I was reading the news story today about the re-sentancing of the so called Grenada 13. I’ve followed this with interest as I’m familiar with Grenada and have spoken to a number of people who saw the massacre at Fort Rupert personally. Most people in the wider world forget that it was not only Maurice Bishop and his cabinet that was executed on that day, but that the soldiers turned the guns on a crowd of civilians containing women and school children.
The excerpt below matches what I have heard from Grenadians who saw firsthand the events at the fort.
“…the Coard troops moved in. Some of the crowd panicked and, in their effort to escape, jumped over the walls of the courtyard, falling onto the rocks below. There were two hundred casualties that day. Bishop and his chief allies were detained and lined up against a wall on which “Toward Higher Discipline in the PRA [People’s Revolutionary Army]’ had been scrawled beneath a basketball hoop.
“Is execution time,’ Goat Redhead,a Coard thug, gloated at them. Bishop and his government were told to face the wall and take off their shirts. Two machine guns were mounted on stands while the executioners put their M3s on “rock “n’ roll’ (full automatic). Bishop’s mistress, Jackie Creft, pleaded pregnancy. She received only obscenities and, from one of the gunners. Vincent Joseph, the comment, “Is bullet for you.’ The gunmen opened fire on the order of one Iman Abdullah, who had been Bishop’s guard while he was under house arrest. “Some fell slow and some fell fast,’ he said later. Bishop fell first and was finished off on the ground. Jackie Creft was bludgeoned with gun butts. When it was over, the Fire Brigade hosed down the bloody court, Abdullah shouted, “Long live the revolution!’ and Vincent Joseph repaired to the canteen for a Coke. Maurice Bishop had been marginalized.”
Now we have had a resentancing and three are let go, and the others will (from what I understand) most likely be free in a few years.
I find it repugnant that these men should walk free even after all of these years. Particularly given the viewpoint put forward by their lawyers:
“British Queen Counsel Edward Fitzgerald, who led the 16-member defence team, said that the convicts have insisted that their actions did not constitute murder.
“They continue to maintain their innocence. They have a political and moral philosophy for what happened that day. They are sorry for what happened. Nothing I say could take away the pain, suffering and tragic loss of lives,” he said.
“For a period of one hour or more on Oct. 19, 1983, this occurred in the context of an escalating crisis which got out of control. Both sides resorted to a violent confrontation and then blood flowed.””
He fails to mention that when the “both sides resorted to a violent confrontation” it was a crowd containing women and children against armed troops with an armoured car!
I personally think that if there was ever a justified case for the death penalty to be applied it is this case. “A political and moral philosophy” does not justify what happened that day in Grenada.