Any credible appraisal of the 1979 Grenada coup d’etat would have to recognize that among some of the many atrocities committed by the People’s Revolutionary Government and Army would have to include the wholesale detention and torture of hundreds of its citizens, and that the Prime Minister was fully responsible. For not only did he sign every person’s detention order, but that in the order he stipulated that each detainee was to be held for such time, in such place, under such conditions as he deemed necessary. These were just a few in a string of many draconian terms and conditions his entire administration acquiesced.
Their four-and-a-half-year reign was marred by a dark cloud of fear and distrust among its people. Indiscriminate harassment, false imprisonment and open intimidation became the order of the day, to say nothing about their atrocious human rights record. One should no forget that it was under the Bishop’s administration that the constitution and the writ of habeas corpus were extricated and trampled.
During the time that Maurice Bishop was in power he held, on a per capita basis, more detainees in his prison and detention camps than any other country. And whereas on one hand, he and his regime were spending most of their time travelling from country to country, spewing rhetorical venom, as they rail against their neighbor’s political, economic and human rights records. They were, during that same period, filling up their jails with or otherwise suppressing their dissenters.
Between 1979-1983 Grenada had a population of about 100,000. During that same period, the amount of people detained at Fort Rupert, Fort Frederick, the prison and labor camps such as Hopeville and Calivigny exceeded 1000, about 1% of the population. Most were held for having different political beliefs, others on suspicion of not supporting the revolution, its government, or any sub group of the PRG. The remaining detainees were jailed for simply speaking out against the ills of the government or having had prior criminal convictions or held on trumped-up charges. Maurice would say during some of his fiery speeches that if a person looks like, walks like or smells like a counter-revolutionary they should brought in so that they would be as he called it…”placed under heavy, heavy mannners”…code words for long detention and torture.
To be Continued…………….