The Grenada Revolution- 41 Years On

2 weeks ago we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Black Power Uprising on Ash Wednestday. On Friday the 13th of this month, there was also another anniversary- the 41st year since the Grenada Revolution of 1979.

As we have seen in our own history, the 70’s was known for its revolutionary activity around the world. The tiny island nation of Grenada produced its own revolutinary figure in Maurice Bishop, who shook the world when he overthrew the post-colonial government of Eric Gairy. Grenada, like Trinidad, experienced very little change in its post-independent history. Gairy had instituted his own “Flying Squad”- the “Mongood Gang” in order to enforce his authority over the people.

However Bishop was able to end Gairy’s rule and established a government that promised to fulfill its social obligations to the people. Radical reforms in education and health saw a drastic decrease in illiteracy and infant mortality. Meanwhile, women finally had access to maternity leave and equal pay for the first time.

However such an act of defiance against the status quo did not go unpunished. The United Kingdom and the United States both imposed economic sanctions on the new government, making it difficult for Grenada to access international loans and investment. As the economic situation worsened, an internal coup led to Bishop’s untimely assassination and an American invasion 6 days later which ultimately ended the Grenadian Revolution.

Like the Uprising of 1970, it too is an incomplete project. The interruption of this particular project has set us back decades in the fight for social justice. Who knows what Maurica Bishop would have been able to accomplish, and how the Revolution of Grenada would have changed the political landscape across the Caribbean?

We may never know, and that is why we continue the fight.

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