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Storm clouds again, watch it Grenada!

There is a saying that history does repeat itself which hinges on the belief that events of the past can revisit the future. It is our hope that the government is mindful of that as people are voicing concerns over Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell’s seemingly glorification of the Revolution.

Today, as we follow world news including what’s happening in Russia, the Gaza Strip and other countries, it seems like this is another period of restlessness in the world and here at home with the Catholic Church which Grenada must watch closely with care. In a bid to justify their move, Grenadian revolutionaries often make reference to overthrows in other countries around the same time that they staged the first coup d’état in the Caribbean to introduce a new style of governance from March 13, 1979. That was the time the constitution was suspended to make way for their own laws which they called the Peoples laws – conveniently written to justify their own desires. However, it was their own radical system that saw the death of some of them while others spent years in jail coming very close to be executed.

With a new twist on things, as the Grenadian delegation which was led by Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell returned from Cuba last week after celebrating the 45th year of Grenada establishing friendly ties with Cuba, it was revealed that a statue of Maurice Bishop will be made by a company in Cuba and erected at Fort George. The location was chosen because it was at that fort that he and some of his friends were lined up against the wall at the Top Square and assassinated. Fort George is now being reconstructed to be one of Grenada’s main tourist attractions which can be seen as a boost to our tourism industry. The issue was however, treated differently in the past as previous governments ordered the bullet holes to be plastered with cement in a bid to stifle that horrendous period.

To date a lot of those who were killed, were never given a decent funeral as their remains were never found. A small cenotaph in honour of Maurice Bishop, was constructed at Saint George’s top cemetery by a group of his followers, shortly after the demise of the revolution. But with the passage of time, it is safe to say that it is now ignored as the focus in October, is on two graves of revolutionary soldiers where fresh flowers are placed in their honour each year.

Like a shadow, the past seems to be following Grenada as we listen to people on talk-shows voice their concerns. There is no doubt that Grenadians are still benefitting by way of scholarships from Cuba, but truth be told – Aren’t these scholarships personal gains? Weren’t there a recent complain on GBN’s To The Point programme, that most of these people, on completion of their degrees, find employment outside of Grenada? So it’s a bit confusing as to what is the national benefit of sending people to study in Cuba.

There are those who think that it is a subtle way of getting young Grenadians to understudy their system of government which was the hidden intention of the Revolution. It is documented by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that the four and a half years of the Revolutionary Government in Grenada was essentially characterized by the experiment of Marxist-Leninist ideologies and philosophy. It is also documented that the Revolution which was welcomed in the beginning by the majority of Grenadians, lost popularity and credibility because of the brutality of methods applied. It was definitely a period of good and evil in Grenada.

After the Revolution failed and Governor General- Sir Paul Scoon took charge of Grenada, he deported all diplomats from The Republic of Cuba, the Soviet Union and other Eastern bloc states. This reminder can be found in an article of the New Today dated June 30, 2006 in an effort to dispel rumours that it was the NNP under Dr Keith Mitchell that re-established ties with Cuba. A little bit of history will show that the late Fidel Castro and his government refused to recognise the Interim Government, the original New National Party (NNP) of H A Blaize and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) under Nicholas Brathwaite. Cuba also instituted legal proceedings against Grenada after the Revolution, in connection with its airplane that was destroyed at Pearls Airport and some construction equipment that were used here for the construction of the international airport and were destroyed during the United States intervention.

The first prime minister to visit Cuba after the resumption of diplomatic ties was Hon Tillman Thomas who was also the minister of tourism. President Castro, in a bid to strengthen the Cuban economy after new hardships came with the collapse of the Soviet bloc and aid lessened, made an effort towards becoming a member of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) but was refused because of Cuba’s position on Grenada. So as a result, the Cuban government was forced to recognise the NDC government that was in power at the time, in order to gain entry into the CTO. A deal was also worked out for Cuba to drop all charges against Grenada. So today Grenada is once again in good standing with Cuba. Where this will lead, time alone will tell!

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