Public meeting 19th March 2018, Central United Reformed Church, 60 Norfolk St. S1 2JB

Introduction from Chris Searle -Chris worked as an Educational Adviser to Maurice Bishop. 

In the early morning hours of October 25, 1983, the United States invaded the small Caribbean nation of Grenada.

President Maurice Bishop had been assassinated days earlier.

On March 13, 1979, Maurice Bishop seized power with the backing of the New Jewel Movement. The new government proceeded to implement an ambitious socialist program on the island.

In the next four years, while most Caribbean nations suffered terribly from the worldwide recession, Grenada achieved a 9 percent cumulative growth rate. Unemployment dropped from 49 percent to 14 percent. The government diversified agriculture, developed cooperatives and created an agri-industrial base that led to a reduction of the percentage of food and total imports from more than 40 percent to 28 percent at a time when market prices for agricultural products were collapsing worldwide.

The literacy rate grew from 85% to about 98%. A free health care and secondary education system were established, the number of secondary schools tripled, and scores of Grenadians received scholarships for studies abroad. There were ambitious programs in the development of the fishing industry, handicrafts, housing, tourism, the expansion of roads and transport systems and the upgrading of public utilities.

Maurice Bishop was attempting to empower the Grenadian people who had a long history of slavery followed which British colonialism, followed by independence in 1974. Five years after formal independence from Britain, Maurice bishop attempted to begin a social experiment to empower the Grenadian people, to involve them in the decision-making that would affect their daily lives. To bring a popular form of democracy to a country that had for, as I said for centuries, had been under the thumb of foreign rulers, in this particular case, the British.

Maurice Bishop’s vision for Grenada was of a small country standing tall and proud in the Caribbean region, and in the world community. He was able to bring his message very successfully of a new way for Grenada and the Caribbean to the world, to the United Nations, to the non-aligned movement.

.

But, what really happened?

Monday 19th at 19.00 to 21.00

United Reform Church, 60 Norfolk St, Sheffield S1 2JB.

Introduction from Chris Searle.