1983 was a failed coup resulting in the “Assassination of Maurice Bishop” and was instigated by an ultra-leftist section of The New Jewel Movement leadership impatient and drunk on ideology!
Once again we mark one of the greatest tragedy in the history of our country – Grenada. Thirty-seven years ago today, ultra-leftist madness which had engulfed some of the leadership of the NJM, resulted in the Assassination of Maurice Bishop and other leaders of the Revolution.
The lines originally given that they died in cross fire which was later changed to them being killed in a fit of anger by soldiers after seeing their comrades killed simply are not true.
Many books have been written since in an attempt to explain the truth about what happened that tragic day. But in my humble view none explained it better than one published recently entitled “The Assassination of Maurice Bishop” by a Belizean writer and high court judge, Godfrey Smith.
Judge Smith did intensive research and interviewed many of the key players in the tragic events including Bernard Coard, Hudson Austin, Ewart Joseph Layne and Leon Cornwall, all former members of the Central Committee.
In addition to the above, he interviewed Ram Folks, Lester Redhead, Callistus Bernard, Cosmos Richardson, Vincent Joseph and Andy Mitchell. The last four were implicated in the actual shooting.
All of the above gave their own views of the occurrences of that day. While some held on to the old lines others frankly gave their views on what they knew happened and what they were ordered to do.
Judge Godfrey Smith’s conclusions are incredibly eye opening and in my opinion can stand the test of time.
Over the years many of us carried the official line of the then leadership sometimes psychologically banishing the truth in the deepest recesses of our minds as a measure to protect the leaders of the herd. This was a culture developed in the party over the years.
Many of us have suffered and died following the tragic events of October 1983. I personally, have bourn the brunt of the pain. I went through chronic depression. Today I face death from liver disease as I fed myself the wrong medicine to ease my depression. To me, my life ended with the death of the Revolution. I contemplated suicide on many occasions.
It is my solemn view that no amount of costuming the events of October 19, 1983; no amount of hiding behind the cloak of religion and youthfulness will set us free.
Just as we accept accolades for the tremendous good things we achieved as youths we must accept responsibility for the mistakes we made.
To bring genuine closure to the tragedies of 1983, we must all become “tired of the lies” as stated by Captain Lester Redhead to Judge Godfrey Smith.
History must explain the truth and nothing but the truth! For it is only the truth that will set us free!
I urge all my friends to read the book and come to your own conclusions as I have done.
As a former member of the Central Committee, I too share responsibility for the disaster. I have paid for my mistakes over the years and continue to do so up to today. I don’t want to die perpetuating the lies.
My deepest and sincere apologies to the Grenadian people, the peoples of the Caribbean and the whole world who admired the revolution and especially the families and loved ones of those whose lives were cut short in a hail of bullets on that unforgettable day.
I want to die with a clear conscience!
ONLY THE TRUTH SHALL SET US FREE!!!
Ian St Bernard