ST GEORGE’S, Grenada — American diplomat Larry Palmer says his country is willing to continue the search for the remains of former Grenada prime minister, Maurice Bishop, who was murdered along with several others in St George’s on October 19, 1983.
|US Ambassador Larry Palmer|
Larry Palmer, the Barbados-based US ambassador to Grenada and the rest of the Eastern Caribbean, made the comment last week as Grenada marked 30 years since the execution of Bishop and the subsequent US invasion on October 25.
Palmer said that, although the US has cooperated with Grenada on “multiple occasions” in previous unsuccessful attempts to locate the bodies of Bishop and the other Grenadians, his country is still prepared to assist in a further search if a formal request is made to the United States administration by Dr Keith Mitchell, Grenada’s prime minister.
“I just want to say to the prime minister if asked, if requested, we stand willing to continue to work, to cooperate, with you to try and work this out,” Palmer said.
Various accounts have been bandied about on the whereabouts of the bodies.
There is little dispute, however, that at some point the remains were in the custody of US Army Graves Registration personnel.
But claims that the remains eventually were buried at the main cemetery in St George’s have failed to bear results, despite investigations conducted by secondary school students of the Presentation Brothers’ College and a so-called “Recovery Project” embarked upon by the Conference of Churches in Grenada (CCG).
The CCG, which says it still has an outstanding debt of US$21,000 for the project that involved a team of forensic anthropologists from the University of Maine, said that in May 2012 a “thorough, professional examination” of the purported grave site was conducted but no remains were found.
Meanwhile, 13 Grenadians soldiers who died in the 1983 invasion by US forces are being remembered with a headstone that was unveiled here last Friday.
The 19 US servicemen who died in the invasion were recognized years ago with monuments at St George’s University and at the entrance leading to Maurice Bishop International Airport.
The headstone unveiling ceremony for the late Grenadian soldiers was endorsed by the National Celebrations Committee, and attended by former members of the now defunct People’s Revolutionary Army (PRA).
“They were soldiers who died defending the country and we should treat them with respect regardless of who was the government at the time,” said Ashley ‘Ram’ Folkes, a former senior PRA officer, who is now Commissioner of Prisons.