The New Today
Editorials

The OREL Factor

The chickens are coming home to roost.

This is the best description that THE NEW TODAY can find to describe the utterances of former member of the Security Forces Hugh Romain that can be found in a thesis that was done by his son Akino to obtain his Bachelor’s degree from the University of the West Indies (UWI).

Akino’s thesis was based on his father’s role in the activities of the left-leaning New Jewel Movement (NJM) of Maurice Bishop in paving the way for its successful armed overthrow of the Eric Gairy-led Labour party government on March 13, 1979.

Romain Sr made the startling revelation that the 1979-83 Grenada Revolution could not have taken place without the involvement of the hardline Marxist-Leninist group known as the Organisation for Revolutionary Education and Liberation (OREL) whose ideological leader was Bernard Coard, the former Deputy Prime Minister in the People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG).

This statement is not only absurd and misleading but confirms the view held by many that the bloody events of October 19, 1983 in the palace coup against Bishop was the work of the OREL faction that was operating as a small cell group within the NJM.

As a founding member of OREL back in the 1970’s, Romain Sr claimed that its members were the ones who did the organising on the ground in the country that led to the removal of Gairy from power. This is the kind of falsehood that was the hallmark of those OREL members who saw themselves as not only brighter than the rest of the population but in a superior class to other Grenadians.

Back in the struggles against Eric Gairy, the Grenadian people knew of NJM and its two Joint Co-ordinating Secretaries Maurice Bishop and Unison Whiteman who later held the position of Minister of Foreign Affairs in the PRG. 

The country was unaware of the existence of a group known as OREL that was formed by “the bright boys” of the Grenada Boys Secondary School (GBSS) and the Presentation Brothers College (PBC).

It is not surprising that most of the persons who were charged in 1983 with the Mass Murders on the fort were members of this power hungry group of Marxist-Leninists who regarded themselves as ideological purists without thinking that Grenada was not the Soviet Union.

The utterances of Romain Sr must be analysed alongside the document called “The Missing Link” that was written by another key OREL member John “Chaulkie” Ventour from inside the prison while awaiting his day in court for the murder of Bishop.

These two pieces should form part of the references to be used by any teacher who is given the task to teach the nation’s school children the history of Grenada. It is doubtful that any of our teachers are knowledgeable enough to lecture their students on the internal conflict in the revolutionary process that led to the mass killings on the fort.

How many of them are aware of the ideological leanings of OREL? How many of them know that OREL members were not admirers of the Fidel Castro brand of Marxism/Leninism but had more respect for the pro-Moscow ideologue, Trevor Munroe of the Workers Party of Jamaica (WPJ)?

Ventour slammed Cuba and Fidel Castro as the main culprits for the split in the NJM Leadership over their alleged meddling and role in trying to influence the course of the Grenada Revolution. It appears that the Cubans were aware of the existence of the Bernard Coard-led Cell group known as OREL that was behind the coup against Bishop.

In his statement days after the killings on the fort, Castro said in part in a statement issued: “This group of Coard’s that seized power in Grenada expressed serious reservations towards Cuba from the very beginning because of our well-known and unquestionable friendship with Bishop.”

There is evidence that Ventour’s attack on Cuba is not shared by all the so-called revolutionaries in the country who are known to still hold Coard in high regards.

This Coard group that has its origin in OREL turned out in the October 1983 events to be nothing but a bunch of cowards who were always prepared to put themselves in an advantageous position against their opponents whether through trickery or gun play.

The true test for them came on October 25, 1983 when U.S and Caribbean troops landed on the island to restore law and order and bring an end to Grenada’s four-and-a-half years experiment with Marxist government.

The Coardites were caught hiding and not one of them had an injury on any part of their bodies from battling the foreign force. This contrasts sharply with Bishop who looked his executioners straight in the eye, refused to turn around and take the bullets from the Machine guns in his back but rather to be shot facing them like a man.

If Bernard Coard was a true revolutionary and not just a power hungry misguided Marxist/Leninist he would be in Grenada fighting among “the masses” to ensure a much brighter day for them as back in the struggles of the 1970’s.

He is now enjoying life from his base in Jamaica but has left behind his small group who will always continue to plot and scheme from behind the scene, to get into office politicians who are considered sympathetic to their cause and beliefs.

The Coardites and their small band of followers have targeted both the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the main opposition New National Party (NNP) and Grenadians should not take their eyes off this group who will use Democracy to achieve their own selfish motives which is nothing but power.

The mass murderers have been hoping that the day will come when one of their own is able to sit in the chair in the Office of the Prime Minister in the Botanical Gardens.

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