The Grenada Revolution Online

Bishop Speech - At the National Action Front Open Meeting,
12 September 1970

The speech was also given the day before at Grenville. On 12 September 1970, the address was made at the Botanical Gardens, then near the Premier Eric Gairy's Ministry.

Brothers and sisters, the National Action Front is here today for, one, to protest against the treatment against Brother Frederick K in Canada, and two, our Government inaction on the whole matter. So far as we know brothers and sisters, so far as we know, the only thing that have been done by this Government to brother Frederick is to pay half of his bail. We are saying that is not enough, we are saying that the Government must take a firmer action, we are saying the Government must follow the example of Trinidad, Guyana, and Jamaica, among other West Indian Government and send legal representatives to follow on the interest of Brother Frederick in Canada. We are saying further that if Brother Frederick is fined, this Government must pay the fine, we are saying that if he is imprisoned, the Government must send legal representatives to appeal against this imprisonment, we are saying that Brother Frederick is one of our nationals who is now in trouble and is in Canada.

We are not concerned whether he is guilty or not, we believe that in Canada it would be difficult for him to get justice in any event, we believe in Canada if he is not guilty, he would be brought guilty in any event, what we are saying is that we want our Government to stand behind him now in the hour of need; this is the issue, this is the only issue. Many of you might have known Brother Kennedy when he was in Grenada, he was very quiet, very nice Grenadian, he had no enemies and he was liked by every one. We have to try to find reasons therefore why a man like Brother Kennedy can go to Canada and apparently become violent.

Brother Kennedy met very bad conditions, these conditions he could not bear, these conditions he could not understand, he however met a new breed of Black men. Black breed of West Indian students abroad who do not stand by and allow white people to trample their rights; It is as simple as that, this was sufficient to radicalized brother Frederick, this is why together with other Black West Indian students they occupy the University centre.

Brother Frederick entered Sir George Williams University some three or four years ago; from the time he entered racism was been practised against him and other West Indian students in the University. In March 1968, together with five other Black West Indian students they lodged a protest against one racist professor Perry ANDERSON. The University reaction was to ignore their protest. Eventually some nine to ten months afterwards they appointed a committee to look into the charge. On that committee there was a white man called professor Ray, he was a white man, he was Vice-principal of the University, and then he saw that the other white men on the committee was prepared to white-wash the white feet of Perry ANDERSON he resigned. He was a white man with a conscience and could not stand by and allow the people to white-wash the racism which he knew existed-particularly with the person Perry ANDERSON. Four Black professors resigned from that committee also.

Drop short of all this, a new committee had to be formed and the agreement made was that the University administration and the students must appoint who must be on this committee, but once again the White man showed his treachery and refused to allow the students to have a say as to who must be on the committee. They themselves went ahead and from that committee the Black students refused to give evidence to that committee, a committee set up without their consent. The result was that five hundred students later occupied the University Center, one hundred and sixty to one hundred and seventy were Black, the rest were white Canadian students, so something like 500 students occupied the University center in January 1969. In the meantime the University Authority went ahead and decided that they are going to appoint a lawyer who was going to work with the students lawyer, to work out some part of agreement.

On the 1st January 1969, the University Authority and the students worked out an agreement whereby no committee are going to be set up without the agreement of all sides. There was only one problem left, and that was the principal of the University had to give his consent in writing to that agreement, Now, both sides agreed to accept, but the Principal refused to sign to that new agreement. The students said, well if is that we are not going to leave the computer center; by that time there was only ninety seven students left in the center, forty-seven were blacks, the other were white students.

The University Administration acted and got one hundred and fifty (150) riot policemen to get out the students. They began calling them dirty niggers, and throwing tear gas bomb apparently to clear them out, but the students refuse to go. A fight ensured and in that fight the building was burnt. No one can be sure how the building was burnt, it could have been the smoke bomb, but these students were picked up, arrested and charged. Now we are saying any black conscious Government under those circumstances suppose to stand by its nationals, for instance Barbados, Trinidad, Guyana, Jamaica, sent legal representatives to look after their nationals, our Government did not do that, why can't they do that? I also understand, that the Premier was in Canada during this incident but he never took time off to speak to brother Kennedy, we say this is not good enough, we demand from our Government the support for Brother Frederick which other Government gave to their nations, and we demand this support, we say he is a national and he deserves this support, if the Government does not support we would have to study ways how to take the initiative. We intend to support Brother Frederick; this is why we are here, we want to see the Premier or some one from that Ministry to know what has been done to support Brother Kennedy Frederick, we say he is in Canada and he is been tried by white men, white racist jury, and they would not give him justice. We feel that Government should look into the matter, we want to see someone from there now to tell us something of the situation.

Brother Frederick is in Canada alone, he is to be tried very soon, we demand Government support to ensure that he receive a fair trial, Brother Frederick is a national and we feel that he should be treated as a national, we demand full support for Brother Frederick . . . that is the position brothers and sisters.

Back: What Was the NJM?      Back: Bishop Speech List

Home Page: FAQs       Site Map