The Grenada Revolution Online

Unison Whiteman [1939-1983]

Unison Whitman Unison Whitman

H.E. Unison Whiteman was born in Grenada on 23 September 1939, the son of Louisa Whiteman. He grew up on a 4-acre farm in Vincennes, St. David's. After graduating from Presentation Boys college, he went to the United States to attend Howard University where in 1969 he earned an undergradiate economics degree and a Masters Degree in Agricultural Economics. At one point, probably circa 1967, Whiteman was a roommate of Stanley Cyrus, a Grenadian from Grenville.

After he returned to Grenada, he was co-editor of FORUM newspaper and taught history at his alma mater, Presentation College until an altercation with the Gairy Government forced the school to fire Whiteman.

In St. David's Parish, Unison Whiteman stood with Maurice Bishop and Jacqueline Creft in the lead of a gathering to protest the locked gate to the beach of the estate of Lord Bronlow. Uni founded JEWEL (Joint Endeavour for Welfare, Education and Liberation) in February, 1972 and "merged this with Maurice Bishop's MAP in 11 March 1973. Whiteman was Joint Coordinating Secretary of the NJM along with Maurice Bishop.

In the elections of February 1972, of which Whiteman was one of four members of the Committee of Concerned Citizens who decided to contest on the ticket of the Grenada National Party. The GNP candidates were roundly defeated. Unison Whiteman, in political collaboration with Bishop since 1970, was the only remaining top-ranking JEWEL member in NJM after April 1974.

Unison Whiteman, usually named as a Co-Coordinator of the New Jewel Movement (NJM) along with Maurice Bishop. This joint leadership of the New Jewel Movement party continued until October 1983. Unison Whiteman was one of the 14 people named on 16 March 1979 as part of the Provisional Revolutionary Government (PRG). In an announcement on 25 March, 1979, Maurice Bishop announced, during a rally, that Unison Whiteman was appointed to head the Ministry of Agriculture, Tourism and Fisheries. Palme Buxo was named Secretary with direct responsibility to the Prime Minister. At that time, Whiteman was married with two children.

As Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People's Revolutionary Government of Grenada, H.E. Unison Whiteman delivered a statement to the Second Special Session on Disarmament at the United Nations on 23 June 1982. At one point, Minister Whiteman said:

" . . . like so many peace-loving people the world over, the Government and people of Grenada are deeply disturbed by the quantitative and qualitative increase of weapons of mass destruction.

As I address this distinguished Assembly, modern civilisation is at the very brink of an abyss, and man, the conqueror of inhospitable jungles; the domesticator of savage bests; the creator of dazzling and sophisticated civilisations is threatened with self-extinction."

One part of his closing remarks summed up his point:

" . . . as modern man stumbles perilously close to the edge of the ultimate precipice, we believe that it is not enough to merely desire peace. It is our fervent hope that this Special Session will give all of us the confidence to persevere; the fortitude to foreswear war; and the courage to disarm and to work steadfastly towards lasting peace."

Check the full statement at Whiteman Speech on Disarmament, 23 June 1982.

On Wednesday, 19 October 1983, Unison Whiteman, then Minister of Foreign Affairs, was murdered during the execution of himself and seven others in the inner courtyard at Fort Rupert.

Unison Whiteman was survived by his first wife Mary Dean and daughter Angela Richelle Whiteman. Two daughters, Nsonna and Nkechi are from his second marriage to Grenadian Claudia Whiteman.

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