Michael "Chicken" Derek Roberts was born 8 December 1950 in Grenada where he attended the St. George's R.C. Boys School and Grenada Boys Secondary School (GBSS) with a general certificate of education. His (GCE) 'O' levels were in English Language and English Literature. Roberts was raised in the Jehovah's Witness faith.
After school graduation in 1969, Michael D. Roberts worked for the Grenada government at the Inland Revenue Department/Ministry of Finance. In 1972, he was dismissed from his position by head of government Eric Gairy. Roberts worked for the Huggins firm before joining the journalistic staff of 'The Torchlight'. Following this venture, Roberts became an insurance executive. During this time, before Independence in 1974, Roberts worked with the Bureau of the NJM, teaching martial arts. In 1975, Roberts was writing a column for the Torchlight, titled "Around and About".
From 1975 and parallel to his employment career, Michael D. Roberts became a karate expert. He graduated in March 1975 from the Grenada Martial Arts Institute with 22 other students while he was Chief Instructor Sensei. So skillful was he that after a 10-year study period, he obtained a 1st Degree Black Belt. He was also honoured with the mark of the Warrior from Master Kazumi Tabata (7th Degree Black Belt in Shotokan karate) for his 5 years of competition. That mark of "The Way of the Warrior" is tatooed on his chest in a Japanese character. Roberts served as President and Chief Instructor for the Grenada Associated Schools of Karate (GASK).
During 1979, in the months following on the 13 March 1979 coup and parallel to his employment career, Roberts served as O/C Personal Security under the command of Major Oscar Smith. His early military training occurred with the "paramilitary (Cadet Force) Adult Cadet Company" - according to records - where his rank of Corporal found him a Defense Instructor. Roberts took part in regional cadet training camps in Trinidad (1970) and Jamaica (1972)
During the Revolution, Roberts joined the People's Revolutionary Army (PRA). Roberts had come to Personal Security and the People's Revolutionary Army with training in Trinidad, Jamaica and Cuba in guerrilla warfare and his extensive martial arts skills. He was a PRA Officer Cadet by 1983.
March - August 1979, Roberts lived at Prime Minister Maurice Bishop's residence where he was Bishop's body guard. As early as March, 1979, Roberts was writing Special Branch reports on people and situations, usually reporting to the Minister of National Security Maurice Bishop. After March, 1979 Michael D. Roberts was trained for one hour each day for eight weeks by two Cubans in Grenada on counter-intelligence methods, called "advanced techniques of operational activities" and "security structure & strategy." Michael Roberts authorized a Top Secret report dated 7 June 1979 discussing the "Functions of the Operational Group and Counter Intelligence Group, as well as the future structure of Personal Security."
In the summer of 1980, Roberts was an Inspector within the 18-member Special Branch Department. By late December, 1980, he announced himself "Assistant Commissioner of Police" in a public place.
He was a Senior Security Officer; Head of Special Branch (Security) to Minister of National Security (Prime Minister Maurice Bishop) in 1981.
In the Interior Ministry, Roberts was in the Special Investigative Section, Special Branch; Church Activity Section Head (Report on Churches). Criminal Investigations (C.I.) was to coordinate with the police Special Branch section intelligence. The investigation was led by Officer Cadet Michael Roberts, official in charge of the Church Activity file, March 15, 1983.
On 14 October 1983, Roberts, Head of Special Branch, was one of those in front of the Esplanade office of the 'Free West Indian' who told a group of people that the issue [concerning Maurice Bishop and the NJM] was a party matter.
Michael Roberts was released from incarceration with no criminal or other charges from Richmond Hill prison after several months following the landing of US forces 25 October 1983. Approximately 40 people were imprisoned at that time, and held without charges being brought against them.
We next find Michael Derek Roberts in the United States where he was a member of NYC Grenada Forum 1997. In the 29 November 1997 issue of the Grenadian Voice is a full page Letter to the Editor, titled "It's My Turn Now." In this piece, Roberts starts out with a quote from "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu:
In this Letter to the Editor, Michael Roberts answers the charges brought against him in print and hearsay. He also states this:
Those who are skilled in combat do not become angered, those who are skilled at winning do not become afraid. Thus, the wise win before they fight, while ignorant fight to win.
I was part of the Grenada Revolution, easily the most progressive, organised and fruitful period of Grenada's modern history. For that I make ABSOLUTELY no apologies. Like every system there was good and bad. The Revolution was no exception.
Roberts has written and served as an editor for the NYCarib-News newspaper beginning in 1997. He also has written articles for Gotham Gazette's 'The Citizen', the Canarsie Chronicle, Caribbean Voice, the Spice Island Review of Grenada, The Black World Today and Carib-World Radio.
NOTE: There are many people with the surname Roberts who are Grenadians, including another Michael Roberts in the US. There are a couple of Grenadians with the nickname of "Chicken", including one in the Militia.