Comrade Members of Government,
Comrade President of the T.U.C.
Comrade Workers of Free and Revolutionary
Comrades, like Comrade Fitzroy Bain, I
want to say that this is a
limited overs match and I intend to have a very, very short inning and
like to go into the innings right away.
Comrades, 96 years ago  in the
United States, the
government of the capitalists and the imperialists attacked and
workers who were demonstrating, who had put down their tools demanding
rights to have an eight-hour day.
U.S. WORKERS STILL SEEING HARD TIMES 96
Today, 96 years later in the same United
States workers are still
being slaughtered in one form or another, workers are still being
one form or another.
Today, in the United Stated under Reagan,
ten million workers are
out of work.
Today, in the United States 96 years later
hospitals and schools
are being closed down and that will adversely affect the workers of the
The workers today in that country are as
oppressed and exploited
as they were 96 years ago.
In Grenada 96 years ago, comrades, our
workers were semi-slaves,
our workers were living in conditions of feudalism, but 96 years later
Free Revolutionary Grenada the workers are free, the workers are in
workers rule the country.
And because, comrades, it is the working
people who rule Grenada
today, because it is the workers who are in control, when the workers
demands, those demands are heard, those demands are recognised and
That is why so many laws to benefit the
workers of this country
have been passed over these years, and today I want to tell you
quickly, that we have passed in the last twenty four hours a number of
that will benefit the workers of our country.
I want to start with one that Sister
Jeanette Du Bois, the
President of the Trade Union Council, referred to when she was speaking
the great concern of the Trade Union Council, regarding the low level
compensation in this country.
She was right.
Up to yesterday if a worker in this
country lost his life on the
job, he could not get more than $1920.
That was yesterday.
But as from today if one of our workers
lose their lives on the
job they are going to be given at least $6000, at least four and a half
more than what they used to get at that time.
Up to yesterday in our country, comrades,
if a worker receives a
permanent injury while on the job he would be given the sum of $1680.
That was yesterday.
As if today, any worker who gets a
permanent injury would receive
up to $8000.
ACT ADDRESSES, OLD-AGE DISSATISFACTION
Comrades, this Workmen’s Compensation Act
has affected the number
and the range of injuries which workmen will now get compensation for.
It has affected the calculation of the
disability that workers
If in the past, for example, the laws or
the partial loss of an
eye was rated to 40 per cent, today, the percentage in that loss would
Therefore, the amount the worker gets
would have increased
This Workmen’s Compensation Act,
therefore, will deal with a long
source of dissatisfaction to the working class in our country and we
happy today to announce this is the first of the three new laws.
I want to mention the second one quickly.
The workers are, indeed, the ordinary
people in our country.
Over the years, when taking buses to
travel to different parts of
the island they often found themselves in a situation where if there
serious accident that they could not get any compensation for the
received, because under the existing laws up to yesterday, buses had
to ensure (sic) themselves for one injury in an accident for only $4800.
BUS INSURANCE NOW $100,000
Up to yesterday in our country, buses had
the right to ensure
themselves for all the injuries on the bus up to $9600.
In other words, if a bus carrying 20
people, let us say, ran off
the road and was completely destroyed and all the people on the bus
killed or seriously injured between all 20 people the maximum they
receive was $9600 each.
That was a source of tremendous injustice
for the people of our
country and this level of irresponsibility we have now stopped.
As from today with the passing of a Third
Party Insurance Act, if
a bus with passengers in it, gets into a serious accident, the
has to pay up to $100,000 for the lives and safety of our people.
And the third law I want to tell you about
is a law that our
people have been talking and calling for and demanding for over seven
Last year in one of our workers parish
councils, one of the
workers there stood up and made the point that she lived in Grenville
because she was working in St. George’s in the capital and because the
fares were so high she could not afford to live in her own house and
take a bus
every day up and down because the bus fare was more than the money she
getting every month and therefore, she had to come and live in town.
So she came down to town and she found a
little room in
somebody’s house and this person was charging her a rent and every
kept asking the person to do something about the boards in the house
pulled up, and about the roof that was leaking, and about the windows
not have glass, and instead of taking her on, the landlord used to come
month and say, “if you don’t like it you could get out and is fact if
giving me trouble, I go put the rent up.”
LANDLORDS NOW ACCOUNTABLE TO A BOARD
So the third law I want to tell you about
today that is meant to
deal with the question of high rent for the working class, is the Rent
Restriction Act which our government also passed today.
Under this Rent Restriction Act, comrades,
all landlords in our
country, all owners of houses who rent those houses have to go before a
a Rent Assessment Board within the next three months.
They have to register before this board.
That is the first thing that this law is
The second thing is that it recognises
that the poorest people in
our country very often cannot afford to pay a lawyer, that the poorest
in our country very often are afraid to go before a Magistrate’s Court
too much “big law” they saw down there.
So the second thing that his law is doing
is that when the
landlords come before the Board, it is not a Magistrate they are facing
three ordinary people in each of our six parishes on the mainland.
These people will be appointed by the
workers, by the mass
organizations, by the Trade Unions, the Chamber of Commerce, the
In other words, all sectors have the
opportunity of deciding on
member who can sit on this board and the way it will work is this: in
parish we are going to ask for choices to be made, for elections to be
from the different mass organizations and trade unions as to who they
to see sit on the Rent Assessment Board, and each parish will have a
discussions between six and nine people and out of that a chairman will
appointed by the Minister of Housing, and this chairman will choose two
from the panel to hear a particular application and it is these three
and brothers who will then determine the question of what is a fair and
GOVERNMENT SEEKS THE PEOPLE’S VIEWS
We feel in this way, sisters and brothers,
comrades, that we will
be able to address this question in a realistic way.
We also will be seeking your views on what
you want to see as
being the correct amount of tent.
We want to get your views as to how much
the maximum amount of
rent should be before we apply.
Some of the comrades have been saying $250
a month, some have
said $300, some have said $350, one or two here said $400 a month.
We need to know from you what your views
on that are and what you
want to see as being the correct amount of rent that has to be paid in
for this law to apply and after which a different law will apply.
So, comrades, these are the laws which I
wanted to bring to your
attention this afternoon.
But before closing there is one matter
that I want to spend a few
Many other comrades before me including
Comrade Chalkie Ventour,
have mentioned this matter and that is the question of war and pace,
and of the
particularly dangerous manoeuvres which the Americans are holding in
space right at this very minute.
ONLY BECAUSE THEY ARE BIGGER AND STRONGER
Comrades, if you can imagine a situation
like this: you are
living in your own land and you have your own boundary, and you have
some fence around your land because you have animals in the land that
to protect and using another section you have a kitchen garden that you
protect and if you can imagine somebody coming and deliberately tying
goats and their cows to mash down your fence and letting them go inside
and eating everything you have planted because they are bigger and they
stronger than you.
What I want to tell you about now is
something like that.
In this part of the world, the Caribbean,
a number of our
countries including St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Dominica and Grenada have
on Trinidad in order to get proper direction and proper electronic
the planes that we fly.
Every time, for example, one of us leaves
Trinidad to come to
Grenada, or leaves Dominica to fly to Grenada, or Barbados to Grenada,
we take off and fly the people in the Trinidad Control Tower must give
direction to pass, must say how fast to go, how high up to sly, and
you certain electronic guidance.
Now on Monday morning last, our tower at
Pearls got a message
from the Trinidad authorities saying they received a message on Sunday
telling them that the Americans were going to be holding military
the very air space that we have to use, that they are going to be
military manoeuvres 25 miles on either side of the air space that our
planes pass each day.
50 MILES BY NAKED EYE
As a result of that message the Trinidad
authorities were no longer
able to provide the proper technical or electronic coverage to those
were flying the planes and therefore instead of relying on all of the
sophisticated and powerful equipment, the LIAT pilots had to use their
50 miles of the danger area that the Americans had declared.
Now, I want comrades to understand how
dangerous that it.
That means instead of a situation where
when the pilots leave an
airport they know that they are being controlled by instruments and
equipment, they now instead have to control themselves by their own
for a certain part of the journey.
And every LIAT plane that lands in our
airport, land with about
In other words, the lives of 48 of our
people were being put in
jeopardy by these Americans, because they decided that they want to
in our air space.
They have all that amount of air space up
in America, all that
amount of air space out in the deep sea but they want to come and do
right in our air space in Grenada, and in that way to put the lives of
passengers and our people in jeopardy.
PLANNED FIVE YEARS AGO
I want comrades to understand that this
particular manoeuvre was
planned for as long as five years ago and in face on February 29, the
Defence Department had put out a release in Washington which said that
were going to have four manoeuvres in the region: one was a naval
one was called Red X 282, one was called Face Fact ’82, and this other
called Ocean Venture ’82.
So as long as 12 weeks ago they knew that
they wanted to hold manoeuvres
out there, yet the actual notice that they gave to the Trinidad
only a few hours on the Sunday night before they started their
morning at 3 o’clock.
And there were pilots flying planes who
were coming to Grenada
during Monday, who never heard a word about it until they were actually
sky flying the plane.
Up to that time they assumed they had the
full coverage they
Comrades, our government has sent up a
strong and sharp protest
to the government of the United States.
That went off yesterday.
We have pointed out to the United States
Government in that
message yesterday that as far as we are concerned in Grenada the
not having the manoeuvre in the region, the question is getting
if no permission is given don’t come up in our air space at all.
WE DON’T WANT THEM ANYWHERE NEAR US
We made it very, very clear in that
message, that as far as we
are concerned in Grenada we don’t want any American planes engages in
military manoeuvre flying over our land or our sea.
We don’t want any of them anywhere there.
Comrades will have noticed over the last
few days planes and some
helicopters flying over various points of our country.
All of that extra activity, all of that
illegal violation of our
air space is part of this military manoeuvre that these Yankees are
There people seem to believe that they
have the right to come
into our country and tell us what we must do.
They seem to believe that they have the
right to come to our seas
and use our waters with their guns and their battleships.
They seem to believe that they have the
right to come and fly
over our land and do what they want, putting our people’s lives in
destroying our commercial traffic, give us no consultation and we have
down and take it.
They seem to believe that they can do what
they want with us, but
once again we want to say to these Americans of Ronald Reagan that
can fly their planes, and while they could bring their big ships and
their planes can shoot at our people and our land and while their ships
bomb our country, we want them to know that unless they bomb down our
island and kill all of our people whenever they land we will whip their
and turn them back.
WE ARE THANKFUL FOR SUCH WORKERS
And that is why comrades, again today, I’m
telling the workers of
the world who are meeting to celebrate International Workers Day that
thankful that we have workers like you, Grenadian workers, who have
defend the gains of their Revolution, workers who have come out and
counter-revolution, workers who have been the eyes, and the ears, and
of our Revolution, workers who are armed and with their guns in their
would fight any enemy that lands on our shores.
Let me say to all of you workers: continue
to stand firm,
continue to support your revolution, continue to struggle with your
for more benefits for our people, continue to express your
solidarity, continue to build the economy of our country, continue to
your unity, continue to develop your political education and your
consciousness, continue to build your organization, and your organs of
democracy for once again we say:
CONSCIOUS AND VIGILANT PEOPLE CAN NEVER BE DEFEATED.
LONG LIVE THE WORKERS OF FREE GRENADA,
LONG LIVE INTERNATIONAL WORKERS DAY,
LONG LIVE THE WORKERS OF THE CARIBBEAN, OF
LATIN AMERICA AND OF
LONG LIVE FRIENDSHIP AND COOPERATION AMONG
ALL THE WORKERS AROUND
LONG LIVE THE STRUGGLE FOR PEACE,
LONG LIVE THE STRUGGLE OF OUR WORKERS FOR
UNITY, DEMOCRACY AND
LONG LIVE THE GRENADA REVOLTUION,
FORWARD EVER, BACKWARD NEVER.