Posted: Sunday, October 11, 2020. 4:22 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: In two weeks, the island nation of Grenada will mark Thanksgiving Day in memoriam of the 1983 invasion by the United States following the chaotic overthrow of Prime Minister Maurice Bishop’s government, succeeded by a military coup.
Former Belizean attorney general, judge and politician Godfrey Smith recently released a book on these events titled The Assassination of Maurice Bishop, excerpts of which are being reprinted in Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.
Bishop and ten other government officials and private citizens were shot to death in still-mysterious circumstances occasioned by a split in the New Jewel Movement, which from 1979 to 1983 ran the People’s Revolutionary Government of Grenada, with Marxist-Leninist leanings.
The U.S. under President Ronald Reagan acted, it said, to protect American students attending school on the island. It gained the support of several Caribbean countries including Barbados, Jamaica and other Eastern Caribbean states, but not Trinidad, the Bahamas, Belize or Guyana.
Ultimately 17 persons were arrested, tried for the multiple murders and first sentenced to death, then life imprisonment, ultimately being released in 2008 and 2009.
In the excerpt in question which can be read here, Smith retells how a militant crowd of 15 thousand in Market Square, St. George’s rallied to release Prime Minister Bishop from house arrest at his official residence at Mount Wheldale, about a mile away from the capital city.
Smith uses the point of view of prominent Grenadian journalist Alister Hughes (deceased), who tracked the crowd to the residence where Bishop came out to meet them; the police, who moved too late to try to disperse the crowd, and Governor-General Sir Paul Scoon, who declined to intervene unless asked to by the Prime Minister.
Ultimately the crowd was successful, but those in opposition to Bishop managed to trap and kill him at one of the Army’s forts, claiming they had been defending themselves from an attempted takeover.
The Assassination of Maurice Bishop is published by Ian Randle Publishers, available online at www.amazon.com, BookFusion.com and in bookstores.
Smith previously authored George Price: A Life Revealed (2011), for which he won the Bocas prize for non-fiction in 2012, and Michael Manley: The Biography (2016).
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