THE NEW TODAY is quite frankly not surprised at the tremendous response from a certain generation of people to statements made by former Army Commander General Hudson Austin in the first ever interview granted to a local journalist about the bloody events of October 1983 in which Prime Minister Maurice Bishop was executed.
As expected the supporters and sympathisers of the mastermind of the internal party coup against Bishop, the ex-Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard have been trying their best to discredit the General and to paint him as a man who is “depressed” and now at 83 is suffering from “poor memory”.
It is the typical strategy used in the then communist Soviet Union when a party leader is overthrown and loses power to a rival in the Communist Party of the USSR.
The propaganda machine went to work and often indicated that the ousted leader had died or suffered a bad cold from pneumonia and was no longer able to carry out his duties and State functions.
It could have only taken someone with the stature of General Austin to expose for the first time the role of Bernard Coard in the events of 38 years ago that shook the Caribbean and the entire world.
It is the first time that someone from the so-called Grenada-17 Prisoners came out publicly and admitted that the assassination of Prime Minister Bishop was the work of Coard’s secret group known as the Organisation of Revolutionary Education and Liberation (OREL) which was never disbanded over the years.
General Austin was also known prior to the Revolution and even during the four-and-a-half years of the process to be pro-Bishop and many were taken by shock to hear that he ended up on the side of the convicted killers.
Grenadians will soon have an opportunity to hear first-hand from the top army boss on his role in the events as they unfolded back then in the Spice Isle.
The General was also able to go into details on the military training that was being conducted by the National Liberation Army (NLA) of Bishop’s New Jewel Movement (NJM) in the build up to the March 13, 1979 coup d’etat against the Eric Gairy regime.
He also admitted that some of the arms and ammunition used in the operation to overthrow Gairy came into the hands of NJM from the security forces of the state itself and from the cache sent to the island in “Barrels of Grease” by Chester Humphrey and Jim Wardally who were charged in the United States with gun-running but skipped bail and flee to Grenada.
General Austin also rejected as hog-wash claims made by former revolutionary soldier Kennedy Budhlall that he was involved in an NJM operation to move into one of Gairy’s hotels in the south of the island and “to take out the Prime Minister one night”.
The General Hudson Austin interview is something that all Grenadians should be exposed to and to listen to carefully as it is very much part of our history.
A decision has been taken by THE NEW TODAY to release the audio of the interview in the coming days so that the people of this country can hear for themselves the account given by the ex-army strongman on a number of political events in the country.
It is our hope that the other so-called revolutionaries like Lieutenant-Colonels Liam “Owusu” James, Joseph Ewart “Headache” Layne, John “Chaulkie” Ventour, Leon “Bogo” Cornwall and Callistus “Iman Abdullah” Bernard will do the decent and honourable thing and truthfully shed light on the events of October 1983.
THE NEW TODAY is willing to give Coard equal time and even more time if necessary than General Austin to come to explain a number of things that took place 38 years ago that led to the collapse of the Grenada Revolution.
During the Maurice Bishop murder trial, Coard portrayed himself as an innocent man and that when the killings were taking place on Fort Rupert that he was suffering from back pains and was taken into a dungeon on Fort Frederick to rest his body.
Coard has a lot to explain to the Grenadian people as one who was in a senior leadership role of the country.
The account given by General Austin has also cast serious doubts on the truthfulness of the evidence given at the trial by Bishop’s former Chief of Security, Cletus St Paul who is now aligned to the ruling New National Party (NNP) that he witnessed a meeting of the NJM Central Committee in which the decision was taken to execute Bishop and those leaders captured with him.
As the top Army Commander explained, Bishop, Unison Whiteman (Foreign Minister) and trade unionist Fitzroy Bain were all members of the Central Committee along with Austin himself and never took part in any decision to physically liquidate themselves.
If there was any meeting on Fort Frederick to order the executions it could have only involved members of Coard’s OREL group who were trying to take control of the Grenada Revolution from “The Comrade Leader”.
The General Austin interview has reinforced the point that some people will stop at nothing including killing in order to achieve power in Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique.
It also serves as a gentle reminder that the Coardites/RMC elements are still alive and active in the political process within both the NNP and the main opposition National Democratic Congress.
As Comrades Chester Humphrey once said the collapse of communism with the demise of the Soviet Empire is just a temporary setback and the plan is to reform itself and to come back out again to rule the world.
Grenadians, please take note!!!