THE GREIADA NEWSLEPEER
special OAS as\ue
p9th .une 1977
OAS SESSION ~ELD IN GERADA
'he Seventh Regular Session of the General Assembly of the
Organisation of American States (OAS) was held in Grenade over the
period Tuesday June 14th to Wednesday June 22nd.
This organisation, the oldest of its kind in the world, was
established on April 14th 1890 as the International Union of American
Republics. In 1910 it was renamed the Pan American Union and, in
1948 when a new Charter was adopted, this Union became the eere~tariat
of the Organisation of American States.
Later still, on February 27th 1970, the Charter was broadened to
increase the scope of the OAS. At that time, the name "Pan
American Union" was dropped and was replaced by the General
Secretariat, and the General Asaembly became the supreme organ of the
organisation. Immediately under the Assembly are three Councils
of equal rank, The Permanent Council, The Inter-American Economic &
Social Council and the Inter-American Council for Education, science
The following 26 nations now comprise the membership of OAS.
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Cuba,
Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti,
Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Surinvai,
Trinidad & Tobago, United States of America, UrAguay and Venezuela.
In 1962, the General Assembly suspended Cuba from activities of the
OAS but not from membership.
All OAS members (excepting Cuba) were represented at the Regular
Session in Grenada and, in addition to Heads of Delegations, there
were 121 Representatives of the various countries and 47 advisors.
The largest delegation was that of Brazil which, in addition to the
Head, had 10 Representatives and 21 advisors. The smallest
delegations were from El Salvador and Surinam which each had, in
addition to the Head, two Representatives.
THE GRANADA NEWSLETTER Special OAS issue 2S. ;
Also attending the Session were representatives of :-
The Inter-American Juridical Committee
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
The Inter-American Council for Education, Science & Culture
The Inter-American Commission of Women
The later-American Institute for the Indigenous Population
The Inter-American Institute of Agricultural Science.
The Inter-American Children's Institute
The Pan-American Institute of Geography & History
The Pan-American Health Organisation
The Pan-American Railroad Association.
permanent observers to the OAS came from Canada, West Germany,
Egypt, Spain, France, Israel, Italy and Japan. Other
observers were from Australia, Austria and the Holy See.
There were also representatives from the United Nations and
from the following UN agencies :-
UN High Commission for Refugees
UN Development Programme
UN Children's Emergency Fund
UN Organisation for Industrial Development
Economic Commission for Latin America
World Health Organisation
International Workers' Organisation
Inter-American governmental organizations represented were the
Inter-American Development Bank and the Inter-American Council
for Defence. There were also representatives from the Latin
American Free Trade Association, the Caribbean Community and the
Organisation For The Banning Of Nuclear Arms In Latin America.
The main conference room of the Session was in a 600 seat geodesic
dome specially erected on the grounds of the Holiday Inn on
Grand Anse beach, while committee meeting rooms were provided
in the hotel itself. In the main, official delegations were
housed at the Holiday Inn, but accommodation for delegation
was also provided by several south coast hotels.
In his opening address to the Conference, Prime Minister Gairy
referred to opposition which had arisen over the holding of
the Session in Grenada. "I certainly do not consider it
bad taste, nor out of context, to make mention of the mental
anguish and anxiety we encountered during the past few months
when some very strong and forceful efforts were made to remove
the privilege of our hosting this conference from ua", he said.
"We passed through a very intricate, completed and intriguing
THE IGRFADA NklHAETTERF Special OAS ieesu 29.6.77
maze of concern, criticitmas nd apprehensions. We h.ve emerged
successfully, and I give praise to the Supreme God, the All and the
In his address, Mr Gairy also referred to assistance which had been
given to Grenada by other countries. Canada gave chairs for the
main conference room, Chile provided all the required stationery,
Japan donated three cars, Venezuela sent souvenir brief cases for
presentation to delegates and Barbados loaned nine bilingual
HOTEL OCCUPANCY UP DURING OAS CONFERENCE
A source close to the Grenada Hotel Association (GHA) told NEBSLETTFr
that during the period 12th to 24th June (the period coinciding
roughly with that of the OAS conference) room occupancy of member
hotels of the Association averaged 90%.
GHA has a hotel membership of some 14 hotels which provide the
island's 350 first class rooms with 700 beds. It is estimated
that there are approximately 150 second-grade rooms (300 beds) and
some 500 third-rate rooms providing 700 to 1000 additional beds.
No statistics are available on accommodation outside of GHA, but
indications are that overall occupancy figures during the OAS
conference period were considerably lower than those recorded by GHA.
The GHA source said that, while room occupancy was 90%, bed occupancy
averaged only 58%. The reason for this is that most first class
rooms are equipped for double occupancy, but delegations to the
conference required single occupancy, thereby making bed occupancy
much lower than room occupancy.
In comparison with these figures, GHA statistics show bed occupancy
for May 1977 was 12% and the bed occupancy figure for the whole of
June is 30J. The proEection for bed occupancy in July is 9%.
According to figures supplied by LIAT, over the period 9th to 25th
June, 1,975 passengers were flown in and 1,901 were flown out. The
movement in shows a peak over the period 12th to 14th with 600
passengers, and the out-flow shows two peaks, one 18th to 20th withl
THE GRENADA NEWSLETTER Special OAR iasue 29.9.77
366 passengers and the other 23rd to 25th with 483 passengers.
Figures for the month of June 1976Lare 3,334 paseengpasin._and
2,571 passengers out.
"'BELIZE & HUMAt RIGHTS" CONFLEENCE
Addressing the closing session of the OAS in Grenada on June 22nd,
Ambassador Alfred Rattray of Jamaica expressed the consensus that
the Seventh Regular Session will become known as "the Assembly on
Human Rights and Belize".
Following usual practice, the Conference divided into four
Committees with responsibility for different items on the agenda.
These Committees dealt respectively with (1) Juridical & Political
Matters, (2) Economic & Social Matters, (3) Educational, Scientific
& Cultural Matters and (4) Administrative & Budgetary Matters.
It was soon clear, however, that attention was focused on
Committee No. 1, and that items 19 and 25 on the agenda were
creating most interest.
Item 19 on the agenda read :-
"Information on the constitutional evolution of the non-autonomous
territories in the American hemisphere and other territories in
the Americas having ties with countries outside the hemisphere."
This item directed attention to Belize and to Guatemala's claim
to that territory.
Beli ,. is, of course, not a member of the OAS and has no status
with the Organisation, but a three-man delegation from Belize,
led by Mr Assad Shoman, Attorney General and Minister of State
in the Belize Government, was at the conference site and
conducted an energetic lobby.
In an exclusive interview with NEWSLErTER, Mr Shoman rejected
Guatemala's claim to Belize. "Their claim is based on old
ideas about their historical legacy from Spanish colonialism",
he said, "when, in fact, although Spain at one time claimed
sovereignty over the territory of Belize, Spain itself never
occupied, administered or governed Belize."
THE GRENADA NEWSLWTER -- Opec a QA3 lasu, 29.-.TT
Mr Shoman said the entire Caribbean Community (CARICOM) supported
Belize in the dispute, together with Panama, Cuba, the entire
Commonwealth of Nations, the non-aligned nations and, generally,
European, Asian, African and Caribbean countries. In spite of this,
however, his. country was unable to achieve the independence it wants
because of fear that Guatemala would overrun Belize if the British
forces were withdrawn.
Nor did Mr Shoman think the OAS could give the desired protection.
"Guatemala has managed to get a network of alliances within the OAS
which have tended to favour her claim to Belize", he said, becausee
she always presented it as a piece of Guatemalian territory which was
occupied by an extra-continental power." However, he felt that
Latin American countries were slowly coming to realise that Guatemal. K
fight is not with the United Kingdom "but with the people of Belize
who have a right to self-determinttion."
Presenting the other side of the picture when he addressed the OAS,
Sr. Eduardo Castillo Arriola, Guatemala's Permanent Representative to
the OAS, said he was surprised that the matter of Belize which was noan
on the OAS agenda had come up for discussion. He felt the matter
was before the Assembly in a way which was irregular and out of order,
Nevertheless, Sr. Castillo Arriola wished to make the position of his
country clear in a duspute which, he said, existed between Guatemala
and Great Britain and which could be settled only by these two
Tracing the origins of the dispute, Guatemala's Representative said
the origins of the colonial establishment of Belize are the same as
those of other "British enclaves" in American territories. "hey
go back", he said, "to the period when the pirating of Drake and
Morgan and other pirates in the service of the British Crown pillage'
La Guayra and Santo Domingo, and put fire to Panama, and who were
heroically repelled in their vain attempt to capture Catagena."
Guatemala's Representative referred to discussions which, from time
to time, have been held between his country and Great Britain, and
said that, in spite of repeated requests by Guatemala, rreat Britain
has refused to submit the dispute to arbitration. "We have wishes
THE GRENADA NEWSLETTER Speota OA3 ioua P9.,6.7
to go before the International Court of Justice", he said "but
have not been permitted because of the attitude of the British
Sr. Castillo Arriola told the Assembly that Great Britain has
instigated a "separatist movement" in Belize and there is o
national identity or unity in Belize on the independence movement.
"In the near future", he said, "we will have another round of
negotiations with representatives of the British Government
in order to try to find a possible solution. We hope to
solve this problem within the year, either by direct negotiation
or through arbitration."
"However", warned the Guatemalian Representative, "until this
controversy is solved, any interference from States, or associations
of States outside of my Government will be considered as an
intervention which must be repudiated. We will make use of
every resource to which we are permitted within our hemisphere
to reject these interventions."
The Resolution passed by the OAS under item 19 of the agenda
makes no reference to Belize. It simply takes note of
information placed before the General Assembly, requests the
General Secretariat to continue to keep the Assembly informed,
and instructs the Preparatory Committee "to include this topic
on the agenda of the Eighth Regular Sessaon of the General
On the other matter of great interest, item 21 on the agenda,
"Consideration of the Reports by the Inter-American Commission
on Human Rights", discussions were more specific.
Before the Assembly were the "Annual Report of the Inter-
American Commission on Human Rights to the General Assembly
for 1976", the "Third Report on the Situation of Human Rights
in Chile" and the "Fifth Report of the Inter-American Commission
on Human Rights on the status of Human Rights in Cuba". There
was also a document of "Comments made by the Government of Chile
on the Third Report prepared by the Inter-American Commission
on. humann Rights on the Situation of Human Rights in that country."
THE GCENADA NEWSLETTER Special OAS issue 29.6.77
On this issue, delegates to the Conference were divided.into two
main camps, those who wished to discuss "human rights" and terrorisme'
together as a single subject, and those who did not. Several
delegations spoke in favour of grouping the two subjects, and the
statement of Argentina's Foreign Minister, Sr. Oscar Antonio Montea,
sums up the position of these delegations concisely.
"Subversive groups should also be taken into account in defining
human rights violations", he said, "since their systematic criminal
acts form a persistent picture of a conscious policy which violates
Spearheading the contrary argument, that of not considering terrorism
together with human rights, Mr Robert White, Deputy United States
Representative to the OAS, said that, while his country condemns
terrorism in all its forms, the exercise of civil rights must not he
confused with terrorism. "My delegation asserts the principle
that, when all legitimate avenues of dissent are closed, and when
the liberties of the people are in danger", he said, "those who
defend those liberties should not necessarily be classified as law-
breakers or terrorists."
The Resolution passed by the Assembly on this issue makes no referenc-
to terrorism, commends the Inter-American Commission on Human
Rights (IACHR) for its efforts, and resolves that its resources be
increased. The Resolution calls on Member States to cooperate
with IACHR and affirms the preservation of human dignity and freedom.
"In particular", says the Resolution, "each Member State affirms its
belief that there are no circumstances which justify torture,
summary conviction or prolonged detention without trial, contrary to
When the vote was taken on this Resolution, the Representatives of
Honduras, Nicaragua and Bolivia were absent. Voting for the
Resolution were Panama, Jamaica, Barbados, the United States of
America, Surinam, Grenada, Costa Rica, Trinidad & Tobago, Mexico, the
Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Venezuela and Peru (1.). There
were no votes against, but the following countries abstained.
Chile, Paraguay, Guatemala, Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, Uruguay and
THE GRENADA NEWSLETTER lpeoaiL flAS I .oos 29.7f
El Salvador (8).
According to a Resolution passed by the Seventh General Assembly,
"... the Delegation of Bolivia presented its government's offer
to be host to the Eighth Regular Session in its territory, and
its offer also to contribute to paying the costs, in the amount
the Permanent Council indicates, for holding the Assembly away
from Headquarters (and) the General Assembly resolves to thank
the Government of Bolivia for, and to accept, its kind offer to
be host to the Eighth Regular Session of the General Assembly.
GAIRY: NO DIRTY LINEN IN PUBLIC
On Sunday June 19th, the Defence Force, firing automatic weapons,
broke up a demonstration of the opposition people's Alliance
undertaken in support of the preservation of human rights, then
being discussed at the OAS conference in Grenada.
The incident began when a detachment of six policemen stopped
a meeting of the Alliance in St.Georges Market Square, allegedly
for the reason that Police permission had not been granted for
use of a public address (PA) system. With a crowd of some
five or six hundred persons shouting, "Human rights 1", a
stalemate continued for some 20 minutes until Mr Maurice Bishop,
Leader of the Opposition, led a large section of the crowd away
in a demonstration through nearby streets.
At this time, there were several squads of the Defence Force
around the Market Square and, as the demonstration proceeded
up Granby Street and had passed one of these sauads of six or
eight members of the Defence Force stationed in that street,
this squad suddenly took automatic weapons from the tweak of.a
parked car and started firing into the air.
The crowd fled back to the Market Square where, after talking
with members of the local and foreign press who were present,
Mr Bishop attempted to continue to hold the meeting, this time
without the use of the PA system. However, squad of the
Defense Force, firing their weapons, moved immediately into
THE GRENADA NE ISTRTIERi .Spanial OA%. I.n R19.-.77
the Market Square which was then hastily evacuated by gedestrlana and
The Defence Force then fanned out through St.Georges firing their
weapons and chasing everyone off the streets. Their "clearn-up
operation lasted for over an hour, sparodic fire being heard from
widely separated areas of the town, and several people were beaten
with truncheons. There are no reports of anyone being shot.
On the following day (20th), Prime Minister Gairy explained at a
press Conference at the Press Centre of the OAS Conference that the
demonstration had been broken up to prevent what he called the
"washing of dirty linen in public". He told the Press that he had
said nothing against his political opponents when he addressed the
General Assembly of the OAS and he claimed that the Police have the
right to break up any demonstration if, "at the particular time",
they think it is "not in the best interests of the State. "In
other words", said the Prime Minister, "we're not going to wash our
dirty linen in public."
GAIRY: BROWN PEOPLE. WORST TYPE OF PEOPLE
During the course of his Press Conference on June 20th (held at the
Press Centre of the OAS Conference to explain why en opposition
demonstration had been broken up by the Defence Force on the day
before), Prime Minister Erio Gairy made both a racial attack on
NEWSLETTER, and an attack upon NEWSLETTER's journalistic integrity.
Referring to the anti-police brutality demonstration in Grenada in
1974, Mr Gairy said some press reports had been distorted. Pointing
to NEWSLETTER, he said, "You have a man called Mr Hughes, he's
sitting right there, he sent out a lot of distortion, a lot of
distorted pictures, and, if you read and believed what he sent out,
you'll think that this place is a police state. It's not that."
Later in the Press Conference, the Prime Minister made the racial
attack when he was describing the social condition in Grenada when
he entered politics in 1951.
THE GREMADA NMSLETTER Rpescial QOAA na e 29 9..77
"There was a wide gap between the very poor people, the waaing
man, and a certain class structure", he said. "Some brown
people, brown people who came as a cross-breed between English
people who lived here and black people or vice versa. A
cross-breed, and that's the worst type of people you meet in
any part of the world, particularly if they aspire to be white
but they're not white. Then, pointing to NEWSLETTER, Prime
Minister Gairy said, "Like that complexion".
BREAKING SECURITY LIKES (9)
An announcement over Radio Grenada on Friday June 17th accused
leaders of the New Jewel Movement (NJM) of being "...actively
engaged in breaking through security lines ..." of the OAS
Conference and of "...spreading their fals* and malicious
propaganda to our visitors ..."
The announcement said Mr Maurice Bishop, Joint Coordinating
Secretary of NJM and Leader of The Opposition, "...got through
security lines and spent hours with the Press spreading false
propaganda ...", and that the Police had been alerted to keep
out all intruders.
"Above all", said the announcement, "God designed this Conference
for Grenada and has blessed it with success. Those trying to
disrupt God's plan must stand the consequences."
In an exclusive interview with NBWSLETTER, Mr Bishop said he had
visited Holiday Inn (where most delegations to the OAS Conference
were based) on Thursday June 16th eo the invitation of Mr David
Korth, Third Secretary in the Canadian High Commission in
Barbados. "We sat openly at the bar for over an hour where
I was seen and saluted by an Assistant Superintendent of Police",
said Mr Bishop, "and neither he nor anyone else questioned my
presence". Mr Bishop said it was not until he was leaving
that the same police officer inquired whether he had security
With reference to his contact with the Press, Mr Bishop said he
had been interviewed by several members of the Press at the Silver
Sands Hotel on Wednesday 15th where "all courtesy and assistance"
had been extended to him.
In a Press Release issued on June 18th, the Leader of the Opposition
said, "We are becoming increasingly tired of the continuous and
consistent use of Radio Grenada to spread scurrilous, intimidatory,
blasphemous and libellous remarks, and intend to file High Court
actions early next week against the Government and Mr Ian Gale,
Manager of Radio Grenada, espr libel."
r Hughes 29th J-ane 1977