The Grenada Revolution Online

Bernard Coard


Bernard Coard
Photo, Fedon Publishers

Winston Bernard Coard was born in 10 August 1944, according to Grenadian passport information. He was born at the Colony Hospital, as the current General Hospital was known at the time. The Coard family lived in St. George's parish

Frederick Coard wrote a remembrance seemingly in contradiction to the 1944 birth date usually given for Bernard Coard though multiple accouts confirm otherwise:

I had left St. George’s in 1924, free, single and disengaged but, as I said, returned to St. George’s in 1938 with a wife and a brood of seven children!

Bernard Coard's father was the late Frederick McDermott “McKie” Coard, known as F.M. Coard. Coard's mother, the late Flora Fleming Coard, spent her last days in a Grenada nursing home before she died 21 July 2004. Her son Bernard was temporarily released from Richmond Hill Prison to attend her funeral.

It is unknown whether Bernard accompanied his father for a vacation in the United States to visit his other sons at the end of the summer 1955. Nevertheless, the senior Coard returned to Grenada when within a matter of weeks Hurricane Janet strick the island on 22 September 1955. Frederick Coard recalled the family moving to the lower ground floor [covered with water] of their home [and the galvanize blowing off the roof]:

I remember how we gathered all the raincoats and rubber boots that we could find and put them on. We then put our little nine-year-old son, Bernard, in a box under the dining-table. He seemed oblivious of all that was happening, for we could see him enjoying a fine nap during the whole period of the tumult.

In the mid-sixties, when retired from the colonial service, Frederick McDermott 'McKie' Coard, J.P., was a civil servant and worked for Rupert Bishop's import business.

Bernard's father Frederick wrote Bitter-Sweet and Spice: These Things I Remember, published 8 January 1970, Arthur H. Stockwell Ltd., ©1970.

Bernard was one of seven children [each born in “nearly” every parish of Grenada], according to Frederick Coard. Bernard Coard’s siblings are the late (1) Robert M. Coard born in Sauteurs, and formerly of Boston, (2) Dr. Floyd A. Coard of Los Angeles and Grenada, (3) Leonard C. Coard of New Jersey, (4) the late Errol Ira Coard of Boston, (5) George Coard of Grenada and the late (6) Ena Coard Squires, formerly of Boston. The seventh (7) and last child of Frederick and Flora Coard was Winston Bernard Coard.

The Coard family settled in St. George’s in 1938, according to Frederick Coard whose autobiography was about the various parishes where the family lived on his many professional assignments.

Bernard Coard went to Palmer Public Elementary School, St. George’s Anglican [known as Hindsey School] and St. George’s Methodist School. Palmer School was formerly next door to the Fort on Canash Hill.

Bernard Coard attended Grenada Boys Secondary School [GBSS] for six [6] years. He graduated with passes in the Cambridge examination. ‘B’ was the runner-up for the annual Island Scholarship, according to a fellow classmate. Before leaving Grenada for Brandeis University, Bernard Coard was a teacher at GBSS. At the time Bernard was at GBSS, Paul Scoon was teacher at GBSS, and housemaster at the GBSS Hostel. It is unknown whether Bernard Coard boarded at GBSS or whether Paul Scoon was his teacher – most likely. Scoon taught GBSS students that:

Please and thank you cost you nothing.

Bernard Coard was co-founder in 1963, with Maurice Bishop, of the “Grenada Assembly of Youth after Truth.” The organization was designed to enable the students of both institutions to address the important questions of the day. After secondary school graduation, for about nine months, Bishop and Coard continued the "Grenada Assembly of Youth after Truth" while Bishop was working at the Registry in Grenada and Coard was teaching at GBSS. The purpose of the "Grenada Assembly of Youth after Truth" was to attempt raising the consciousness of Grenadian youth, especially among and between the main secondary schools in St. George's - The Grenada Boys Secondary School (GBSS), Presentation Brothers' College (PBC), drawing in other schools in the Town of St. George. Membership was put at about sixty [60] young people. The organization held meetings every other Friday in the Central Market Place of St. George's. Members would speak in public of current events.

Bernard Coard left Grenada in 1963 to attend Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science [BSc, Econ] degree in 1966. His studies centered on economics, political science and sociology.

While Bernard Coard was at Brandeis, he headed for a meet-up with his parents who then lived in Dorchester, Massachusetts. While each party was in transit, on 9 Novemer 1965 electricity went dead in nine [9] American states and three [3] Canadian provinces. The event was described as the Northeast Blackout of 1965. Everyone was safe.

According to an author summary of a book Coard published:

While there [Brandeis] he [Bernard Coard] did a twelve-month research project with an Eleanor Roosevelt grant on ‘The Afro-American in Boston’.

He was also the Head Tutor on a Brandeis University Summer Programme for Black students, preparing them for university admission.

At the time Coard was in the Boston area, his late brother Robert M. Coard was in the City of Boston getting his Action for Boston Community Development [ABCD] Program off the ground.

Bernard Coard then moved to the Brighton area in England and entered University of Sussex in September 1966. Coard worked and studied for five years in England from 1966-1971. While in Sussex, he worked with the disadvantaged youth in London. Coard received a Master of Arts degree in Comparative Political Economy [M.A., Politics] the summer of 1967.

During his studies, he authored a 285-page paper dated 30 January 1967, titled “The Political Economy of Underdevelopment.”. Another reported Coard study was on the "Failure of West Indies Federation, 1958-1962."

Coard ran youth clubs in South East London, between that summer of 1967 and December 1970 as a Youth and Community Development officer, running seven evening schools for Educationally Subnormal [ESN] students. He taught school for two years at two ESN [Educationally SubNormal] Schools in East London.

He had also signed up for a part-time course of Studies at University of Sussex to earn a PhD in development economics.

Bernard Coard researched and wrote during the three 'free' summer months of 1970 at the London University, School of Education Library. the resulting effort was How the West Indian Child is Made Educationally Subnormal in the British School System: The Scandal of the Black Child in Schools in Britain.

From May to September of 1971, he addressed between three and five groups, each weekday afternoon and evening, and on weekends, of West Indian parents concerned about their children's education.

The 210-page manuscript came to be issued in book form:

A one-man West Indian publishing company, New Beacon Books, headed by the visionary and activist, John La Rose, undertook to have it published, ably supported by another one-person West Indian publishing concern, Bogle L'Ouverture Publications, headed by the indefatigable and visionary Jessica Huntley.

Phyllis Evans from Jamaica and Bernard Coard met at Sussex University in 1968. Within four months of meeting each other, they were married. Three years later their first daughter, Sola, was born (1971). A second daughter Abiola was born (1972), and a son, Neto, was born (1979).

Bernard Coard's research took him to Central America. He spent nine [9] months there, 1971-1972, doing research into the Central American Common Market for his thesis in Development Economics. The research was to aid fulfillment of a Doctorate in Political Economy from Sussex University.

While in Central America, Bernard Coard received an offer to teach at the St. Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies in Trinidad, which he accepted, settling his family in Trinidad-Tobago.

Sometime shortly after the New Jewel Movement was formed on 11 March 1973, Coard wrote to Bishop from Trinidad-Tobago about staying at the Institute for International Relations on the St. Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies to finish his doctorate thesis.

[Uncorroborated] One source reported that in August 1973 Coard was asked to work with approving the final draft of the Manifesto of the NJM . [Uncorroborated] Another source says the draft was printed at Lloyd Best’s Tapia House in Trinidad & Tobago.

From 16 June 1972 to 15 September 1974 Coard was a Visiting Lecturer at the [IIR] Institute of International Relations at the University of the West Indies [UWI] campus, St. Augustine, Trinidad. Coard was working on completing his thesis.

Independence talks in the UK, called the 1973 Grenada Constitutional Conference, during the period 14-18 May 1973 included Gairy, Blaize and Bernard Coard. Coard was one of the organizers and contributors to the conference Independence for Grenada: Myth or Reality, 11-13 January 1974, published from the conference location in St. Augustine, Trinidad.

The family moved to Jamaica where Bernard taught for another two years at UWI’s Mona campus in Jamaica from 1974-1976. He lectured in the Department of Management Studies and Government. During the 1974-1975, traveling often to Grenada from Jamaica, he wrote under the name Chris Holness.

Kamau McBarnette discussed Bernard Coard’s eye problems in his memoir. Coard was at the end of his research work on his doctorate by June 1976 when he had difficulty seeing out of both eyes. His condition was diagnosed by Jamaican physicians as keratoconus, colloquially known as bulging of the cornea of the eye. Treatment brought Coard partial sight in both eyes; nevertheless, corneal transplants were recommended.

Coard returned permanently to Grenada with his family in September 1976.

Winston Bernard Coard successfully ran on the People’s Alliance ticket in the Grenada General Elections of December 1976 representing the Town of St. George.

Coard is reported to have joined up with the existing OREL [Organization for Research, Education and Liberation] in September 1976. Coard was active in NJM during 1976. OREL meetings came to a close in 1978, and that same year Bernard Coard became head of NJM's Organizing Committee.

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