After earning his law degree from The University Of London, Bishop formed The Movement For Assemblies Of The People or MAP. Shortly thereafter MAP would merge with The Joint Action For Education Welfare & Liberation also known as JEWEL. Together the two united organizations would come to be known as The New Jewel Movement or The NJM. In 1976, Maurice Bishop would be elected to Grenada’s House Of Representatives, and three years later would seize power away from then Prime Minister Eric Gairy of whom the masses believed had only been elected due to illegal tampering with the vote count. Additionally, he reportedly ruled under a campaign of fear via his secret police (The Mongoose Gang) and with the backing of Chile & The U.S. Governments. So in the Spring of 1979 a new People’s Revolutionary Government was launched in Grenada. Bernard Coard was named Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade, Finance, Planning & Industry. Phyllis Coard was named Deputy Secretary Of Information & Culture; and Jacqueline Creft as Minister Of Education. This bloodless coup led to massive improvements in Education, Healthcare, Housing, Infrastructure, and The Economy. Free Healthcare became recognized as a right, and not just as a privilege. Major resources were launched toward improving literacy, more low-income housing was made accessible to the masses, and unemployment dropped from a reported 49% down to just 14%. New schools were built, agricultural projects launched, and new construction advanced forward. Grenada and its people had suffered through centuries of slavery and colonial exploitation; but now it was poised to become A Black Utopia. The country had only gained its independence in 1974; but Grenada was now all about the people. Even 800 American medical students had now moved there to enroll in Grenada’s Medical School St. George’s University. And this is when the trouble began...
“I think Washington fears that we could set an example for the rest of the region if our revolution succeeds. In the Caribbean region you’re talking about small countries with small populations and limited resources, countries that over the years have been classic examples of neo-capitalist dependencies. Now you have these new governments like Nicaragua and Grenada that are attempting a different experiment.”
Many of the improvement initiatives launched under the new People’s Revolutionary Government were made with financial assistance from Cuba and The Soviet Union. Fearing the spread of Socialism, and that more US-backed puppet regimes in the region may soon see similar changes, then-President Ronald Reagan’s regime began seeking to undermine Grenada’s progress. And by 1981, U.S. Military exercises had been initiated simulating an invasion of the tiny island. In 1983, Ronald Reagan would go on live television alleging that The Soviet Union had begun construction of a military base in Grenada. The assertion was positioned to instill the fear that this would be a base to launch terrorist attacks and ultimately lead to a Communist Invasion into America. In all reality, the construction project was Grenada’s first ever airport. Prior to this the island simply had a small airstrip into the mountains, that had been deemed too dangerous to use. Nevertheless, on October 25th, 1983, “Operation Urgent Fury” was launched. Just weeks prior, a power struggle had erupted within the government leading to Prime Minister Bishop being placed on house arrest. Bishop’s own childhood friend, Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard had betrayed him and seized power. And only days later, Coard would be deposed by General Hudson Austin. On October 19th, a large crowd of people would stage an uprising to restore Bishop to his power. Bishop was released from imprisonment, and the crowd would then descend upon the island’s military complex Fort George. The military would respond with gunfire to squash the uprising. Maurice Bishop, Jacqueline Creft, and several other members of the government would be executed via firing squad. Though much of the chaos was the result of American Covert Activities, even General Austin would find himself out of power after the U.S. Invasion. Austin would be sent to prison for the murders of his former comrades; and would remain there until 2008. Herbert Augustus Blaize would be elected Prime Minister in 1984, and Grenada returned to its status as amongst nations with the boot of Imperialism firmly pressed on its throat. Ironically, the very airport that was used as the catalyst to end the regime of Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and The People’s Revolutionary Government would be re-named Maurice Bishop International Airport in 2009. Others attempted similar moves to install governments that were truly For The People and By The People; but like Maurice Bishop they would also become targets to be eliminated via American Obstruction. Their memories will live on forever though; and hopefully the next wave will finally succeed long term.