Tag Archive: Caribbean governments


Not too long ago, news broke here in St Vincent and the Grenadines of the historically shocking hacking of our government’s website by the Islamic State of Iraqi and Syria (I.S.I.S.) military group. Anyone with access or interest in world affairs over the last  year will definitely have heard of the proliferation of horrendous and wantonly inhumane geographical conquests of ISIS in the Middle East. They started as a  little known, barely visible group of militants who were taking away towns and cities from the shaky democratic government in Iraqi. When they began to increase their borders and inch ever closer to Iraqi’s capital city of Baghdad, the international media and stake holders in peace in the Middle East began to take note.

global ISIS

Perhaps if ISIS was just capturing cities and governing them in some semblance of reasonable human control things would not be so bad; however, here is a group that not only overthrows democratically elected governments but also tortures, enslaves, dismembers and kills multitudes of ordinary citizens in the process. They especially terrorize and literally destroy minority groups such as Christians living among the populations which they now govern. Many villages and neighbourhoods in ISIS strongholds have become prime examples of ghost towns brandishing public signs of ISIS ownership and quarantine.

While ISIS has been wielding its deadly fist in the MIddle East, its next of kin, Boko Haram, has turned many villages in Nigeria, Africa,  into the citizens worst nightmares. Maybe the one act of  Boko Haram which is most renown is  its nocturnal kidnapping of approximately two hundred teenage girls from a boarding school. That happened well over a year ago now. In the months that followed this tragedy, several of the girls managed to escape from the forested areas where they were being held captives. It must also be pointed out that all the girls were students at a Christian school. So they were specifically targeted.

Boko Haram’s leader public bragged in subsequent speeches how the girls were converted to Islam and married off to their soldiers. While the world was up in arms over the girls’ capture, the Nigerian government admitted that they had located the girls but lacked the military man power to rescue them. In a sad twist of development, several Nigerian soldiers had to be cour marshalled for their refusal to follow orders and fight against Boko Haram on the grounds that the Boko Haram soldiers were of the same tribe as they were.

Eventually about half of the girls were rescued and the media reported that almost all of them were either pregnant of were expectant mothers.

Through all of this, Boko Haram continues to blow up building and people while kidnapping more women and children across regions of Africa.

But let’s return now to the Caribbean. One may wonder what any of these developments across the Atlantic has to do with us here in the Caribbean. But after the alleged hacking of our government’s website by ISIS I began to wonder the what ifs. It’s almost certain that groups such as ISIS and Boko Haram are always looking for new territories and populations where they can  spread their violent fingers of death, deprivation, incarceration and destruction. Does ISIS or Boko Haram have covert plans to unexpectedly invade one or more of the Caribbean islands.

Maybe terrorists, too, are looking for the perfect getaway destination to set up a new camp. Hmmm.

The Caribbean History shows that in times past an innocent people who occupied these quietly serene lands, were violently ousted and killed by another set of visitors in the form of the war-like Caribs. Yes, we have all the technological tracking and warning systems but how tangible a support will that be in the event of a dead-of-night crossing o the ocean and visit by ISIS or Boko Haram?

Indeed, for years we in the Caribbean have enjoyed the peaceful exemption from the international troubles of many parts of the world. But this does not mean that we should still hold a reactionary policy. I think this is one case in point when we will do well to take heed and see how we can help protect our islands’ security. And Boko Haram’s visit need not be a sudden one-time event. Are our government’s immigration resources keeping astute checks of who may be entering our islands, their past travel history or connections to terrorist groups and terrorist safe-zones?

In the 21st century the onus is on us to actively defend and protect our rights and freedoms as individuals and as a people.

Military coups and other political warfare are generally uncommon in the Eastern Caribbean, but thirty years ago when Bernard Cole and cohorts rebelled against the Maurice Bishop government  in October 1983, killing Prime Minister Maurice Bishop by firing squad, the whole Caribbean sat up with panic in their future expectations.

I was just a child back in 1983 but the event still stands out in my mind. One reason it stands out is that Grenada is my neighbouring country, so that uprising was like bad news coming home.

Another reason it stands out is that my mother had come home after spending the night by a friend, telling of the news footage she had seen on television of the American troops landing during their invasion of Grenada on October 25, 1983.

Thirty years ago few Vincentian families had television so anyone who related TV news or any related experiences were esteemed very highly. The phenomenon of viewing and hearing simultaneously was still a delightful hypnosis.

Maurice Bishop

 

From what I have been able to garner, Mr Bishop had sided with communist philosophies so his government was a good friend of Russia and China. However, even as his country was benefitting from the building of the international airport through communist financial assistance (via Cuba) it seems Maurice Bishop began to sense that looks were deceiving.

He began to have a change of heart and wanted to sever ties with his communist allies. But members of his government such as Bernard Cole and his wife would not entertain any back pedalling on political philosophies.

Effectively, then, Maurice Bishop was thinking of the future welfare of Grenadians rather than any immediate personal gains.

So things came to a head in October 1983. Reports are that Maurice Bishop was overseas when he heard of the planned rebellion against his leadership. He was told not to return to Grenada. One of the main reasons he was in the USA was to beef up support to avert any military upheaval in Grenada.

However, Maurice Bishop was determined to lead from the front and to be on the ground in his country to face whatever crisis was in the pipeline. He flew in unannounced.

He was subsequently arrested as he tried to go about his governing business.

On October 19, 1983, Maurice Bishop and a few members of his cabinet were taken to the colonial fort in the capital city of St Georges.

There he was put in front of a firing squad and shot to death.

His body was taken from the fort but to this day has never been found.

On October 25, 1983, United States President, Ronald Reagan, ordered US military forces to invade Grenada so as to restore democratic rule and governance.

Bernard Cole and his followers were subsequently arrested and prosecuted. They were sent to prison, but given no death penalty.

October 25th is now a public holiday in Grenada to commemorate the invasion for liberation by the US military on the island.

The international airport was renamed in Maurice Bishop’s honour.

You know, five years ago, I was in Grenada. On that particular visit I went to the fort and saw the place where Maurice Bishop last stood alive. It’s an eerie feeling standing in a spot where you know someone as important as a Prime Minister was killed in cold blood.

Some bullet holes and marks are still evident on those fort walls.

In the Caribbean we are washed in so much democratic freedom and civil liberties that we don’t have much connection to civil unrest or death from political struggles. Such things for Caribbean people are really only lived through the movies.

As far as I know, Maurice Bishop has been the only democratically elected leader (Prime Minister) who was killed in office.

And it happened so very near to my home country!

Maurice Bishop and the historical events of October 1983 in Grenada must never be forgotten whether 30 years or 300 years after.

Are Trinidad and Jamaica afraid that Redjet is too hot to handle?

Redjet is the newest air carrier to come on stream in the Caribbean. It is a business venture originating from the island of Barbados where its investors are attempting to provide comparatively low fares to the region’s air destinations. I used the word “attempt” just now because it seems that some Caribbean heads of government want Redjet to become an aerospace abortion.

Granted, while I think that Redjet counted its chickens before they were hatched by announcing scheduled start dates for commercial flights into Trinidad and Jamaica before apparently following protocol applications, the unflinchingly critical opposition that these two countries meted to the airline has not given a favourable impression of Caricom or Caribbean unity.

Even if there were issues that needed clarifying the parties involved could have settled their differences privately and discretely.

I am tired of the constant blockading of new airlines trying to get access to the Caribbean skies; especially so when the traveling public can get a much-needed rebate on ticket price. As it is now, especially for those of us who are hostages of LIAT, air fares really instil air fears into persons who have no choice but to fly.

However, I want to big up the Prime Minister of Barbados who put his two feet down on the matter a few weeks ago.

The Prime Minister said that he is basically hurt and feels betrayed by his Trinidad and Tobago’s equal because Barbados approved the licenses of the Trinidad and Tobago carrier, Caribbean Airlines without even thinking twice, but Trinidad has been like a nagging woman complaining about unmet safety issues.

The Barbados Head bluntly stated that he can play the same game that Trinidad is playing. And I was glad to hear this. I was looking forward to a subsequent announcement out of Barbados that Caribbean airlines’ license has been revoked.

I mean the issues that obstruct Caribbean unity are so infinitesimal and irrelevant that we must begin to call them for the bull s*** that they are!

And that’s exactly true you know. Not too long after Barbados said enough is enough, both Jamaica and Trinidad announced almost on cue that approval has been iven to Redjet to begin commercial flights into their respective countries.

Imagine! It takes threats to activate the mechanisms of progress in my Caribbean. I wonder if my Caribbean citizens are paying attention? Caribbean people, the Arab world has sent a message of the democratic reality: governments must do what the people want–not what they see as politically astute.

But the saga is not quit finished as yet because Redjet has no confirmation as to exactly when its low-cost wheels will be touching down in Jamaica or Trinidad.

You know, I can’t help but wonder how come the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines has not given a statement of its position on the Redject issue?

Like Redjet is burning them up?

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