Alistor Hughes 13th February, 1975
P 0 Box 65 (1,111 words)
THE GRENADA NEWISLETT`R
For w -ek endiSA Februarv 15 I
PUBLIC FIGURES DISAGREE WITH GAIRY
Grenada,commemorated the first anniversary of her independence
on Friday February 7th, and, this commemoration took place in
an atmosphere characterise-d on one hand by Government optimtnism
and on the other by public concern over the future of the island.
Speaking at the opening of Parliament on February 5th, Prime
Mini;:>ter ~airy put on record that, for the past year, "Grenada
has made some measure of progress". The Prime minister conceded
that ;'reconstruction' and growth of the economy had been slow, but,
he said that the island made significant progress in the areas of
politics, and a better social understanding and atmosphere.
Mr Gairy thought, too, that Grenada now enjoys "a.tremendous
measure of goodwill' throughout the world.
However, in statements made on Independence Day, several other
public figures in Grenada expressed contrary views.
According to ilr Paul Kent, President of the Chamber of Commarce,
Grenadians had a very trying first year of Independence, and,
there is "no glimmer of hope that the situation is likely to
improve in the near future". Mr Kent thinks there must be
"a complete change of thought and policy" emanating from
Government, and that the most basic requirement is "a genuine
sincerity of purpose which appears to be singularly lacking up
The need for a change of Government policy was echoed by
Senator L-ric Pierre, General secretary of the beamen & Waterfront
The Grenada Newsletter
Public Figures Disaygree With Gaitv
Workers Union and President of the Commercial & Industrial Workers.
Union. Mr Pierre said workers realise that, in their own
interests, they must "put their shoulders to the wheel to build
a strong economic country", but, he felt that, if present policies
of ir Gairy's Government continue, he did not foresee "anything
better but probably a worse situation arising in Grenada".
In his statement on Independence Day, the Leader of the Opposition,
Mr Herbert 1Blaize, gave a reminder of Mr Gairy's pronouncement
some two years ago that Grenadians would not have to worry about
how 4hey would support Independence, but that independence would
support them. Mr Blaize thought that, on this basis, "the very
idea of independence had been conceived in duplicity" and, it was
not surprising that "all Grenadians have got from Independence,
so far, is a hollow farce, a mere sham".
The Leader of the Opposition thought, however, that, in spite of
the fact that Independence was a "premature baby", "it is here,
so Government should immediately stop fooling themselves and the
people, pull up their shirt sleeves, put on thinking caps and get
to work". 'Nobody helps you if you keep on fooling around"
said Air Blaize, "and, God knows Grenada needs a lot of help"'.
In the field of Tourism, Mr John Yearwood, President of the Grenada
Hotel Association, said 1974 was a bad year for Grenada and that
90', of the hotels in the island face bankruptcy.
This situation, according to Ar Yearwood, was brought about by the
unrest in Grenada early last year, which, he said, "was a purely
internal political issue based on a protest against alleged
The Grenada Newsletter
Public Figures Disagree with Gairv
Police brutality", but, which had been wrongly reported by foreign-
journalists as a "racial issue".
Hr Yearwood thought that "in the conditions existing then, the
unrest was quite unavoidable, but, the foreign press did Granada
a disservice in that, in several instances it was not reported
accurately, and prospective visitors to Grenada were given the
impression, and are still given the impression, that the
demonstrations here were of an anti-white nature".
What "disturbs" Mr Yearwood is that the future does not look
bright. He pointed out that Grenadians now await publication
of the Report of the Duffus Commission of Inquiry into alleged
police brutality, and that the controversy which existed in
January last year is still unresolved. "Only time will tell
what the future hold for us", said Mr Yearwood.
Another critic of the economic situation is Mr Lloyd Noel, Legal
Secretary of the New Jewel Movement (NJil). In his Independence
Day statement, Mr Noel said the first year of Independence had
been meaninglesss", and that "economically we are worse off,
prices have escallated, unemployment had doubled and money is
almost impossible to come by".
According to Mr Noel, "meaningful independence must be independence
both politically and economically, and, until we are able to
achieve that kind of independence, we are not going to see any
benefits from it".
Th jroenada Newsletter
Public FiD~ures Disagree with Gairy
NJM, said Mr Noel, has recognized Mr Gairy's promises as nothing
more than promises that could not be fulfilled, and "all the
fanfare and pageantry are pure bacchanal carnival.' Mr Noel
said his Aiovement saw the future as 'a sharpening of the struggle"
to liberate Grenadians from "the meaningless economic situation
in which we have found ourselves, all because of this one crazy
man ....... ."
Also making a statement on Grenada's Independence Day, was
Father Austin Milner, a Roman Catholic Priest who was Bishop
Patrick Webster's personal representative on the Committee of 22.
Assessing the past year on the basis of his contact with the
people among whom he works, Father Austin said that, at the
beginning of 1974, there had been "a great deal of fear and
anxiety." Father Austin's reference relates to the aftermath
of "Bloody monday", January 21st 1974, when armed Police and
Secret Police attacked anti-Government demonstrators, and,
according to Father Austin, after this, when there had been an
outward sense of quieting-down, i'there was a tremendous sense
This sense of waiting, said Father Austin, was "not so much for
things to get better, as a groat desire for justice. There was
a fooling that so much injustice had been done, so many people
had been hurt and ill-used, that there must be a public assessment,
that there must be a legal endeavour to put the thing straight".
"And people have gone on waiting", said Father Austin, "and
nothing has happened'.
The Grenada Newsletter
Public Figures Disagree with Gairy
Pointing to what he called "a great lowering of esteem for the
Courts and the Police", Father Austin said that there has been a
tremendous increase in crime which has "increased the fear and
nervous tension of the people". Father Austin said also that
an ever increasing lack of work and money had driven many people
out of the country, "simply, it would seem, in despair of Grenada
ever settling down to the kind of place that she could be."
According to Father Austin, the independence celebrations were
not celebrations of joy or rejoicing for liberty, but a "mere
escape from the tensions of the present situation." The
atmosphere on this first anniversary of independence is "one of
deep dejection and hopelessness", said Father Austin. "Many
people expect that when the Duffus Commission of Inquiry Report
is finally published, something will happen; some of us suspect
that nothing at all will happen." "And so, the future looks
dark", he continued, "dark economically, dark socially, dark
politically, and this, I think is the feeling of the majority
of people in the country."
Alis' r Hughes
3th February, 1975