Sunday 29 November, 2020

This day in Grenada's history: The execution of Maurice Bishop

Former Prime Minister of Grenada Maurice Bishop. (Photo: caribbeanelections)

Former Prime Minister of Grenada Maurice Bishop. (Photo: caribbeanelections)

Today back on October 19, 1983, marked the beginning of a dark period in Grenada’s history.  

It’s the 37th anniversary of the assassination of 40-year-old Prime Minister Maurice Bishop.  

Bishop and several government officials loyal to him were killed by a firing squad at Fort Rupert.  

Here are some facts leading up to the events of the day:  

  • Grenada gained its Independence from England on February 7, 1974. Sir Eric Gairy was appointed its first Prime Minister but was unpopular among the masses in the way he governed.  

  • On March 13, 1979, Maurice Bishop’s New Jewel Movement (NJM) seized power during a bloodless revolution against Sir Eric Gairy while he was out of the country.  

  • The People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) was born. The administration was led by Prime Minister Maurice Bishop. Bernard Coard was the Deputy Prime Minister.  

  • Under Bishop, Grenada sought to improve the lives of its citizens and aligned with Cuba and the Soviet Union, a move frowned upon by Western powers looking on. 

  • In 1983 internal divisions boiled over in the PRG with Bishop being placed under house arrest during the first week of October. Coard took control of the PRG.  

  • Demonstrations ensued on the island to free Bishop.  

  • On October 19, 1983, Maurice Bishop was executed along with 10 others at Fort Rupert (now Fort George).  

  • On October 25, US President Ronald Reagan ordered the invasion of Grenada.  

  • The location of Maurice Bishop’s remains to this day is still unknown.  

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