The Grenada Revolution Online

Fitzroy Bain [1951-1983]

Fitzroy Bain
Photo, Fedon Publishers

Emotional, passionate, outspoken, clearly matter-of-fact, down to earth and plainly stressed, a reading of the scant record of Fitzroy Bain's last months reveals the high level of concern that burdened his life. 'Fitzy' or 'Putt' was executed at Fort Rupert on 19 October 1983.

Fitzroy Bain was born in 1951 and hailed from Thebaide, St. David. He taught school for some years. He is not a direct relation to Norris Bain, who was also killed in the same group execution on 19 October 1983.

The "Mighty Teach," according to Caldwell Taylor, "was quite a calypsonian . . . never made it to National Finals but did do his thing for a few years in the parish competitions."

Fitzroy Bain was a trade union leader; President, since 1981, of the Agricultural and General Workers Union (AGWU). Bain was a member of Central Committee of the NJM.

In 1981, Bain was looking for solutions to finding locations or a single location for Rasta agricultural workers.

During the October 1982 Extraordinary Meetings of the Central Committee, Bain was put on probation for six months and ordered to take part in an eight-week crash course in Marxism-Leninism to increase his knowledge of communist theory. He did not consider himself to have a high ideological level, especially in terms of vocalizing his opinions.

According to minutes of the Extraordinary Meeting, 14-16 September 1983 published in the "Grenada Documents-An Overview and Selection," Bain responded with his analysis of the state of the Party and the Revolution:

"Cde. Fitzroy Bain agreed with the position of the Cdes. He said that the strongest supporters of the revolution are demoralised, the party has set too much high standards for the people, we had expected social benefits to do the work for us. Cdes who leave the army are spreading unfavourable lines which is difficult to fight back, it is effecting the credibility of the army in the eyes of the people. There is presently a very low surface mood among the masses which will soon affect their basic mood.

Party Cdes bramble the masses, a small amount of our firmest supporters are leaving the country. The mood of the party is also lower than the masses at this time, there exist a level of mistrust, resentment and frustration among party Cdes. They are not convinced on the lines given by the C.C on Cde. Coard and Cde. Radix. Cdes set double standards in the party e.g when Cdes of the C.C do not do any house to house Cdes do not have any respect for the D.C, they also show a willingness to resign. Cdes of the Workers Committee are saying that their [illeg.] is at stake, they attend too many meetings, they have no time to visit workplaces and given very little time to address the trade union work.

Cdes refer to the case of Sydney Francis and Valentino Sawney who were disciplined recently in saying that Cde. Austin committed a similar offence and he was not disciplined Party Cdes are just going through motions, they lack the spirit to fight on the ground. They criticise the supervision of the C.C, they say that communication from the C.C is weak. They refer to the July Conclusion saying that meetings were held with M's [Members] and C.M's [Candidate Members] no meetings were held with A's [Applicants] but at the same time A's are expected to carry our the decisions and tasks from the July Plenary."

Bain commented again as stated in those same minutes of 14-16 September 1983, Collective and Individual Analysis:

"Cde. Bain said that the analysis is difficult for him in the given circumstances/problems in work, health and a number of Cdes being out of the country. The ideological levels of the C.C is definitely a great concern e.g we are not sharp in deteriming (sic) the main feature of the period of July plenary, which he was worried about particularly when the revolution is 4 years old. He said that another feature is that we come up with hasty decision as a result of pre mature thinking. Cdes are able to identify that the C.C collectively is weak, he agreed with the points made by Cde. James and added that it is greater demanding the leader to give more guidance to the process at this time."

[then a series of dots to the right and next line on the left in the margin could be a time - 5PM??? - most likely a notation of a break]

"Cdes are looking to the C.C for this quality, it is dangerous if leading Cdes cannot show these qualities. He said that he would have preferred is the Cde had named the C.C Cdes that the membership was doubtful of. He said that if this concensus (sic) is wide spread and the party do not take action on it, it can lead to more problems, how will these members respond and what will be the C.C's answer to it. He feels that whatever decision must be taken should be given the greatest thought, not only for now but throughout the future."

Bain expressed reservations about joint leadership during the 14-16 September 1983 meetings minutes, although apparent he voted for the formalisation of the proposal for joint leadership, he wanted clarity on the operationalisation of such a plan. His response to the proposal:

"Cde. Bain felt that the proposals made by Cde. James is a compromise though it is joining strengths of the two Cdes. together. He is confused on how this will work. He would like it to be spelled out clearly, he has problems to conceptionalise it especially when one Cde. will chair the C.C and the other chair the P.G. He will need to give this more thought. He is in agreement that the C.C and P.B have suffered with the absence of Cde. Coard."

At the Extraordinary General Meeting of Full Members on Sunday 25 September 1983, the minutes quote Einstein Louison as saying " . . . what is clear is that Cde. Bishop lost touch with the reality around him.' He also said that " . . . this is true for Cde. Fitzroy Bain."

Bain, before the accusation above was made, had again explained his beliefs:

"Cde. Fitzroy Bain said that there is a split in views in the C.C on the proposals and that whatever the results it must be for the party's survival. He said that he had strong feelings and he had problems with the report read by Cde. Layne. He said that we have to be careful that we don't move from right opportunism to left opportunism.

He asked how can the resignation of the Comrades help the C.C.? He said that this is to intimidate the meeting and that he strongly criticises this.

He went onto say that Cde. George Louison is absent from this meeting and that Cde. G. Louison has strong feelings on the matters being discussed however, we have gone ahead and held the G.M in Cde. G. Louison absence instead of waiting until he is back.

He said that this is not just a case of majority and minority since in the past the minority has held views and the C.C has not gone ahead with the position that was held by the majority.

He said he is unhappy about labeling comrades and that more ideologically developed comrades put forward positions and other like himself who are of a lower ideological level feel timid in the face of these.

He said that Cde. Coard's resignation last year exposed the weaknesses of the party and when Cde. Coard resigned he had openly called such a resignation a counter revolutionary.

He said that there has been some caucusing in the C.C., that Comrades are always talking to each other and that he has no problems with joint leadership but this can mash up the party since there was caucusing. He went on to say that he does not know if this is a plot, he is not sure on the caucusing and what comrades said to each other but if there is a plot we have to crush it.

He admitted that the criticisms of Cde. Bishop are correct and just and that Cde. Bishop's style of handling the situation and criticisms was petit bourgeois. He said that he knows that his ideological level is low and the other Comrades have a higher ideological level but he does not like these thing. He ended by saying he knows that the Comrades had well thought out position and were frank but he must say what is on his mind."

At the General Meeting of 12 October 1983, remarks of disapproval of Fitzroy Bain called for his being expelled from the Central Committee. The meeting continued all day into the evening. There was last minute news about people mobilizing a section of St. Paul's militia and seizing arms.

Things were, as one writer termed it, "psychiatric" at that meeting. Bain was warned against any organizing. According to Wagner, taken from Bishop's notes of the meeting, Bain "came up with the quote of the era, 'we are going to end up with a revolution without the people.' After which he burst into tears."

"Weep bitterly, and make great moan, and use lamentation, as he is worthy, and that a day or two, lest thou be evil spoken of: and then comfort thyself for thy heaviness. For of heaviness cometh death, and the heaviness of the heart breaketh strength.

Apocrypha. Ecclesiasticus 38:17-18

The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations is licensed from Columbia University Press. Copyright 1993, 1995 by Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

Bain did not attend the Central Committee meeting 13 October 1983 because he was not invited and the meeting of the 12th had been enough. After Bishop was put under house arrest on 12 October 1983 and mediation efforts were ongoing, on Saturday, 15 October,

Bain was organizing agricultural workers to demonstrate against the restrictions put on Bishop. Bain, still the President of AGWU, must have known about meetings at workplaces. Some workers called for a general strike. After such a proposed strike, surely the Central Committee would be pushed to release Bishop.

'Fitzie' Bain was one of the early morning leaders on 19 October 1983 to gather people; to lead the push to get Bishop at Mt. Wheldale, and was one of those in the forefront to meet soldiers at the entrance to Army Headquarters, Fort Rupert.

Inside the Fort, according to Adkin,

"Bain told Stroude that Bishop was free and that now was the time to settle the joint leadership dispute. They came in peace, he said, adding that Coard and his faction of Central Committee members had surrendered. Stroude went back to explain matters to the anxious party members and soldiers. He announced what Bain had told him, adding that he was in command as the senior officer present."

There is a story that about 30 party members, including Nazim Burke and Fay Thompson who were on the uppermost level of the Fort, had been locked up in the barracks by a group led by Pumphead Hayling and Fitzroy Bain.

In another story, Fitzroy Bain had run into the caves when the rockets began blasting and had been captured there.

Fitzroy Bain was, in the end, turned back to join the group of others to meet his final destiny.

NOTE: Norris Bain, a different Bain, was killed in the courtyard executions. There are many Bains in Grenada.

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