ST GEORGE’S, Grenada — A former high-ranking member of Maurice Bishop’s People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) in Grenada has admitted to “mistakes” of the 1979 – 1983 revolution, including the killing of Bishop.
“No one can justify the killing,” Liam Owusu James was quoted as saying at a forum held recently to mark the 34th anniversary of the Grenada revolution.
James was a member of the New Jewel Movement (NJM) that overthrew Eric Gairy’s administration in 1979 and installed Bishop as head of the PRG.
Conflicts in the NJM came to a head on October 19, 1983, when Bishop and other Grenadians were killed at the army’s headquarters in St George’s. Less than a week later, the United States invaded the country in what the US called a “rescue mission”.
“The killing was not justified,” James said in reference to the October 19 event in which Bishop lost his life.
James, who was imprisoned with 16 others for Bishop’s death, admitted to mistakes of the PRG during its period of governance.
The mistakes, he said, included an attitude of dealing with dissent with military force and not allowing mechanisms for checks and balances on the PRG.
“The absence of these checks and balances, I think, was one of the greatest failures of the Revolution,” James said an article published in Caribupdate Weekly.
Death sentences, first imposed on James and other PRG and army officials, were later commuted to life imprisonment.
After legal appeals, a court ordered their release from Richmond Hill Prison, where they spent more than 25 years.