The Grenada Revolution Online

Bishop Speech - National Broadcast,
Radio Free Grenada,
"Organise to Fight Destabilisation"
(8 May 1979)


On Sunday last, the 6th May, elements opposed to our Revolution moved to a new and higher level in their attempts to discredit and destroy our Revolution.

When the news came that two fires, set within one hour of each other, had burnt down a Carifta Cottage at Morne Rouge in the heart of our tourist belt, and a building on Church Street in the heart of the capital of our country, this would have come as no surprise to those Grenadians who remember what I had said in my Good Friday address to the Nation.

As you will recall, in that address on 13th April, when our Revolution was just one month old, we warned that the process of destabilisation which the people and Government of Jamaica had gone through during 1975 and 1976 could soon begin in our own country.

Referring to that troubled and difficult period in Jamaica’s history, I said the following; and I quote:-

Under this process the people of Jamaica were encouraged to lose faith and confidence in themselves, their Government and their country and in the ability of their Government to solve the pressing problems facing the country and meeting the expectations of their people.

This was done through damaging news stories being spread in the local, regional and international media, particularly newspapers, aimed at discrediting the achievements of the Jamaican Government.

It was also done through violence and sabotage and by wicked and pernicious attempts at wrecking the economy through stopping the flow of tourist visitors, and hence the much needed foreign exchange earnings of the country.

Sisters and Brothers, destabilisation is the name given to the most recently developed (or newest) method of controlling and exploiting the lives and resources of a country and its people by a bigger and more powerful country through bullying, intimidation and violence

In the old days, such countries — the colonialist and imperialists powers — sent in gunboats or marines to directly take over the country by sheer force.

Later on mercenaries were often used in place of soldiers, navy and marines.

Today, more and more the new weapon and the new menace is destabilisation. This method was used against a number of Caribbean and Third World countries in the 1960’s, and also against Jamaica and Guyana in the 1970’s. Now, as we predicted, it has come to Grenada.

Destabilisation takes many forms — there is propaganda destabilisation, when the foreign media, and sometimes our own Caribbean press prints lies and distortions against us; there is economic destabilisation, when our trade and our industries are sabotaged and disrupted; and there is violent destabilisation, criminal acts of death and destruction, such as we have witnesses on Sunday [6 May] night with the fires.

All of these vicious tactics have been used before, in the recent past, in countries close to us, and in countries far away.

As we, people of Grenada show the world — clearly and unflinchingly — that we intend to remain free and independent — that we intend to consolidate and strengthen the principles and the goals of our Revolution — as we show this to the world, there will be attacks upon us. We must be ready to defend ourselves against these attacks. But to defend ourselves, we must know the enemy — for that is the best defence, the best preparation.

The People’s Revolutionary Army is diligent and on the alert, but the PRA and all the people of Grenada must know what to look for, what to expect.

It is one thing to prepare against an attack by a band of cowardly mercenaries sent by Eric Gairy. It is easy to recognise this kind of enemy. But destabilisation is a different kind of enemy. It is much more subtle and much more deceptive.

But it has a great weakness, a fatal flaw. Destabilisation can only work when it goes unrecognized—like a thief in the night. Destabilisation can work only when the people do not know that it is happening.

It is a total failure when it is exposed and when the people see it for what it is. The people of Grenada must learn what this destabilisation is because then we cannot be fooled by it.

You know the facts about Grenada — you know what is happening here. You know what the People’s Revolutionary Government stands for. You know why we fought and what we are trying to do. You have known and been involved with our programmes and our principles for many years.

So what do you see when you look at a newspaper and see lies? What do you hear when you turn on a radio and hear news from other neighbouring countries which you know is not true?

You are seeing destabilisation; you are hearing destabilisation. These are the lies printed and broadcasted to try to destroy our Revolution — your Revolution.

On this question of propaganda destabilisation, you will recall the numerous distorted, untruthful articles being written by some newspapers, particularly by one weekly Trinidad newspaper, the Bomb.

You will remember also that a Grenadian resident in Jamaica had made numerous telephone calls to members of his family in Grenada trying to persuade them to write letters to him stating that people were being murdered and raped in Grenada. But that was only the tip of the iceberg.

The real propaganda war has now begun. The lies that are being spread about our Revolution are not now restricted to one or two newspapers or one or two people abroad but have now spread to several newspapers — local, regional and international — and even to prime ministers and other ministers of Caribbean countries.

Just in the past week there have been several different false, distorted and malicious stories about what is happening in Grenada appearing in different newspapers in Grenada, the Caribbean, Latin America and the world.

During the period one newspaper claimed that there were several hundred Cubans living in Grenada and training the comrades of our People’s Revolutionary Army.

Another report claimed that there were five thousand Cubans in Grenada.

We have requested, and will of course, be happy to accept assistance from Cuba in any area in which we have needs, but as Grenadians living here you know these reports are lies.

Yet another of their ridiculous reports claimed that we have missiles in Grenada pointed at neighbouring islands in the region. And not satisfied, another news story claimed that there is a Russian submarine base in our sister island of Carriacou. Can you believe that? The people of Carriacou who are listening can surely expose this for the wicked and mountainous lie that it is!

Another newspaper has claimed that there is a war going on in Grenada, that the country is a pitched camp and that several Cuban ships are at present tied up alongside our docks.

Not to be left out, the prime ministers of two independent Caribbean countries and the minister of education of a non-independent Caribbean island have joined in the malicious and distorted attacks.

One prime minister has claimed that no Chilean arms were discovered in Grenada after the Revolution, despite the fact that the world press actually photographed the arms discovered in the Chilean crates marked Medical Supplies.

This same prime minister appears to be ignorant about the fact that Gairy did have soldiers trained in Chile and that Gairy’s military gang of Mongoose men, Secret Police, Army and the criminal elements in Gairy’s Police Force did in fact terrorise and brutalise the people of our country.

But how can he be ignorant of these facts? Is he saying that our murdered comrades, Jeremiah Richardson, Harold Strachan, Rupert Bishop and Alister Strachan got struck by bolts of lightning from the skies or were murdered by UFO’s? What is he saying?

The people of Grenada remember that a former prime minister of that particular country once described Gairy as a political bandit, a description with which we fully agree.

But we certainly have no memory of this present prime minister ever speaking about the tyrannical ways of Gairy. One wonders therefore what is the basis of his new-found confidence and new-found knowledge, and his sudden willingness to speak out on the internal affairs of Grenada having regard to the fact that he remained silent for so long during the years of the Gairy dictatorship.

We wonder from whom or from which country he gets his information or, more accurately, shall we say mis-information, that he can state with such confidence that there were no Chilean arms found in Grenada.

We are confident that the views of one or two misinformed individuals in the area are not shared by the vast, vast majority of the people of the Caribbean who fully support our Revolution and want to see us go forward to the achievement of genuine independence and social progress.

The second prime minister confidently asserts that some $5 million worth of arms have been sent to Grenada by an unnamed country, and expressed the view that this poses a threat to the security of the region.

According to this gentleman, who only a week before had indicated his interest in coming to Grenada for an informal visit to hold discussions, the region was too closely tied together for him to stand like Pontius Pilate and say that any unusual occurrences in one state are solely an internal matter and of no concern to another Caribbean state.

We wonder how this prime minister can stay several hundred miles away and know how much, if any, arms the people of Grenada have. We wonder how come, given his professed concern for regional security, and for unusual occurrences in particular CARICOM countries, that he remained so dumb and silent not only during Gairy’s reign of terror in Grenada but particularly with regard to Gairy’s Chilean military connections.

The minister of education of a particular oppressive CARICOM regimen with South African connections, which takes pleasure in jailing teachers, dock workers and political activists and denying them bail, had the nerve to claim that Brother Kendrick Radix, our Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs and also our Ambassador to the United Nations and to the United States of America, was banned from his country before the Grenada Revolution, because he was involved in a communist plot to overthrow his Government.

Grenadians will recall that Brother Radix had been picked up, detained, made to sit in a chair all night and deported the next morning. His crime was that he had gone to that island to defend the leader of the Teachers’ Union and the leader of an opposition political party, both of whom had been charged with the ancient and forgotten offence of watching and besetting while taking part in a workers’ demonstration.

It seems to us that the only plot involved was the plot to deny the workers and people of that island their basic and fundamental human rights.

A local newspaper, the Torchlight, has also jumped on to the bandwagon by attempting to discredit the People’s Revolution. Grenadians should reflect on the fact that the Torchlight gave front page treatment to the diplomatically offensive and unusual cable sent by the United States Embassy in Barbados directly to the Torchlight recently, replying to my Address to the Nation of April 13th.

But the Torchlight failed to carry in the first place any report of the address itself. Then last Sunday’s issue [6 May] carried a number of malicious and distorted articles, some of them potentially damaging to national security.

Under big banner headlines on the front page the Torchlight carried a story repeating the libellous propaganda relating to a so-called communist plot by Brother Kendrick Radix to overthrow the Government of Antigua.

It is significant that although this story was some five days old [circa 1 April 1979], the Torchlight never chose to contact Brother Radix or any other member of the Government for a comment and response.

It smacks of destabilisation that a five-day-old story which had been beaten up and down the radio stations throughout the region should be put on the front page and take up almost the entire front page of the newspaper.

Not satisfied with page 1, page 2 gives banner headlines and photograph treatment to the slanderous statements of Messrs. Compton and Adams, again without asking for any response from the Government.

Yet another long article entitled “Cuban’s Trojan Horse” and signed “Voice in the Wilderness” contains classical CIA planted anti-communist propaganda.

On the back another article with banner headlines stated “Grenada Government Owes U.W.I. $1.4 million.”

The real news for the people of Grenada which is that the new Government has paid $300,000.00 to the University within the first two months of the Revolution, while Gairy had consistently refused to pay, is buried in the middle of the article.

At another point in the paper, the Torchlight stated that another soldier was reportedly shot last Thursday [3 May] during training exercises. This story is completely untrue.

It is clear that the objective was to panic readers and create a feeling of tension on the island. We ask, how can a newspaper be so reckless and irresponsible on a matter of such seriousness?

The other front page story called ‘Click, Click, Got Ya’ shows the extent in which Acting Editor of the Torchlight, Nick Joseph, was prepared to go in order to try to discredit the People’s Revolutionary Government. In that story Mr. Joseph recalls his attempts at trying to photograph the security men who were accompanying me on May Day.

It will be obvious that in order to provide effective security for the leadership of the country, especially at this time when it is widely known that there is a danger of paid assassins striking, that it is necessary to avoid publicity of our security men.

It must be obvious that if photographs of security men are taken, then this will make it a lot easier for hit-men to achieve their murderous objectives of wiping out the leadership.

Because of the People’s Revolutionary Government’s well-known desire to encourage a free press, we did not prevent Mr. Joseph from taking photographs. We had hoped that he would have put patriotism and concern for the safety of the leadership of the country above cheap journalism.

We have certainly noted the irresponsibility of the Acting Editor and his newspaper in publishing these pictures. It should be noted that America, Britain and virtually all other countries in the world do not generally permit the photographing of security personnel, especially the systematic attempt to do so.

It should be further noted that the British Government, for example, has a system of what they call D-notices, whereby with the full co-operation of the press the British Government issues notices to the press preventing the publication of anything which the British government deems to be a danger to national security.

We sincerely hope that a similar attitude of responsible journalism with respect to national security matters will be observed by the Torchlight in the future.

Five days ago [3 May], we received a visit from a leading economist and adviser to several Governments, who has very close contacts with individuals in the United States State Department.

He advised us that he had received information from his contacts inside the State Department that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), had drawn up a plan to turn back the Grenada Revolution.

According to this person, the plan was drawn up in the shape of a pyramid.

At the bottom of the pyramid was a plan to destabilise the country by planting false reports about Grenada in newspapers and on radio stations, and also by encouraging prominent individuals, organisations and Governments in the region to attack our Revolution.

The first part of the plan was aimed at creating dissatisfaction and unrest among our people and at wrecking our tourist industry and economy.

A second level of the pyramid involved the use of violence and arson in the country.

And if neither of these two methods in destabilising the country worked, then the plan was to move to the stage of assassinating the leadership of the country.

It is clear that the first and second phases of this plan are already in operation. It is now up to us to ensure not only that the third stage is avoided but that we also take steps to crush the first and second stages and move forward to build our Revolution in our own way. We must make sure that these tactics of destabilisation do not succeed.

The two fires on Sunday [6 May], coming on the heels of the propaganda campaign outlined earlier, suggest that both stages one and two have already begun.

Sisters and brothers, we are not a violent people, and when we see violence, we must look hard and deep to see whose hand is behind it.

In Jamaica there was unleashed a flood of violence in 1976 — to try to cause the defeat of Prime Minister Michael Manley. Guns appeared in the hands of thieves and gangs who never had guns before. Who were sending them these guns? Who was encouraging the violence? Certainly not the people of Jamaica.

In Jamaica there was a terrible Orange Lane fire when dozens of innocent people were killed and hundreds left without homes. Who was responsible for the fire? Certainly not the people of Jamaica whom it hurt.

Just this week we have seen the same development in our country. One fire was set — deliberately and by admission — outside of town. And then, a few minutes later, when the fire trucks rushed to the first fire, another one broke out in the heart of town, a fire that could have destroyed a large part of town, a fire which endangered hundreds of lives, a fire which was undoubtedly caused by arson, as the comrades of the People’s Revolutionary Army and the firemen who went into the building came out smelling very strongly of kerosene.

Fires planned by the enemies of Grenada tell us that we are dealing with a monster — with a soulless monster who would kill and destroy to create fear.

Indeed we must note that the fires could both have a bad effect on the tourist industry. This so, because one of them occurred in the heart of the tourist belt, and the other destroyed the building of the leading travel agency and tour operator in our country.

As a matter of fact, we received information this morning that a tour operator in Barbados actually cancelled a trip to Grenada yesterday — apparently as a result of the fires.

But the people of Grenada must not be afraid; they must be vigilant. They must not be terrorized; they must be determined. They must not be unprepared; they must be on guard. The people of Grenada will not be destabilised; we will not be fooled.

We must also remember that in the exercise of their disruptive activities, those hostile forces will always require local agents and local opportunists.

The people should therefore not be surprised in the coming days, if they discover opportunist elements trying to foment unrest. One should always expect that there will be those who will rush to echo the propaganda lines being fed to them by forces whose objective it is to sabotage the gains made by the Revolution now and in the future.

In this present situation, what must the people do now? We suggest the following:

(1) Report at your nearest recruiting station to join the People’s Militia. We shall be opening a number of centres within the next three or four days. We believe that it is precisely our people in uniform and our people without uniform, represented by the People’s Revolutionary Army and the People’s Militia, who will be our best safeguards against terrorist activities and sabotage of our Revolution.

(2) Phone up or otherwise contact the People’s Revolutionary Army is you notice any suspicious behaviour or strange persons around the areas.

(3) Keep your eyes on what is happening in the economy.

We stress yet again that never in history has there been such a humane and lenient Revolution. Freedom of the Press and all other freedoms have been fully protected and guaranteed by the Revolution.

At the same time, no one must mistake our leniency for weakness, and no arsonists or saboteurs must expect any mercy from the people and the people in uniform — the People’s Revolutionary Army.

As a people we have made great sacrifices in the past. We have never succumbed to the violence of any bully. We shall not be bullied today. When people are conscious, when people are alert, when people are organised, and when people are prepared to fight, in a united way, they cannot lose.

We have no doubt that in the same way that we were able to decisively defeat Gairy, we shall undoubtedly crush all of the attempts to disrupt and destabilise our country.


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