The New Today

Commentary

Setting the record straight

In your recent publication of January 13, 2024 under caption: Tribute to Rasta Nang (aka PRINCE Nna Nna) by Keith Williams January 13, 2024, I note a number of inaccuracies and outright falsehoods.

My name is Michael “Sensei” Roberts and Mr. Williams obviously does not know me or the history of the Grenada Revolution and of Karate in Grenada. It is my hope that you will retract and correct this story.

Let me set the records straight.

(1). I was the very first Grenadian Black Belt graded by Japanese Master Kazumi Tabata in Trinidad and Tobago. At that time I headed the very first national karate association – Grenada Associated Schools of Karate (GASK) that was affiliated with the Trinidad & Tobago Associated Schools of karate (TASK) headed by Tony and Steve Parris.

I was first trained by Sir Eric Gairy’s bodyguard Antiguan Johnny Madrid who, like me, now lives in the United States. He was, at the time, a Brown Belt, before being graded to Black. As one of his two top students (the other being Nicholas “Nick” Joseph) we fell out and disagreed with him on certain issues and we left to form our own organisation.

(2). During that time I knew Rasta Nang Nang (he lived in River Road at the time). He was associated with Trinidad Master Don Jacobs Purple Dragon Karate school. We were competitors and rivals but not enemies. I took Karate nationwide – including a school in Carriacou -, attended tournaments in St. Lucia, Suriname, Guyana and Trinidad.

(3). Rasta Nang was NEVER involved or part of the People’s Revolutionary Army (PRA) – in no capacity. He may, for a very brief moment, got on board during the heady, excited early days, but did not stay on like most people. This is a clear falsehood. Nor did he take any national Grenada karate team outside of the country since he had only one small school in St. George’s. He did not have the organisational capacity that we had.

(4). I should know because I was also the VERY FIRST BODYGUARD to Prime Minister Maurice Bishop on day two of the Grenada Revolution, AND became the very first Head of Personal Security that I built to protect the entire leadership of the revolution.

Before going on to become Head of Special Branch (and in the process becoming the youngest person to head this security organisation in the Caribbean at 27 years old, and also the youngest Inspector of Police at the time. (See Attached photo) I’m the guy carrying a British Stengun facing the old woman. The other two individuals are Billy (from the PRA with the cap) from Carriacou, and La La (forgot his real name now). Rasta Nang was never ever a bodyguard or associated in any way with Maurice Bishop.

(5). I trained the bodyguards that numbered over 30 comrades by the end of 1979 and drivers at the time. From self-defense to weaponry and marksmanship. I also recruited all of the squad from around the country. I was succeeded by Carl Hyacinth from River Road, and I believe the last head was Ashley “Ram” Folkes.

(6). A number of my former karate students can attest to what I’m saying. Historical revisionism, outright falsehoods and deliberate or irresponsible embellishments only obfuscates the truth and gives a warp sense of our true history.

It is my sincere hope that you can publicly set the record straight and correct this badly flawed article. Maybe he [Mr. Williams] is mixing up Rasta Nang with me! That’s certainly a possibility.

Michael “Sensei” Roberts