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Never a dull moment in Grenada!

Grenada once again marked the period of the greatest tragedy in our modern history, when ultra-leftist madness engulfed some of the leadership of the NJM which resulted in the Assassination of Maurice Bishop and others on October 19, 1983. This contributed to the end of the Revolution six days later when foreign troops came to the rescue of a nation that was placed under a-24-hour curfew by the Revolutionary Military Council (RMC). Through the years, lines are seemingly drawn as to who attend the various events of commemoration at the different locations which continue to see the members of the Maurice Bishop & October 19, 1983 Martyrs Foundation distancing themselves from the infamous Grenada 17.

Despite’s the NDC government’s endeavor to hold one event this year, interestingly there seems to be a further divide as two key players in the Maurice Bishop & October 1983 Martyrs Foundation decided to go separate ways. Dr Terrence Marryshow who, for many years, had been constantly referred to as the chairman of that group has publicly distanced himself from the event planned by Peggy Nesfield (his long time close associate and comrade) at the Presbyterian Church in Saint George’s citing his reason as unwanted politics being introduced by the goodly lady. This newspaper is hoping that good sense will prevail for the survival of The Maurice Bishop & October 1983 Martyrs Foundation. Nesfield was seen in the company of the opposition leader and other key NNP members at the church who she also led to the Top Square at the fort to lay wreaths while another group led by Dr Marryshow who attended the government’s function was coming down from the Square after placing their wreaths there. So the two groups crossed paths and again at Fort George.

In explaining their differences this newspaper sought a comment from the two players. Dr Marryshow stated that for so long he had been leading the struggle to have October 19 declared a public holiday by government, he felt it was only just to support the government in the national event at the stadium which incidentally saw some new faces this year including Maurice Bishop’s former wife Angella and his press secretary Don Rojas in attendance. The medical doctor who was studying in Cuba for the greater part of the Revolution, said he felt that the separate event which was organised by Nesfield, was unnecessary. On the other hand, we are still awaiting the promised comment from Nesfield.

This year October 25 started with the usual commemoration morning event at the MBIA, in memory of the Cuban Internationalist workers who were here to provide physical labour in the construction of the airport. They were killed during the military operation. Dr Marrtshow was seen among the many people who attended, but Nesfield who was absent said that she was not alerted in time of the change by one hour for the event. It is not clear who is now the steering committee for the Martyrs Foundation, but Nesfield seemed to have been the organiser this year of the morning event at the cemetery for the soldiers who died in the intervention. While he was in attendance following the one at MBIA, Dr Marryshow was a bit low-keyed.

The afternoon saw another event, this time organised by the people who were jailed and have all accepted responsibility for the activities of October 1983. They were charged in a court of law, found guilty and narrowly escaped death by hanging. The Martyrs Foundation which can’t seem to forgive them, continue to avoid being at their events. However, members of the Ex PRA & Patriots Welfare Association were most visible at events – in the morning and the afternoon. In fact, they made a grand entry at the first event of the day at the MBIA. They even saw it fit to engage in a social activity where they shared food and drinks together at GTAWU’S office in Saint George’s to end the day. During the Revolution these men were not considered “the brain” they were the simple people who were trained to obey commands. Yet they are the ones who seem to have the answer for the common call for “unity”.

Interestingly, the construction of the monument at Saint George’s cemetery was done as a joint effort of friends of the Revolution, La Qua Brothers Funeral Home who donated the headstone and Members of the People’s Revolutionary Army. Shouldn’t praises go to the people who saw it fit to show some respect to the Grenadians who were commanded to fight against the mighty US army and others in 1983?

Speaking to this newspaper, a former Grenadian Ambassador to Cuba, Vyra Mc Queen, said that when she learnt that Fidel Castro had sent back the bodies that were mistakenly sent to Cuba by the Red Cross, for a decent burial in their homeland, she quietly began an investigation to get the names of the dead. This, she said, was quite tedious as the uncertainty of the period shortly after the Revolution, frightened people into silence. However with the help of Dr Marryshow, Nesfield, Brian Lindsay (who seemed to have been missing this year at the events) and others – the names of those who were buried in that unmarked grave were finally found. They sought permission to own the spot and Mc Queen remembers Einstein Louison, a former member of the Revolutionary Army, who became a public servant after the Revolution, being quite active in getting the permission granted to them. She said initially not knowing how many bodies were unceremoniously buried there they averaged the size of the plot where every year they met and payed homage in simple ceremonies. This went on for years with no government intervention.

We await to see the direction it will take now that the government is involved!

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