volume 7 Number 7
For,. The beekjiBiog i~ach. 17th. 1979
7th Year Of Publication - - 205th Issue
MILITARY COUP IN GRENADA
A revolutionary army led by New Jewel Movement (NJM) leader,
Mr Maurice Bishop, 34, staged a successful"military coup and has
taken over the Government of Grenadh.
The action began at 4.15 am on Tuesday March 13th when a detachment
of the "Peoples' Revolutionary Army" (PRA) under the command of PRA
Commander Hudson Austin attacked the Grenada Defence Force
Headquarters at True Blue some six miles south of St.Georges. No
official details have been given of the attack, but informed
sources say the PRA detachment was 54 strong and was armed !with
self-loading rifles and sub-machine guns.
According to PRA sources, the action lasted 35 minutes. There
were no casualties on either side and all the arms and ammunition
of the Defence Force were captured. PRA sources say the total
strenqSh of the Defence Force was 320 and it is estimated that
approximately 280 men were in barracks at the time of the attack.
These sources say also that the entire Defence Force "surrendered"
and "fled" and that the barracks were burned to the ground as a
part of the action.
The first casualty of the revolution occurred after the Defence
Force had been neutralised. Details have not been given but it
appears that one of the Defence Force officers, Mr HyacinthBiizaan
Produced & printed by Alister & CyVthia Hgmeshe
P 0 Box 65, St.Georges, Grenada, Westladie
II/ II II I I !11
g j ,NADA NBWSLETTER Week Ending 17.3.79
40, possibly told of the fire by telephone, was driving from his
home towards True Blue when he was stopped by a PRA detachment
about a quarter of a mile from the Defence Force camp.
PRA sources say Mr Brizan, still seated in the car, attempted to
draw a weapon and was shot. His car, a new Mazda RX5, number
6303, which has been seized by the PRA, ,has two bullet holes of
about I inch diameter and almo9t-on the- same level above the
ground, and 6 inches down from the ceintfreiTp of thebdoor on the
driver's side. These holes are about 3 inches apart on the
outside of the door and about 2 inches apart on the inside.
There are no bullet holes in the seat which-is blood-stained.
The sequence of events immediately following the action at the
Defence Force barracks is not clear, but it appears that,
following Mr Bzizads death,a fire engine arrived at True Blue in
response to a report that there was a fire at the Defence Force
barracks. The men manning this fire engine offered no
resistance to the PRA when they were arrested. Shortly after,
however, two cars with policemen arrived, there was an exchange
of fire, and there occurred the second casualty. *
As far as can be ascertained, there was no shooting from the car
in which Assistant Superintendent Adonis Francis was riding. The
men in that car offered no resistance and, apart from a reported
scuffle in which Mr Francis' shoulder was hurt, these policemen
*ere taken into "protective custody" without incident.
In the other car, however, Assistant Superintendent of Police
Raymond "Bogo".DeSouza resisted and there9;as an exchange of fire.
In this exchange, a policeman, Corporal Godwin Pysadee,34, was
killed and PRA sources say he was caught in a cross-fire. It
is uncertain whether a Police or PRA bullet hit him. Mr DeSouza
One other policeman was hit by a bullet in this exchange. ,- p
is Barry Alexis and he received a wound in the upper left arm.
He is hospitalized and hospital sources say his condition is not
THE GRENADA NEWSLETTER Week Ending 17.3.79 Paw-
Following seizure of the Defence Force camp, the PRA moved on to
capture Radio Grenada which, by road, is about two miles from the
camp and is located about four miles south of St.Georges. Army
sources say the radio station was captured without a shot being
NEWSLETTER's first indication of the coup came at 5.00 am when a
report was received that the Defence Force barracks was on fire.
The next indication came at 6.15 am when the following announcement
was monitored from Radio Grenada.
"The Government of the criminal dictator Eric M Gairy has
been overthrown. The entire army has surrendered and
all their arms have been captured. A Revolutionary
Government has been formed, all religious rights and
freedoms are now restored. The people's rights'to life
and property are hereby restored, the new Revolutionaryi. ,i
Government 'orders all Police to remain in their barracks and
Police Stations and to await further instructions which will
be broadcast over this station. A new Commissioner of
Police will be appointed shortly.
The new Government wishes to assure those concerned that the
life and property of all foreign residents are safe,
guaranteed and will be protected. The new Government
looks forward to continuing friendly relationships with
all countries. The people, as well as all patriotic
and'freedom-loving Police are hereby called upon to make
sure that these orders ate; carried out. This is a
release from the Cabinet of the new Revolutionary
This announcement did not identify NJM with the revolution, but the
voice was recognized as that of Mr George Louison, a prominent NJM
member.. It was confirmed afterwards that he had read thih
Shortly after, the first of several statements by persons
associated With Mr Gairy's Government was broadcast. this firat
THE GRENADA NEWSLETTER Week Ending 17.3.79 Page 4
was made by Assistant Superintendent of, Police Adonis Francis
who was taken into protective custody during the True Blue
Mr Francis said, "I hereby call on all Police officers
and other law enforcement officers, to stay in their
barracks and await further instructions from the new
Government. I am satisfied that the leaders of the
new Government are in full and effective control. No
harm has been done to any of us who are being held in
It appears that, immediately following the capture of the radio
station, the PRA moved to take certain members of Mr Gairy's
Government into protective custody. (He was out of the
island together with Education Minister Senator Wellington Friday.)
Those arrested included Mr George Hosten, Minister of Finance,
Mr Herbert Preudhomme, Deputy Prime Minister, and Mr George Donovan,
Minister of State in Mr Gairy's Ministry with responsibility for
Foreign and Home Affairs.
At the same time, it seems that PRA units moved to capture Police
stations in the St.Georges suburbs and, about mid-morning, the
following statement _was' broadcast by the "Commander of the
f '"".r --"":
"As Commander of the Revolutionary Forces, let me state
that, so far, we have received no resistance. If the
people are getting resistance from any persons who do not
support the revolution, in any part of Grenada, call
Radio Free Grenada immediately. The Commander will
dispatch forces to your assistance.
All Police stations are hereby ordered to put up a white
flag as a symbol of surrender or the Revolutionary Forces
will take action against you. Thus is a statement to
the people of Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique,
especially to the men commanding the forces in St.Paulq,
St.Davids, St.Andrews, St,Marks, St.Patricks and
THE GRENADA NEWSLETTER Week Ending 17.3.79
and St.Johns. All power to the people !!"
The identity of the Commander was not given but the voice was
recognized as that of Mr Hudson Austin, a prominent NJM member. On
the station (now being called "Radio Free Grenada") another voice
recognized was that of Mr Unison Whiteman, NJM's Joint Coordinating
In one announcement, Mr Whiteman said, "Bulletin number 5. This
is a special bulletin from Radio Free Grenada. We now have
in custody the former Minister of State in the Ministry of
National Security, Donovan, his Cabinet colleague, Norman
DeSouza, and several other members of the old Government.
The others are in process of being arrested. All are
being treated with humanity. We wish no bloodshed.
Also in protective custody are several senior officers
of the Police Force and several hundred men. All are
being treated decently and will be released in due course.
We expect that they will resume their normal duties in
Today is hereby declared a public holiday in Grenada,
Carriacou and Pet t Martinique. We call upon all
citizens to take to the streets in massive numbers to
celebrate this peoples' victory."
Yet another voice heard on Radio Free Grenada was recognized. It
was NJM's Mr Bernard Coard who was the elected member of the House
of Representatives for St.Georges Town. Shortly before 10.00 am,
Mr Coard broadcast this message :-
"Caldwell Taylor, Kennedy Budhlall, Kenneth Budhlall,
any of the comrades in Grenville !! Please ring
Radio Grenada (sic) immediately I Anyone hearing
this broadcast ask these brothers to contact Radio
Grenada immediately Grenville Police Station has
sur~ dered to the Revolutionary Forces !!!"
Mr Coard broadcast another message which said that elements of the
THE GRNADA NEWSLETTER Week Ending 17.3.79 Page 6
j"mongoose gang" were moving up the west coast in vehicles towards -
1the town of Gouyave. Mr Coard called on the Revolutionary
;Forces in that area to "prepare to deal with the moongoose gang".
|"at all costs they have to be stopped",'he said, "road blocks and
!everything else, let them have it !!"
!At 10.45am, the revolution was positively identified for the first
time with NJM. It was announced about 10.00 am that the "Prime
Minister of the Peoples' Revolutionary Government" would be
addressing the nation at 10.30. That deadline was not kept
but, 15 minutes later, the "Prime Minister" was announced and
Mr Maurice Bishop broadcast the following message :-
"Sisters and brothers, this is Maurice Bishop speaking.
At 4.15 this morning, the Peoples' Revolutionary Forces
siezed control of the army barracks at True Blue. The
barracks were burned to the ground. After half-an-
hour of struggle, the forces Gairy armed were completely
defeated and surrendered. Every single soldier
surrendered and not a single member of the Revolutionary
Forces was injured.
At the same time, the radio station was captured without
a shot being fired. Shortly after this, several
Cabinet Ministers were captured in their beds by units of
the Revolutionary Army. A number of senior Police
officers, including Superintendent Adonis Francis, were
also taken into. protective custody. At.this moment,
several Police stations have already put up the white flags
of surrender. Revolutionary forces have been dispatched
to mop up any possible sources of resistance or disloyalty
to the new Government.
I am now calling upon all the working people, the youths,
workers, farmers, fishermen, middle class people, and
women, to join our armed Revolutionary Forces at central
positions in your communities and to give them any
assistance which they may call for. Virtually, all
stations have surrendered. I repeat. We stress,
THE GRENADA NEWSLETTER -,Week Ending 17.3.79 Page 7
resistance will be futile. Dont be misled by Bogo
DeSouse (sic) or Cosmos Raymond into believing that there
are any prospects for saving the dictator, Gairy.
The criminal dictator, apparently sensing that the end was
near, yesterday fled the country, leaving orders for all
opposition forces, including especially the peoples'
leaders, to be massacred. Before these orders could
be followed, the Peoples' Revolutionary Army was able to
seize power. The Peoples' Government will now be
seeking Gairy's extradition so that he will be put on
trial to face charges including the gross charges, the
serious charges of murder, fraud and the trampling of
the democratic rights of our people.
In closing, let me assure the people of Grenada that all
democratic freedoms, including freedom of elections,
religious and political opinion, will be fully restored
to-the people. The personal safety and property of
individuals will be protected. Foreign residents are
quite safe and are welcome to remain in Grenada, and we
look forward to continuing friendly relations with those
countries with which we now have such relations.
Let me assure all supporters of the former Gairy
Government that they will not be injured in any way.
Their homes, their families and their jobs are completely
safe, so long as they do not offer violence to our
Government. However, those who resist violently will
be firmly dealt with. I am calling upon all the
supporters of the former Government to realise that
Gairy has fled the country, and to cooperate fully with
our new Government. You will not be victimised, we
People of Grenada, this revolution is for work, for food,
for decent housing and health facilities, and for a
bright future for our children and great grand-children.
The benefits of the revolution will be given to everyone,
THE GRENADA NEWSLETTER Week Ending 17.3.79 Page 8
regardless of political opinion, or which political party
they support. Let us all unite as one.
All Police stations are again reminded to surrender their
arms to the Peoples' Revolutionary:Forces.
We know Gairy will try to organise international assistance,
but we advise that it will be an international criminal
offence to assist the dictator Gairy. This will amount to
an intolerable interference in the internal affairs of our
country and will be resisted by all patriotic Grenadians with
every ounce of our strength.
I am appealing to all the people, gather at all central places
all over the country and prepare to welcome and assist the
peoples' armed forces when they come into your area. The
revolution is expected to consolidate its position of power
within the next few hours. Long live the people of
Grenada !! Long live freedom and democracy 11 Let us
together build a just Grenada !!!!"
It has been difficult to ascertain the order in which the Police
stations surrendered. And, it is believed that several hoisted the
white flag before the PRA arrived. This isitrue of the Fire Brigade
Station on the Carenage in St.Georges where the white:flag, tied to
the front railings of the upstairs dormitory was out by mid-morning,
several hours before thxrewas any action in the town.
It is probable that, excluding the small Police stations in St.Georges
suburbs, the first Police station to hoist the white flag was at
Grenville on the east coast near to the airport. It is also
probable that the last to surrender were the stations at Gouyave
and Victoria on the west coast.
Shortly after Mr Bishop's broadcast, Radio Free Grenada announced
the arrest of Minister of Finance, George Hosten, Deputy Prime
Minister, Herbert Preudhomme, and former Senator in Mr Gairy's
Government, Mr Ashton Frame, "among many other top Governmeht
officials". At 12.25 pm, Mr Hosten broadcast the following
THm GRENADA NEWSLETTER Week Ending 17.3.79 Page
"This is Gebrge Hosten speaking. An hour ago, I was
arrested together with Herbert Preudhomme and several
other members of the former Government. We have all
surrendered to the Peoples' Revolutionary Government
which we realise is in control of the State.
We are being treated humanely; none of us has been
harmed. In the absence of Mr Gairy, I am calling
upon all G U L P (NEWSLETTER note, Grenada United
Labour Party) supporters to cooperate with the new
Government. They are in full control of the
situation and we want to avoid bloodshed. Please
Those few Police stations, including elements at Police
Headquarters, which have not surrendered, give up your
arms now to the new Government. Secret Police, give
up any arms you may have and do not injure people or
you will suffer for it later. I am informed by the
new Government that they will deal leniently with those
who give in now, but will be very harsh with those who
attempt to use violence on the people. Resistance is
useless now. Give up yourselves and cooperate fully
with the new Government."
At 12.55 pm, Mr Herbert Preudhomme, Deputy Prime Minister and
elected member of the House for the constituency of St.Johns,
broadcast a similar message.
"People of St.Johns and Grenada", he said, "this is
Herbert Preudhomme speaking. An hour ago, I was
arrested together with George Hosten and other members
of the former Government. I have surrendered to
the new Government. They are in full control of the
I am appealing to the mongoose gang and other secret
police and Police now in Gouyave to give up the Police
station now. Grenville, St.Davids and almost
THE GRENADA NEWSLETTER Week Ending 17.3.79 Page 10
everywhere ~lse-ha :surrendered. It is useless to
hold ut. The Peoples' Revolutionary Army here, has
all the arms from the Gairy army including sub-machine
guns, grenades and repeating rifles. If you try to
resist, you will be wiped out. They have promised to
treat you leniently if you surrender. This is Herbert
Preudhomme, I am appealing for your cooperation. Give
up the fight now.
This is Herbert Preudhomme speaking. I understand that
certain elements of the Police an4 Secret Police are in the
Fort and the CID station in a vain attempt to hold out
against the new Government of Grenada. Police in the
Fort and the station, I am appealing to you to put down
your arms and leave the station and the Fort one by one.
Further resistance is useless. The new army has all the
old army's weapons and a confrontatignwill result in your
The new Government has promised leniency to those who
cooperate. Let us avoid bloodshed. As Deputy Prime
Minister, I am calling on all Police throughout the country
to surrender to the new Government and, to those in Fort
George and the CID, this is a special appeal. Think of
your lives, think of your families, think of the patients
in our hospital. Resistance is useless. Hang out a
white flag and come out unarmed. Surrender now."
In St.Georges town, there were few signs during the morning of anything
unusual. Berthed in the inner harbour was a Russian cruise liner,
the "Ivan Franco", and passengers from this ship landed and strolled
through the streets which were deserted as on a Sunday morning.
All stores and shops were closed but vendors of spices and souvenirs
lined the approaches to the docks and did a brisk trade.
One unusual sight was that of young men, civilians, manning traffic
Control points. Uniformed Police were at these points until
shortly after 9.00 am, following which, civilian volunteers operated
the points all of Tuesday and until Wednesday morning when uniformed
THE GRENADA NEWSLETTER Week Ending 17.3.79 Page 11
Police again took control.
'It has now been confirmed that, between 9.00 am and 11.00 am on
Tuesday, Senator Derek Knight, Minister without Portfolio in
Mr Gairy's Government, Senator Henry Bullen, Minister of State in .
i the Ministry of Education, Lieutenant Colonel Winston Masanto,
:Commander of the Defence Force, Assistant Superintendent Raymond
DeSouza, and members of the band of criminals recruited by Mr Gairy,
the "mongoose gang", were at Fort George, Police Headquarters in,
In an interview at Richmond Hill where he is detained, Mr Masanto-
told NEWSLETTER that, at Fort George, the plan was put forward to
Shoist a white flag as a sign of surrender and then set an ambush for
Sthe PRA when they came to take over.
"I believe .I saved a great deal of bloodshed when I persuaded them
to abandon this plan", Mr Masanto *said. The ex-Commander of the
Defence Force said he was not in favour of the plan because it was
"unethical" and he did not believe it had any chance of success.
Mr Massant. said that, by 11 o'clock that morning, Mr Knight and the
others who had assembled at Fort George had dispersed. Since
then, he said, he had not seen Mr Knight and he did not know how he
Shad left the island.
The first action in St.Georges town took place at 2.35 pm when a
PRA detachment arrived at the Fire Station on the Carenage. From
NEWSLETTER's location, most of the area around that location can be
Seen and it is estimated that some 15 men took part in the attack.
There appeared to be little or no fighting, however, and five
only were fired. The PRA surrounded the building and it is
reported that a number of firemen came out the main entrance
(outside NEWSLETTER'S view) and surrendered.
This action seems to be of little concern to and to have little
effect on people in that vicinity who were not directly involved
in the revolution. The Fire Station is within 300 yards of the
docks, and several vendors were there at the time, selling to
THE GRENADA NEWSLETTER Week Ending 17.3.79 Page 12
tourists from the visiting cruise liner. When the first shot was
fired, there was a general clearing of the area in the immediate
vicinity of the Fire Station but, closer to the docks, people seemed
to be unconscious of what was happening. Throughout the action,
vendors continued to do business.
SBy 3.00 pm, PRA reinforcements had arrived and eight vehicles (cars,
jeeps and military trucks) left the Fire Station and went to .,
SPolice Headquarters at Fort George. The detachment arrived there
Sat approximately 3.05 pm and it is estimated that there were some
S50 men in the group.
Eyewitnesses report that, on arrival of this force, 15 Policemen in
the Criminal Investigation Department surrendered. It is reported
also that one Polioema. remained;in the'.building and locked, himself in
a room. Ten PRA members stormed :the building and brought out the
Sman, who was unarmed, without injury to anyone.
The detachment then proceeded up to Fort George which was taken without
resistance. The summit of the Fort was reached at 3.12 pm and the
white flag was hoisted.
The capture of Police Headquarters marked the end of any possibility
that there would be any organised resistance to the PRA. Reports
From Gouyave say the Police station there was taken over by the PRA'
shortly after 4.00 pm; the Victoria station, about three miles north,
had been abandoned by the Police earlier.
Reliable sources say that Mr Albert Forsythe, member for St.Marks in
Mr Gairy's Government, took the arms and ammunition from the Victoria
Police station to his home nearby, and it was expected that he would
make a stand there. The PRA, however, arrested him about 6.30 pm,
without resistance, and took him to Radio Grenada where most of the
other persons in protective custody were being held. The arms and
ammunition were recovered.
Mr Forsythe's arrest marked the end of the New Jewel Movement take-
qver operation which began with the attack on the Defence Force camp
at True Blue that morning.
2 rch 1979