Hudson Austin

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Hudson Austin
Chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council of Grenada
In office
October 19, 1983 – October 25, 1983
Preceded by Bernard Coard
Succeeded by Nicholas Brathwaite
Personal details
Born (1938-04-26) April 26, 1938 (age 76)
Grenada
Nationality Grenadian
Political party New Jewel Movement

Hudson Austin (born 26 April 1938) is a former general in the People's Revolutionary Army of Grenada. After the killing of Maurice Bishop, he formed a military government with himself as chairman to rule Grenada.

History[edit]

Hudson Austin was a member of the New Jewel Movement in Grenada. He was an early member of the military wing of the party and received military training in Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago. He participated in the 1979 revolution which established the People's Revolutionary Government with Maurice Bishop at its head. After the revolution, Austin was in charge of the military forces of Grenada.

In October 1983, factional political issues within the government led deputy prime minister Bernard Coard to place Maurice Bishop under house arrest and to take control of the government. Austin supported the action. Popular demonstrations afterwards broke out against the detention of Bishop. In the course of one demonstration, Bishop was freed from house arrest. Bishop was eventually executed by army soldiers along with many civilians.

After the execution of Bishop, Austin disbanded the existing government and formed a revolutionary military council with himself as chairman to rule the country. He made a radio announcement in which he stated: "The Revolutionary Armed Forces were forced to storm the fort, and in the process the following persons were killed: Maurice Bishop, Unison Whiteman, Vincent Noel, Jacqueline Creft, Norris Bain and Fitzroy Bain among others." He then announced a four-day total curfew stating that "No one is to leave their house. Anyone violating this curfew will be shot on sight."[1]

The military government lasted for six days, until the United States invaded Grenada on 25 October 1983. Austin was arrested, along with all of those in the government and army who were alleged to have either participated in the decision to kill Bishop or were in the army chain of command that carried out the orders. He was sentenced to death along with Coard and the other coup leaders in 1986, but their sentences were later commuted to life in prison.

In mitigation pleas made in 2007, while he sought to be released from prison he made no attempt to deny his responsibility for what happened in 1983. In the plea it was said that he "understand(s) the need to satisfy action for loss and suffering and the trauma of the Grenadian people."[2]

Austin was released from prison on 18 December 2008, together with Colville McBarnett and John Ventour.[3]

References[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Bernard Coard
Chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council of Grenada
19–25 October 1983
Succeeded by
Nicholas Brathwaite