In the name of our Party, our government and free people I welcome you all to this 9th commemoration of Bloody Sunday, and I will like you to welcome and recognise all of our distinguished guests who have jointed us on this occasion.
In 1979, the first year of the Revolution, when we commemorated Bloody Sunday, we made the tremendously historic announcement that the International Airport Project which had been a dream for over 30 years was about to start with the assistance of revolutionary Cuba.
Today, comrades, we can record with pride, and considerable satisfaction that in spite of imperialism's desperate efforts to stop the construction of our International Airport the project nonetheless continues to proceed on stream and reasonably on time.
Today, we have already completed filling up Hardy Bay and even have started to pave a section of what used to be Hardy Bay. Our Terminal building has begun to go up and in 1983 it will be finished while fuel storage tanks with a capacity of 1½ million gallons are being constructed and should also be completed in 1983. The new access road to the International Airport is already under way and by 1983 that too will be finished. Only last week we signed a contract for the communications equipment - the navigational aid, the radar and all the other important equipment we will need to ensure that the airport proceeds on time.
You may recall, comrades, that last year when we commemorated Bloody Sunday, we announced that 44 million dollars had been found to ensure that the project would continue on stream throughout 1982 and beyond.
FOREIGN FRIENDS WITH US AGAIN
At last year's Bloody Sunday commemorations, we had a number of distinguished delegates, guests and friends from overseas who were here for the 3rd Caribbean Workers Seminar the biggest of the three held to date and for our first International Solidarity Conference when over 112 people from 41 countries and from all 5 continents of the world came to show support for our process and to be with us on Bloody Sunday, 1981.
It is with a deep sense of pride and satisfaction that we can look around us on this platform today and once again see so many friends, who have come to attend two more significant conferences being hosted by our country - the Caribbean Conference of Intellectual and Cultural workers which started yesterday and which has tremendous significance for developing the cultural aspirations of our region's people and starting in Carriacou tomorrow afternoon, the conference on Education and Production, which will look at Grenada and the Caribbean's work/study experience. We certainly look forward with great anticipation to the deliberations results of these two major conferences.
Comrades, today, we have with us, a comrade who has been serving his own people and the people of the world in a major crusade for pease, a comrade of great artistic talent who has put his career on the line, who stands with firm principle, who has the courage of his convictions, an unparalleled internationalist, a major figure on the international stage - welcome once again to Free Grenada Cde. Harry Belafonte.
Also, comrades please recognise the representative from a sister nation, which like ourselves achieved its freedom and its liberation in 1979 only some 3 months after we had done do, Welcome once again the fraternal representative from revolutionary Nicaragua, Cde. Ernesto Cardenal.
I want to also acknowledge the presence of Cde. Dudley Thompson of Jamaica, Cde. Gorge Lamming, outstanding novelist, Cde. Albert Schuman, Minister of Health of fraternal Belize, Cde. Edward Lamb, all of the delegates and all of our guests from our Caribbean sister nations who are here with us, many of whom have come to Grenada on several occasions and who therefore are absolutely no strangers to our free people.
THE INTELLECTUAL CONFERENCE
Comrades, we believe that this Caribbean Intellectual and Cultural Workers Conference is of historic importance because of the major issues that the delegates have been focussing on; such as the critical question of the communications media. of the success of planning, and politics and how they all relate to the general question of sovereignity [sic] and of cultural sovereignity [sic], in particular.
These are critical questions for our people and for the people of the region and we are convinced that the answers they will come up with will greatly assist the people of our region and will ensure the responsibility of intellectual workers in serving all our people.
We have had a particularly significant experience with our own intellectual workers. We have seen during the budget exercise this year, for example, the tremendous role that our own intellectuals, our top technicians, our leading managers of state enterprises can play in helping to lift the consciousness of our people.
We have also seen how in going out among the people and talking to them at the Zonal and Village Councils, these intellectuals themselves were able to benefit from that experience. In Grenada we certainly need no convincing that intellectual workers have a major role to play in helping to build the people's consciousness, and through regular contact with the masses ensure that their own consciousness is advanced.
THE EDUCATION CONFERENCE
The Education and Production conference which starts in Carriacou tomorrow is also a conference for all the people of our region because its main focus is the question of integrating work and study, so that education may become more relevant. The work study approach means that the people benefit in a meaningful way from the education which they receive, so that when they come out of this school system they will be able and ready to face the real world and to make a contribution to production, to building the economy, our democracy and our Revolution.
EDUCATION: A MAJOR AREA OF FOCUS
This Education and Production conference, therefore, has tremendous strategic value for us. Education after all has been and continues to be one of the major areas of focus of our Revolution. That is why in the first few months we embarked on this wide-ranging campaign to wipe out illiteracy in our country. That is why today in the second phase of that programme, our Centre for Popular Education is now embarking on Adult Education in the evenings on a voluntary basis.
That is why, comrades, we are ensuring that more day care, day nursery and pre-primary facilities, and more primary and secondary schools are being constructed in our country so that more and more of our people will have the opportunity of receiving the benefits of an education.
That is why the number of children in secondary schools has moved from 11% before the Revolution to some 35% more after the Revolution.
And that is also why so many of our students now, once they have gained the necessary qualifications are able to walk into free university scholarships which moved from a figure of some 3 in the last year of the Gairy dictatorship, to over 109 in the first 6 months of our Revolution to over 300 today.
THE CARICOM CONFERENCE
But comrades, the main focus of our Bloody Sunday commemoration today must be a report to the people of our nation on the CARICOM conference which turned out to be a massive, resounding victory for the government and people of Grenada.
It is absolutely correct, comrades, that every single one of the objectives which we had set ourselves before we went off to Jamaica for the conference was fully accomplished.
THE HUNTERS BECAME THE HUNTED
It is also true that those people who had set themselves up as hunters before the conference, became the hunted during the conference.
Those who had hoped to be the prosecutors of Grenada, became the prosecuted. And this was not done through any wild actions on the part of our delegation which included Cde. Unison Whiteman, our Foreign Minister, and Cde. Chris DeRiggs, our Minister of Health. I was simply because we had agreed from weeks ago in discussing our preparations for this conference that all we needed to do was to take a sober and steady course, to rely on truthfulness, honesty, firmness and principle and not opportunism.
We had decided not to allow ourselves to be side tracked into any mud slinging matches with the agents of imperialism, not to be drowned by any kites or red herrings which were being flown, not to get involved in any divisiveness but instead to concentrate and focus on the issues, on the concerns and real needs of the people of our Caribbean.
And that plan of ours, was outlined in Suriname for the first time during our visit some weeks ago, and repeated at a delegates WHO meeting, on Marryshow night in Grenada, at the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States heads of government meeting in St. Lucia and repeated further on several occasions in different press statements and press conferences before the Jamaica summit. We were confident that all we had to do was to stick to that plan.
We know that this question of trying to isolate Grenada and pretending that Grenada had a human rights problem was not a question on the minds of the people of the Caribbean. We knew that if all of these so-called "free" newspapers, the Guardians and the Gleaners and the rest of them, had taken the trouble and the pain to go out to the people of the Caribbean and to conduct a poll among the people, that even if they asked 500 questions not one of the answers would have shown that the people of the Caribbean were against us here in Grenada. This is why these elements can never isolate the Grenada Revolution because the people of the Caribbean stand with the Grenada Revolution and what we are trying to do.
THE CARIBBEAN PEOPLE'S REAL CONCERNS:
The people of the Caribbean were and still are clearly concerned about the question of jobs. They want to know how it is that so many of them are out of jobs, how every week a few hundred more of them are losing jobs.
They want to know how it is that even in their own countries where there are elections and so much talk of free this and free that and free the other that every week when they are being dismissed that not even the trade unions are allowed to come to their defence because laws are passed in some of these countries ensuring that workers have no rights.
Comrades the people of the Caribbean are concerned about this international capitalist crisis which causes the prices of our good to keep dropping every day: sugar, cocoa, nutmegs, bananas, arrowroot and bauxite.
They want to understand how come our goods keep falling in price but yet every week when we buy items such as cars, trucks, tractors, food in cans, fertiliser and so on, all of the things that we do not produce, those prices keep going up.
Our Caribbean people are looking for answers to those questions. They want to know how they could maintain closer contact with each other.
We have found in every Caribbean country this great desire and appetite to travel to different islands. But yet the price is so prohibitive that very few of our sisters and brothers are able ever to leave their own islands.
Comrades, consider that in 1970 the cost of an airline ticket to Dominica was somewhere under $200; today the cost is some $550, another $60 in tax and about another $90 in taxi fare. So to go from Dominica to Grenada today will cost about $700 dollars and our people want to know what can we do to solve this problem How can we ensure that our people maintain contact with each other? What creative ways can we find of reducing this high cost of travel? Can we, for example, get hold of Federal Palm and Federal Maple type boats once again and in this way ensure cheaper inter-island travel?
The questions of sporting contests, of greater cultural exchanges, of more training opportunities are what the Caribbean masses had and have on their minds. And that is why during the conference we raised these questions. We presented documents trying to focus on these issues. We tried to ensure that whenever contributions were made on our side those contributions were aimed at strengthening and deepening the regional integration movement, not disintegrating it.
We tried to focus on the issues and areas where we could ensure greater co-operation among the countries of CARICOM in the interests and for the benefit of the people in the CARICOM region. We tried to look at concrete ways in which collectively we could prepare ourselves better before we go out there to international conferences. We tried to focus on ways in which together we can bulk buy a number of key items like drugs and goods that the people of the region need.
FIRM MIND AND CLEAN CONSCIENCE:
We tried to focus on relevant and practical areas of co-operation. And it was with this understanding sisters and brothers that we faced our antagonists at the conference. And we confronted them too with the conviction that coming out of the great tradition of Marryshow and Butler, no Grenadian representative could ever sink to the depths of trying to destroy CARICOM. We went to Jamaica with a clean conscience, with a firmness of mind and purpose and with the deep conviction that the people of Jamaica and the Caribbean would be ready for our message and that message we were going to deliver.
And so sisters and brothers, comrades, the attempt to isolate and discredit our country failed miserably. The attempt to throw us out of CARICOM failed miserably. The attempt to pretend that there was an issue of human rights violations in Grenada got a lot of licks. Tom Adams' attempt to amend the treaty was hit for 6. The attempt to foist the narrow bourgeois view of human rights upon the people of the region didn't just get a 6, it got a 12.
Our delegation's plans to support and to propose steps to strengthen the practical co-operation among the people of the region received wide spread support. Our plan to ensure that CARICOM survived was also massively successful. Our intention of ensuring that whatever else happened among the people of Jamaica and the region that we preserved the image and reputation of our Revolution was another massive success.
We can say comrades, in all truthfulness, with the greatest sincerity and honesty that, in fact, the CARICOM conference was a massive victory for u. But today as we stand here commemorating Bloody Sunday what is more important than just simply saying we had a successful conference is to say also that apart from being a success for the people of Grenada and the Grenadian Revolution, the women, the youth, the farmers, the workers, the broad masses of Caribbean people were victorious also.
A VICTORY FOR PRINCIPLE
Our victory was a victory for principle over opportunism, for the forces of progress over the forces of reaction and imperialism, for the concerns of the people and not the concerns of a tiny minority ruling clique living in the capital of imperialism. Our victory, comrades, was a victory for the human nights of the majority of our people in the Caribbean - the poor and working people - and a defeat for the human rights of a minority that continues to exploit that majority.
It has to be seen, therefore, that what was being waged, In Jamaica this past week was a major political and ideological struggle. When you consider who were Adams and Seaga fighting for? Who were these people pushing a case for? Whose interests were they defending? When you ask these questions, comrades, you begin to see the real meaning of this CARICOM Heads of Government meeting over the past week.
When people in the middle of a conference of this type are able to argue with all of their force and their might for a definition of human rights that only stresses elections but ignores the right of workers to strike, ignores the right of our people to jobs, ignores the fact that in their own countries, and in the case of many of them, over 300 people were murdered during the course of last year without any recourse to law or to justice; when you see these elements fighting hard against the principle of ideological pluralism you must understand where they are coming from.
Because we were fighting to confirm once again the important principle that in this region there is and there should be tremendous ideological diversity and difference, that people were entitled to believe in a different way of building their own countries, economies and political processes. We were arguing what was a fact of life all around the world but Messrs. Adams and Seaga were fighting with every ounce of energy they could muster to say that the principle of ideological pluralism or diversity was not a principle we could accept in CARICOM.
SUPPORT GROWING FOR ZONE OF PEACE:
Now, if you are against that principle that a people have the right freely to choose their own way forward then what you are saying is that you do not believe in freedom, independence or national self-determination. That is what Seaga and Adams are saying by this disbelief.
Take a concept like the zone of peace which many democratic organizations up and down the Caribbean are today fighting for; this principle which calls for our Caribbean Sea to be declared a zone of peace, independence and development is supported by just about every significant organisation in the region. The Caribbean Congress of Labour, the Caribbean Conference of Churches and just about every single political party, and every serious organization in the region have come out in support of this principle which says that no one has the right to put their military bases in other people's country against their consent, that no one has the right to force colonialism on any people who want their independence and no one has the right to use pressure and threats and economic aggression against any country.
And yet you had Seaga and Adams fighting with every ounce of energy they had against this principle of a zone of peace, fighting hard on behalf of their masters' self-proclaimed right to send their warships up and down our Caribbean Sea to try to frighten and terrorise and bully the people of our region.
When you see that happening, comrades, you get a clearer idea of what they are fighting for. When you see these people fighting hard to bring Haiti into CARICOM while at the same time fighting to keep Suriname out of CARICOM it tells you really where they are coming from. These elements were actually saying that Haiti was a democracy but Suriname was a dictatorship - Haiti, a country universally regarded as an international latrine, where people are being killed and where people cannot get food to eat. These elements were saying, "no problem with that". That is their conception of democracy just like it is the conception of their masters.
BOWING AND KNEELING TO UNCLE SAM:
So comrades, when we exercise these questions we get a very clear idea indeed of what these people were really representing, whose interests they were really fighting for, of the extent to which their brainwashing has them so totally and completely in the corner of the mighty United States to whom they virtually kneel down and genuflect and bow and scrape because to them the United States is the beginning and the end of the world. These are the people who dare to try to point an accusing finger against the Grenada Revolution. These are the people who were bold and brave and fresh enough to try to accuse our free people of needing human rights.
And when in meetings with the people of Jamaica and with the leaders of CARICOM we were able to explain our concepts of human rights and democracy, Adams and Seaga discovered that it was an entirely different wicket that they had to bat on.
Because they discovered then that the people of the region were not only interested in what we had to say but they were enthusiastic about what we had to say, that they were not only not hostile to the Grenada Revolution but were fully in support of the Grenada Revolution. And all of this came as a mighty shock to these reactionaries, because they had begun to believe their own propaganda. They had already believed that the lies and distortions that they were planting in the Guardians and Gleaners and Advocates in the region had fooled the people. And when they discovered that the people were not being fooled that the people were able to see the truth, then they had to turn around and move totally and completely on the defensive.
When these people presented their case on elections and human rights violations, they started off making a lot of points about how the people of the region wanted this Westminster parliamentary democracy system, how the people must have a chance to decide and that if the people are not able to decide then you don't have democracy. In our response we said, that when we speak about human rights we don't just speak about political and civil human rights in the limited narrow way but we also talk about the social, cultural and the economic human rights that the people are also entitled to and that the Universal Declaration on Human Rights speaks about.
HUMAN RIGHTS FOR THE MAJORITY TOO:
We don't just speak about their kind of limited human rights but we talk about the human rights that the majority has never been able to enjoy, the human rights that they believe only the minority is entitled to: the human rights to a job, to decent housing, to a good meal when the day comes, to be able to form and to join a trade union, to be able to ensure that you can live a life of dignity and decency. All of these human rights have been the human rights for a small minority over the years in the Caribbean and the time has come for the majority of the people to begin to receive those human rights for the first time.
And when we speak of democracy, we told them, we don't just see the question of elections as being democracy but we see democracy as having much more than just a tweedledum and tweedledee election, more than just a rum and cornbeef convention, more that just a give seconds in five years fight to put an X.
We said that if elections is something that comes as part of a process every five years which ensures that the people are able to rule then democracy of, for and by the people must be much more than just putting an X once in every five years.
THE FIVE PARTS OF DEMOCRACY:
So we made out the case, comrades, that democracy must at least have five minimum parts and each of the five in important. We said that if you have a democracy, first of all the representatives of the people, the politicians must be responsible. Responsibility must be the first component. The politicians must work according to a plan that the people accept and not a plan that they decide to set on their own. They must make sure that on a regular basis through their contact with the people they tell them whether they are happy or unhappy with what they the leaders are doing. Responsibility therefore is the first aspect of democracy.
We pointed out secondly that a democracy must also have accountability. If there is no accountability, if the people had to wait for five years before the politician went back to them to account then you didn't have democracy. If for 4 years 11 months 3 weeks 6 days and 23 hours the people had to keep their mouths shut then that can't be democracy. So we were saying for there to be accountability the people must be able to have the right on a regular basis (at least once a month) of ensuring that the political leaders go and face the people and tell the people how the work plan is going, how you are carrying out their mandate and their ideas. The politician must inter-mix with the people, must ensure that the opinions, views and changing moods of the people are considered or else you have no democracy.
We pointed out thirdly, comrades, that if you are talking about democracy, then you have to develop mechanisms and organisations and institutions through which the voices of the people can be heard. You must ensure that on a regular basis the people through their own grassroots organisations are able to meet and look at the problems of the country, come up with solutions and then implement the solutions which are found for these problems. If you don't have mechanisms for people's participation and people's control, then you don't have democracy; what you have is a minority elected dictatorship.
We pointed out to these elements during the conference that in Grenada every single month thousands of our people come together in different villages around our country in their zonal councils, workers' parish councils, women, farmer and youth councils and there they are able to discuss their own problems, receive reports from the leaders of mass organizations on how the programmes of the revolution are going, get reports from the top managers in the county - whether it is the manager of the electricity company or of the telephone company or the price control inspector or the public health inspector - on what they are doing and how well they are spending tax payers' money.
We pointed out to these people that every single month the very top leadership of the party goes before the people in these monthly councils and accounts to the people on what they are doing. We pointed out to these people that these organisations are no joke organisations but are real, living and developing organisations, which bring real benefits to our people, much as when the workers in a parish council in August of 1981 demanded that the government find $1 million to buy 26 new buses so that the workers could get to work on time and the children would be picked up and brought to school on tine.
We pointed out to these elements that all our people were entitled to join the mass organisations in our country; that our NWO [National Women's Organization] starting from virtually scratch before the Revolution now has over 6,500 women, or nearly one of every three eligible women in our country, that over 8,000 of our youth are in the NYO [National Youth Organization] and 9,000 of our children in the Pioneer Organisation, that any woman, any youth, any child is able to join these organisations.
We further pointed out to them that every month these organisations meet and discuss the problems of our women, our youth and children, that every 2 years there are free and fair elections where the women and the youth elect their own leaders after reports on the programmes and the constitutions of the organisations are discussed at length by every single woman and youth who belong to the organisations.
We said, if you want an example of accountability, of responsibility, or participation - some to Grenada and see our mass organisations in action.
We had to point to to these elements that whereas they were crushing the workers in their countries that our Revolution, coming from the Gairy dictatorship with an inheritance of 50% of our people out of work, has in just 3½ years moved to just 14% being unemployed - 36% of our working people no longer unemployed.
We had to point out to these people that when every day the cost of an injection was going up in their own countries and the cost of visiting a doctor was mounting every day, in our own little, free Grenada suffering under greater economic pressure than them, we had free health care for the people of our country and twice as many doctors to give that free health care.
While the mighty United States was closing down their schools, we were opening up new schools and today in our country 35% more of our people are enjoying free secondary school education and 3.500% more are enjoying university education which is free of cost to our people.
Wile they were crushing the workers in their country and going before their bourgeois parliaments and passing laws to legislate how much money workers must get, we in free revolutionary Grenada have moved from under 40% of our workers unionised to about 80% of all the workers now in a union of their own choice.
THE RIGHT TO LIFE IS NO. 1
We had to say to these people that while they were saying that the first human right was the right to a bourgeois election, the first human right is the right to life and therefore we protect, and preserve and promote the life and the health of our people.
Wile they cock fight the people with elections and call that democracy, for our people in Grenada the main components of democracy - responsibility, accountability, mechanisms for our people to participate, benefits for our people - guarantee that every single day of the week we in Grenada practice democracy and we are by far the most democratic country in the CARICOM region.
But the greatest lesson of all we had to teach up there was when we said to Adams: 'All right, you say let the people decide, you say it is the people that are important. We agree with all that. Le us therefore instead of just talking about elections regard this question of human rights in the same way as the United Nations regard human rights, as being a mixture of 5 different things: political human rights, civil human rights, social human rights, cultural human rights, economic human rights. Let us take all of these human rights put them into one big basket, then draw up a questionnaire on a sheet about human rights and let us bring that sheet to all the people of the Caribbean in all the countries and ask the people to tick off what they call human rights. Let them say which one they want more of, which one they are not getting, which one they feel is the most important and when we get this big basket of human rights questions answered let us come back and publish it for the people of the region and the world to read.
And comrades, when we said to Adams: 'Let us take a poll', his response was that under no circumstance would he conduct a poll in his own country. In other words, only elections is democracy.
And as you heard, comrades, a number of American Congressmen were in the hotel next door to where the Caribbean delegates were staying and so every 5 seconds these American parliamentarians could come across and poop at Seaga and Adams to make sure they were behaving like nice obedient boys.
Every morning at breakfast one of them had to go over to the Americans to take the morning instructions, every lunch time one had to do won and report how the morning went and at night another set had to go across and tell them how the rest of the afternoon went and plan strokes for the next morning. It was that amount of vulgarity that obtained in Ocho Rios and that is the final piece of proof of the extent to which United States imperialism was trying to dictate this conference for Seaga and Adams. But what these people didn't understand is when you come out of a tradition of Fedon, and Marryshow and Butler and when you go through a 1951 revolution and a 973 revolution and a 1979 revolution there is a thing called revolutionary tactics that you learn and collective revolutionary experience that you gather as a people.
When these elements talk about free press and human rights and detainees we have to look at them and laugh because we know we never tried to fool our people or any other people. When they ask us about democracy and elections we say elections will come in a way most relevant to our situation but one thing is certain and it is that Westminster parliamentary elections and Westminster parliamentary democracy is dead and buried in Grenada.
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