The following are excerpts from a
speech given by Maurice Bishop, Prime
Minister of Grenada, in January 1981 at a conference in Grenada’s
In the name of the New
Jewel Movement and the
People’s Revolutionary Government, and in the name of all free peoples
welcome you to the warmth of our people, the beauty of our shores, and
We see the region as one entire
indivisible entity, made up of
people sharing essentially the same history, coming from the same
region and certainly today fighting the same battle in the backyard of
After 400 years of colonialism, the
condition of the working
people of the Caribbean continues to be very much the same.
The transnationals continue to bleed our
countries dry, leaving
in their wake unemployment, illiteracy, poor housing, lack of proper
facilities, superstition, malnutrition and many other social illnesses.
Grenada, in common with most of the
region, is still in the
shackles of this vicious system.
But what distinguishes us in Grenada is
that we have begun the
task of trying to disengage from the clutches of imperialism . . . to
task of reclaiming our resources.
This is not an easy task.
Nearly everything we consume is imported.
We inherited an economic situation where
the Gairy dictatorship
practiced corruption on a massive scale, having done everything
destroy the Grenadan economy (and) to destroy in particular the
sector, the backbone of that economy . . .
Agricultural development was and still is
dominated by the
This sector of the economy, responsible
for over 90% of all
exports and which brings in over 40% of all foreign exchange, was
At the same time the country’s
infrastructure was never
maintained and depreciated badly.
Miles of road deteriorated into dirt track
and broken pipeline
was never repaired.
The country’s social services were totally
Hospitals were in need of repair . . . no
facilities existed . . . medicine was often entirely unavailable . . .
The regime owed massive debts to both
local and international
financial institutions, money which was not used in the interest of
The people of our country have made
substantial improvements in
the overall quality of their lives.
Unemployment has been cut in half.
We have passed a trade union act giving
all workers the right to
form trade unions, which have doubled in membership in the past 20
We have also introduced the principle of
profit-sharing in the 30
state farms . . .
This has stimulated the workers to become
more involved and
interested in lifting production, as they understand the problems and
We have also introduced systems of
emulation competition in those
Every month the workers choose one of
their members as worker of
the month for their hard work, discipline and consistency.
The worker of the year was a simple,
humble agricultural workers
who had developed a technique of ridding the cocoa farm of a beetle by
simple trap using the African bread fruit tree branches.
(This achievement) has shown what the
revolution can do to help
express the creative talents of the working people in our country.
The women of our country have also made a
number of important
strides . . .
The National Women’s Organization has
grown by more than five
times in the past year.
We have introduced the principle of equal
pay for all women; also
a maternity leave during the period prior to and immediately after the
We have completely outlawed sex
discrimination with respect to
The Community Education Councils which
have been established
refurbished 66 primary schools . . .
As of September, secondary education will
become entirely free.
A new secondary school has just opened
(while) in the 400 years
of colonialism only one was built by the British and in the 29 years of
Gairy dictatorship not one was built.
In 1978, three Grenadan students had the
opportunity to go abroad
to study, but now 214 Grenadian students are studying abroad.
In the area of health care, the number of
doctors has just about
Instead of one, we now have seven dental
As of October, all Grenadans are able to
receive entirely free of
cost all hospital and health services.
The fraternal assistance which we have
received from Cuba has
been extremely important.
The Cuban team saw more than 70,000
patients last year and
performed over 400 operations . . .
We wish to redirect health care to bring
it to the villages where
the people live and work instead of concentrating it in the three (sic)
The Community Work Brigades have been very
important in this
These work brigades came about in the
first few months of the
revolution as a result of our explanation to the people that, because
situation we inherited, national reconstruction must be done by us in a
When the roads, community centers or
whatever needed repairing,
we told the communities not just to come to us, but to form a community
to do voluntary work and then to come to the Ministry of Communication
a plan of what materials . . . and technical assistance might be
required . . .
This has been extremely successful . . .
Last summer, before the rains, 85% of the
population was working
on the weekends in community projects.
We (also) decided it was necessary to open
up the whole process
of budget discussion to as many people, particularly organized people
workers, as possible.
We invited the leaders of all the trade
unions to sit in and
discuss with the ministries and economic directors all economic matters
production requirements, where to spend or cut, etc.
All the figures in the 1981 budget, from
the highest earner down
to cemetery fees, were exposed to these public workers . . .
We are also now holding talks with leaders
of the trade union
movement over salary raises.
We are trying to get across the very
fundamental message that
wages in the public sector cannot be increased automatically every
that these wages have to be tagged to the question of production.
Without a doubt what the Reagan victory
has meant is that the
right wing in the region will become a million times bolder, hopeful,
that the correct part is the condemned Puerto Rican model, the
industrialization-by-invitation model . . .
Such puppets as Tom Adams of Barbados were
willing to express
their desire to carry out orders from Reagan hours before Reagan had
won the election.
That reaction symptomizes and symbolizes
the danger of the
Destabilization was begun against the
Grenadan revolution from
the very first day and also has not stopped.
The propaganda, in fact, has stepped up .
The Great British and the Americans ganged
together to deny our
country from receiving hurricane rehabilitation assistance.
In a recent survey in New York, 19 of 25
travel agencies, when
questioned about possible vacation plans for Grenada, said not to go to
as Cubans and Russians were all over the place, everyone has a gun,
barbed wire on the beach, you must wear a bulletproof vest when in town.
Seventeen of the 19 said that the State
Department told them to
say these things.
We recognize destabilization when the
elements, as small as they are in number, are able to use technology
entirely alien to our country to plant a bomb aimed at wiping out the
leadership at one blow, and which proceeds to cause physical and
injury to 97 of our people: 35 being hospitalized, 33 of the 35 being
Comrades, the Grenadan revolution pledges
that we will remain
loyal to our principles.
We will assist, within our means, to
advance the progressive and
pre-revolutionary processes in the world . . .
We believe that all revolutionaries are
united by common
principles, and all revolutionary struggles are one and indivisible.
When a Grenadan asked a Guatemalan several
months ago what we
could to in Grenada to help you in Guatemala he said the best way to
is to make sure your revolution in Grenada succeeds, is consolidated
continues to go forward.
We will do all we can to make sure the
Grenadan revolution is not
diverted, rolled back, destabilized, etc . . . but that the revolution