Grenada will hold a commemoration to mark the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Maurice Bishop, the country’s first left-wing leader, murdered during a coup on 19 October 1983.
Dr Wendy Crawford is the head of Grenada’s 50th Anniversary of Independence Committee. She said the remembrance will be part of the celebration of the five decades of the island’s political independence.
Over the past year, the Grenadian government reported that it was moving forward with plans to declare October 19 a holiday to commemorate the assassinations of Bishop and several members of his cabinet in 1983, which led to the collapse of the People’s Revolutionary Government.
Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell defended the decision to honour Bishop’s death as the country gears up to celebrate independence from Britain on 7 February 1974.
Mitchell said: “Our perspective of marking October 19 as a holiday is, in fact, that we recognise the sombre nature — the tragic nature — of what happened and that we reflect on it and understand what happened.”
Maurice Bishop was a politician and lawyer who, together with leaders of that Caribbean island, led a process of opposition to the US-backed military dictatorship of Eric Gairy through the New Jewel Movement.
In 1979, he led a revolution, defined by its democratic, anti-oligarchic and anti-imperialist character, and became prime minister.
After a US-backed coup against him promoted by the head of the army, General Hudson Austin, and the support of deputy prime minister Bernard Coard, Bishop was murdered along with 15 of his companions, including his wife, the minister of education Jacqueline Creft. Six days later the United States invaded the island to consolidate the coup.