People's Revolutionary Government (Grenada)

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People's Revolutionary Government of Grenada

1979–1983


Flag

Anthem
Hail Grenada
Capital St. George's
Languages English
Government Single-party Marxist-Leninist state under constitutional monarchy
Queen Elizabeth II
Governor-General Paul Scoon
Prime Minister Maurice Bishop
Historical era Cold War
 -  Established 13 March 1979
 -  Disestablished 25 October 1983
Currency East Caribbean Dollar

The People's Revolutionary Government (PRG) was proclaimed on 13 March 1979 after the New Jewel Movement overthrew the government of Grenada in a revolution. The government suspended the constitution and ruled by decree until it was removed on 25 October 1983.

History[edit]

The New Jewel Movement (NJM) under the leadership of Maurice Bishop was the main opposition party in Grenada during the 1970s. In 1979, the party decided to overthrow the government of Eric Gairy which had ruled the country since independence in 1974. The NJM launched an armed takeover of the radio station, police barracks and various other key locations in Grenada while Gairy was on a trip outside the country. The armed takeover was conducted by the People's Revolutionary Army (PRA) which had been formed in secret within the NJM.[1]

Maurice Bishop announced the formation of the PRG over radio. The constitution was suspended and the NJM announced new laws. The PRG organized a cabinet to run the country with Bishop as Prime Minister. All political organizations except for the NJM were banned. Membership in the NJM was afterward tightly controlled.

The PRG established close relations with the government of Cuba and with Cuban assistance began construction of a large international airport. The PRG also began a plan to build up the police force on the island.

In 1983, internal divisions within the central committee of the PRG occurred. A group led by Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard attempted to convince Bishop to enter into a power-sharing agreement with Coard. Eventually Coard placed Bishop under house arrest and took control of the PRG government. The removal of Bishop led to large popular demonstrations in different areas of the country. In the course of one of these demonstrations, Bishop was freed by the crowd. In unclear circumstances Bishop eventually reached the police headquarters at Fort Rupert.

A police force from another location was dispatched to Fort Rupert. Fighting broke out between that force and the civilians at Fort Rupert resulting in many deaths. Afterward, Bishop and seven others including several cabinet ministers were rounded up and executed.

After the executions, a new government called the Revolutionary Military Council, led by General Hudson Austin, was formed to rule the country and the PRG ceased to exist. This government nominally ruled for six days before the US invasion of Grenada ousted it.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Russell Crandall, Gunboat Democracy: U.S. Interventions in the Dominican Republic, Grenada, and Panama (Oxford, UK 2006), 126.