world is a matter of the first order of importance. It is also important at a time when the capitalist world with which we have traditional ties continues to be enmeshed in crisis for us to diversity our trading relations, to get new trading partners, to build relations of trade with our comrades in the socialist world.

We see it also as being very important because of the diplomatic and political advantages of having such ties with the socialist world countries.


We see it as being important because of the firm, rock-hard and principled support that members of the socialist world have always given to the national liberation movements that have been struggling all around the world.

When the United States was unleashing bombs and terror on the people of Vietnam, it was the socialist world that stood with the people of Vietnam. When the United States was unleashing their guns on the people of Cuba in 1961, it was the socialist world that stood with the people of Revolutionary Cuba. When the United States was arming counter-revolutionaries in Angola, in Mozambique, in Zimbabwe, in Guinea Bissau to wage terror against the people, the socialist world stood with the National Liberation Movement of Africa. And we feel as a matter of fundamental principle that we have to develop ties with countries such as these.

We also felt before we left, that a second major objective of this trip was to develop new trading partners and here again, we can report, and Cde. George Louison, our Minister of Agriculture who was also on the delegation will be able to confirm that we reached agreements with all three of these countries that have potentials for helping us to develop trading ties with them in a deep and meaningful way in the months and years to come with the GDR, with Bulgaria and also possibly with Libya.


We believe before we left that the trip was also very important at this time in particular when US imperialism was threatening the peace in the Middle East, when the Zionist and racist outlaws of Israel was once again unleashing terror on the people of Lebanon and the people of Palestine. It was also important again to re-establish and deepen our ties with the Government and people of Libya and our trip to Libya, in fact, was able to achieve this objective.

But, comrades, a very important objective we had also was that in making this trip at this time, it would help us to ensure the development of a productive basis and a productive capacity in our economy. In other words, give us the opportunity and the potential to produce more.

As all comrades here know and know very well, our country has had the historic problem from colonialism, of having t just export the raw materials that we produce and never yet before the Grenada Revolution having moved into the area of processing and refining and manufacturing that raw material.

Therefore, one of the objectives which we have set ourselves was to try to obtain the necessary plants and equipment and machinery in order of us to begin to develop that productive base, to begin to industrialize our country and our economy and again we can say that with the agreements we reached with the German Democratic Republic to provide us with a small cocoa processing plant, to provide us with ship to shore telecommunications equipment for our fishing fleet and to provide us with agricultural machines and equipment to modernize agriculture, the people and Government of the German Democratic Republic have helped us to ensure that we now have a greater potential to develop our economy and to industrialize.


Naturally, at a time when we were having so much problems and so much pressure from imperialism, at a time when the economy is under severe stress and strain because of the world capitalist crisis, another objective which we set ourselves was the objective of trying to obtain financial assistance for our Government and people.

And here again, as a result of agreements which we reached with the Government and people of Libya, once again as a further act of solidarity and co-operation with the people of Grenada, they provided an 8-year, interest-free loan of $4 million (US) for our Government and people.

This assistance will certainly be very timely for our International Airport Project and for other projects of very, very great importance to our economy at this time. And the Government of Libya has also agreed as a way of trying to help our people and Government, as a way of ensuring that the International Airport Project is completed, they have also agreed to supply over the next 6 months 300 tons of steel, 20,000 tons of cement and 8000 barrels of oil.

Very importantly too, apart from all of these millions of dollars, the $4 million (US) which is over $10 million in our money, the steel, the cement and the oil which will also amount to a couple million dollars more, the Libyans have agreed to establish a joint venture investment company with our Government which will make investments in fields like agriculture, tourism and fisheries and we hope that this company will be established in the next few months when a Libyan technical and economic delegation will come to our country for further talks. We must also salute the Libyan comrades for this.


In this area of financial assistance, it is also very important that we mention that the German Democratic Republic has provided a line of credit to our Government worth $6 million (US) or somewhere around $14 million of our money at 3% interest and this will help us to obtain the new telephone equipment, the cocoa processing plant, some agricultural equipment and vehicles, some more vehicles and other forms of material that our country at this time desperately needs in order to build the economy.

They have agreed to provide all of this and themselves pay for the freight and the insurance costs of getting them to our country. That would be a gift worth over 2 to 3 million more dollars for our country.

So comrades, from this trip, it is clear that on the material side that we have made some benefit. We have obtained some more loans and lines of credit. We have obtained the opportunity and the potential now for further developing an industrial base and through the ice plant, through the telephone system, through the vehicles we are now getting a further chance of developing the infrastructure in our country in order to ensure that we are able to achieve economic take-off in the near future. All of this has been achieved as a result of these past few weeks.


It means, in a concrete way, more jobs, more trade, more possibilities for building our economy faster. But, comrades, out side of the material benefits that have come, we also lay great stress on the moral and educational and solidarity value of this trip. We went there to learn from the experiences of other comrades. We went there to see for ourselves what was happening in this socialist world and what further strides our Libyan friends had made in constructing their own new society.

And in the socialist world countries of the GDR and Bulgaria all of us were shocked and astonished by the tremendous strides that these people have made over the past 35 years in building back their countries - countries that were bombed out during the imperialist war, the World War II of 1939 to 1945.

We were able to see in the German Democratic Republic, for example, one city in particular, a city called Dresden, a city which was almost completely bombed out when he war had almost stopped in 1945. And you should see now the extent to which the people of the German Democratic Republic have rebuilt the city, the extent to which there are now great construction projects going on in every corner of Dresden, the extent to which they have been able to move into modern and sophisticated industries, into robot technology, into micro-electronic technology, the extent to which the GDR as a totally bombed out country 35 years ago today stands among the top 10 industrialized countries in the entire world - a staggering achievement and a major testament to the hard work, the political commitment, the unity, the sacrifice and the seriousness of the people of the GDR. We were very, very impressed by all of that, comrades.


In one particular co-operative farm we had gone to, a very large farm, a farm of something like 10,000 acres, we saw hundreds of these co-operative farmers as they went about their daily work and we spoke to some of these comrades and we caught them, in fact, during a half an hour lunch break that they were having and we discussed with them the programme that they had for that month, their production target, their plans to move into new crops and to get more production out of the land.

And, we very innocently asked the questions, "Well, what are your hours of work - how long is your lunch break?" They replied that they start working at 6.00 a.m. every morning and they stop by 6.00 p.m. with a hours lunch break only. And that tells you something of what is required if we want to really build our economy in a serious way, comrades.

They pointed out that as farmers working under the open sky and never being sure about the weather conditions that it was a necessary for them on a daily basis to utilize every spare minute of time that they could because what they were working to produce they saw the benefits of it in terms of what they got themselves and in terms of seeing their country built. And that was a major lesson for us. Something that we felt that we would have to share with our people once we return home.


But we also saw in the German Democratic Republic some serious evidence of the extent of Nazi-brutality under Adolph Hitler during World War II, the extent of the Hitler imperialist conspiracy to murder millions of people in his vain attempt to try to conquer all of Europe.

We were taken to one of the concentration camps in an area called Saxenhausen and there at this model concentration camp on the very spot where a real concentration camp once was, a most touching moment for the entire delegation. They showed us the way in which these soldiers of Hitler used to lure their innocent victims into a room pretending that they were bringing them to have a shower and then when they went into a next room, they would make them take their clothes off and then finally bring them to a third room where they would either shoot them or put them all into a room and turn on the gas.

It was for us, comrades, a very, very bitter moment and it showed us in a real way all of the problems with a war. It shoed us in a real way the sorrow and sadness and murder that is way. It taught us in a deep way the value of peace and disarmament.


And we were able, at that very moment, to understand how it is that the people of the German Democratic Republic and of Bulgaria and of the socialist world, in general were so concerned today about struggling for peace.

We saw clearly that they wanted peace because they had known wars. They wanted peace because millions of their people had been murdered and brutalized during World War II. They wanted peace because they knew of the efforts and the sacrifice involved in having to rebuilt your country from scratch. When they spoke to us about that night in the middle of 1945 when the British and American planes cropped the bombs on Dresden, it was truly a very, very memorable event for us.

Because these comrades were speaking of a sight that all of them recollect and as they spoke you could see that they were still seeing it before their very eyes. It is because these countries in Europe, these countries of the socialist world and indeed many countries of Western Europe have known and experienced war, that they no longer want a war.

And perhaps in part it is because Reagan has never experiences a war, has never seen war on the streets of the United States, has never, in fact, taken any part in any physical violence except when he was riding his horse backwards in his movies, apart from that Reagan had seen no war, had experienced no war and therefor it was easy for him to talk about the need for another war.

It was easy for him to talk about a limited nuclear war. It was easy for him to talk about using other people's territories to fight a war once the war did not reach his own country. It was easy for him to speak of the possibility of a first nuclear strike as if a first nuclear strike will not be answered by a second nuclear strike.


All of this seems easy for Reagan, comrades, because Reagan's world is a dream world. Reagan's world is a world of cowboy movies; it is not yet a world of reality. It is a world dominated by big business and big business interests. It is a world dominated by the rich. It is a world with no concern, or feeling or love for the poor. It is a world that sees every day thousands more on the streets looking for work with over 14 million American today actively seeking jobs.

It is a world where schools and hospitals are being closed down: a world where the elderly people can no longer get their pension. This is the world of Ronald Reagan. That is a world of hate and therefore a world of war.

And going to the socialist world countries was for us very important from that point of view, also. Because it deepened in a moment, but yet in a deep and real way, our further understanding of the value of peace and the horrors and dangers and madness of war.

And, that is why, comrades, we say that the moral and educational side of this trip was also of great value. Because we had the opportunity to our friends in the GDR, in Bulgaria and in Libya to explain to them what was happening in Grenada and the Caribbean, to explain to them the problems our country faces, to tell them something more about United States imperialism and very, very critically to say to them with the greatest confidence that our people in Grenada, that our Party and our Government will always give our fullest backing and solidarity to all of their own struggle. It was very important to have said that.


During an international anti-imperialist conference attended by many people from around the world, we once again too had the opportunity of seeing the internationalism of the Libyan people at work and listening with our very ears to demonstrations in the streets of Libya calling on all of the Government of the Arab world to unite together in order to fight and crush the Zionist Israeli outlaws and to support the people of Palestine and of Lebanon. The people were not crushed or that the Palestinian Liberation Organization was not completely wiped out.

And, once again, comrades, we had the opportunity of expressing our firmest and fullest support and solidarity for the people of Palestine, the people of Lebanon and the PLO in their just struggle and we join the rest of progressive humanity in demanding an end to the war with full reparations for the Lebanese and the Palestinians.

We were also during this visit able to develop a number of permanent mechanisms that will ensure the further development of our relations continues monthly. We were able, for example, to develop a joint commission with the People's Republic of Bulgaria that would meet once a year either in Bulgaria or in Grenada to discuss the number of projects which we are looking at together.

Projects like the agricultural institute, like the ice plant, like the irrigation system for agriculture in our country, like the school repair programme - all very fundamental and important projects. And this joint commission mechanism will ensure on a regular basis the opportunity of renewing our bi-lateral relations and ensuring that those relations are deepened and further strengthened.


We were also able to conclude a number of party to party agreements, agreements which will ensure the exchange of party comrades with these countries so that we come to learn and to know about each other's experiences that will also be very important for the youth, the workers, the women and the militants of our country.

We were also able, comrades, to reach a number of agreements with regard to the possible setting up of embassies in Grenada and in two of the three countries we visited. And that again will, of course, provide us with a further mechanism of ensuring that the relations which have now developed even more than they had two years ago will continue to go forward in strength.

And comrades, I don't [know if] I can end this section of what I want to say without mentioning to you, once again, how happy all of us were on our way to the GDF, Bulgaria and Libya to pass through the land of revolutionary Cuba and once again, to have the opportunity of meeting and talking with Fidel Castro our great friend and revolutionary.

As always, the discussions held were warm, were fraternal, were constructive. focussing around the non-aligned movement, around the problems in our region, around our international airport construction, around economic development in our country generally, around Grenada/Cuba bi-lateral relations.

And one of the things, in fact, that Fidel was able to say on this occasion is that a gift of some 40 tractors was going to be made by the Government of Cuba to our Government and people to help in developing agriculture further. That is, of course, an extremely important gift to our country.


But, comrades, coming from all of those countries the most important thing of all is coming back home and being back here with our strong, courageous, united and firm people. Standing here and sharing Heroes Day with you. Standing here with the comrades once again as the Centre for Popular Education moves into Phase 2 of its project. That, for us, is the crowning glory and the crowning achievement of this trip because there are no people in any part of the world that are braver, that are more courageous, that are not united, that are more determined than our own free, revolutionary people in Grenada.

We would also therefore like our Party and Government to join with all the comrades who before us expressed their solidarity and saluted the hard working comrades at the Centre for Popular Education. We, too, would like to join in those salutes to the CPS. We see the Centre for Popular Education Programme in Phase 2 as being historic.

We recall with pleasure and admiration of the tremendous work our comrades had done in Phase 1 in virtually wiping out illiteracy in the country and we are confident that the task the comrades have set themselves over the next couple of years bringing some 10,000 of our adults into education in the evenings, that that task is undoubtedly going to be fulfilled and they are sure of the fullest support of our Party and Government in achieving that objective.


We are very happy, too, comrades, to have among us today some more friends again from the United States of America. The Black Independent Political Party, the comrades who have come here for the past few days and who have had the opportunity of holding discussions with us; comrades who have come from the belly of the beast itself.

But we have seen from their fighting words that these comrades are not in any way coward or intimidated or frightened or terrorised by Reagan and they must know when they leave here that they leave with the fullest solidarity and the fullest support of our free revolutionary people and Government.

They are further evidence, as Cde. Ka-Kadimo [Cacademo] Grant was saying that our struggle is not with the people of the United States. They are further proof that our struggle is not in any sense opposed to the National Liberation struggles taking place inside the United States.

Our struggles, in fact, are one and the same thing. Our struggle is not with the people of the United States, far less the oppressed black people of the United States, but our struggle is with imperialism and today its current leader, the cowboy Ronald Reagan. That is what our struggle is and that is where we would resolutely stand and fight to the end.


And so, comrades, on this Heroes Day, on this day when once again we have gathered to commemorate the lives of the martyrs and the heroes on this day, when once again we pay tribute to the fighting memory of Fedon, to the working class leader Tubal Uriah Buzz Butler, to the great Caribbean federationist and philosopher, T. Albert Marryshow, and to many more and ordinary working people in our country who have lost their lives in the struggles against dictatorship and colonialism; to our Alister Strachans, our Harold Strachans, to our Scotildas [Noel] and Ediths [McBain], to our Lorrises [Laurice Humphrey] and Lauraines [Laureen Phillip] and Bernadettes [Baily], to our Ruperts and Evans, to our Lalseys [Lalsees] and Courtneys, to our Stanisclauses, to all of these comrades who have died in the struggle, we say once again that their blood was never shed in vain but their blood will be manure and fertilizer to help us to go forward, onward to the new and just society we are constructing.

We will use their lives, their examples, their memories as the means to achieve that objective.











Back: Biographies/Portraits Index     Home Page: FAQs       Site Map