Every country is rich with histories and events that have shaped and influenced the minds of its people. Great personalities lived and left their legacies through their outstanding contribution in changing the society for the better. Though their opinions may not be concurred by the public, nevertheless they have shown the kind of change that they think would benefit the greater society. Maurice Bishop of Grenada was an important figure in the Grenada Revolution. One of the personalities that are of great importance in history is Maurice Bishop, the Prime Minister of Grenada from 1979 to 1983.
Other than being elected as the Prime Minister after Eric Gairy, Bishop also served as the Commander-in-Chief of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Grenada, Minister of Information, Defense and Interior of the People’s Revolutionary Government of Grenada and Chairman of the Central Committee of the New Jewel Movement (Wilder). Bishop is described as an excellent speaker with charismatic personality features. The audience was always captivated by his oratorical style in which he interjects humor and gestures.
Moreover, Bishop was a realist in such a way that he determines how his ideas would work, and “was articulate and warm with people” (Wilder). As a young boy, Bishop was intelligent, winning a scholarship from the Roman Catholic Presentation Boys College where he received a gold medal for being an outstanding student. During this age, he showed interest in politics and later joined and formed the Grenada Assembly of Youth after Truth with Bernard Coard. They would facilitate debates in the Central Market Place about current events. Even when he was in London and studied at London University, his interest in politics did not waver.
He became the chairperson of the West Indian Students Society and joined the Campaign Against Racial Discrimination (CARD). Moreover, he was one of the founders of a legal aid clinic in Notting Hill. Later on, he married Angela Redhead in 1966 but he still worked at the Legal Aid Clinic. He returned home in Grenada after being qualified as a barrister (“Maurice Bishop”). Soon afterwards Bishop involved himself in politics. He was one of the founders of the Movement for Assemblies of the People (MAP) and the Movement for the Advance of Community (MACE).
After a few years these organizations joined together with Joint Endeavor for Welfare, Education and Literature (JEWEL) to form the New Jewel Movement (NJM) where Bishop became chairman (“Maurice Bishop”). During this time, Eric Gairy was the most important political personality. He led the Grenada United Labour Party (GULP) while at the same time serving as the prime minister of Grenada. He formed the Mongoose Gang, a private army, which was responsible for beating Bishop and other members of the NJM. Gairy expressed his desire that Grenada must be independent from Britain.
Grenada was supposed to become independent of Britain in February 1974. However, this caused worries for the NJM because Gairy might appoint himself as a dictator. To prevent this from happening, trade unions, civic organizations and the church staged a national strike (“Maurice Bishop”). There were also protest march and demonstrations where some of the protesters were attacked by police. During one of these marches, Bishop’s father was killed through Gairy’s orders (Payne 135). Despite protests, Gairy and his party won in the 1976 elections.
Most people believe that voting papers have been tampered happened because only the members of GULP were elected. Bishop was then chosen as the leader of the opposition. The rising conflict between two parties was evident as Gairy consulted with General Augusto Pinochet of Chile, who also provided training for the police and military of Grenada. In turn, Bishop sought the help of Fidel Castro and the Marxist government in Cuba (“Maurice Bishop”). Another concern that was brought into the attention of opposition was Gairy’s state of mind.
During a speech at the United Nation General Assembly in 1977, Gairy encouraged the UN to institute an organization that would study unidentified flying objects. Moreover, he suggested that 1978 should be the year of the UFO (“Maurice Bishop”). Through a bloodless coup staged by the NJM, Gairy was ousted and Bishop was appointed as Prime Minister of the People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) (Kane). His charisma and popularity helped him to establish connections from radicals in North America and Europe. The PRG primarily aims to encourage private and public sectors to cooperate (“Maurice Bishop,” Answers Corporation).
Bishop tried to establish a good relationship with USA. Moreover, he agreed with the private enterprise doing business in the country. However, Bernard Coard, the Minister of Finance at the time, did not agree with these policies. He gained the support of the army in overthrowing the government (“Maurice Bishop,” Grenadianflava. com). Bishop and others were executed on October 1983 at Fort Rupert (“Maurice Bishop”). Bishop became active in politics even at an early age. He went to study Law in London and formed organizations upon his return in Grenada.
Later on he became the leader of the party opposing Prime Minister Eric Gairy. Bishop and the opposition believed that once Grenada became independent of Britain, Gairy would appoint himself as a dictator. Through a bloodless coup, Gairy was ousted and Bishop replaced him. The Grenada Revolution, which was at its peak during Bishop’s time, was important for the country as it signifies the black power movement. Bishop’s supporters think that his ideas will benefit Grenada.
Kane, Gregory. N. d. “Maurice Bishop and Bernard Coard. ” 3 December 2008 <http://www. ncat.edu/iajs/publications/Grenada/Ch3_Maurice_Bishop. pdf>. “Maurice Bishop. ” 2008. Answers Corporation. 3 December 2008 <http://www. answers. com/topic/maurice-bishop>. “Maurice Bishop. ” 2008. Grenadianflava. com. 3 December 2008 <http://www. grenadianflava. com/Maurice_Bishop. html>. “Maurice Bishop. ” N. d. 3 December 2008 <http://www. spartacus. schoolnet. co. uk/COLDbishop. htm>. Payne, Richard J. Opportunities and Dangers of Soviet-Cuban Expansion. US: Sunny Press, 1988. Wilder, Elizabeth. 2008. “The Grenada Revolution Online. ” 3 December 2008 <http://www. thegrenadarevolutiononline. com/bishopcopyrighted. html>
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