Celebrating Grenada’s 45th Anniversary Of Independence
National Pantheon Of Heroes
This year, on February 7 Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique will celebrated 45 years of independence from Great Britain. Awhile some vestiges of British colonialism still remain as the tri-island nation struggles with socio-economic and developmental issues that plague and bedevil all small mini-states of the region. True, this CARICOM nation of just about 110,000 has made many strides in spite of the enormous challenges that it faces. For one thing the country has an economy still warped and deformed by years, if not centuries, of lopsided development dictated by the colonial master. Today, Grenada has lurched from one socio-political and economic experiment to the other with mixed results.
Badgered by a political system that in 2019 is still emerging, under-developed, backward and weak, Grenada suffers from periods of tepid progress, pronounced retrogression, and limited and erratic improvements of the quality of life for all Grenadians (here I include Carriacouians and Petite Martiniquians in this characterization). Forty-five years after the country achieved so-called nationhood, the productive forces remain in pre-capitalist mode with successive governments – since 1983 – opting for a service based industry economy that has spawned a bag of mixed blessings.
There is much blame to go around, but I’ll not go down that road today. Instead, I believe that one of the first things to do in rebuilding the confidence of Granadians at home and abroad is to embrace ALL of our history (I’m a very proud Grenadian) and a good place to start is to set aside a day to honor and recognize our own NATIONAL PANTHEON OF GRENADA HEROES. That said, lets talk Pantheon of Grenadian Heroes. I want to recommend that we establish three (3) tiers of recognition to acknowledge the contributions of Grenadians to the growth and development of the country.
- The Grenada Gold Medal of Honor (Highest Civilian Award)
- The Grenada Silver Medal (second highest civilian award)
- The Grenada Bronze Medal (third highest civilian award)
The Grenada National Recognition Awards:
- First Class (for outstanding work in politics/people/organizational development)
- Second Class (for outstanding work in medicine and education)
- Third Class (for outstanding work in sports, youth and women’s affairs)
That said into the Grenadian Hall Of Heroes I suggest that we induct the following:
JULIEN FEDON – He was the leader of the Fédon Rebellion, a slave revolt that took place in Grenada between March 2, 1795, and June 19, 1796. The Fédon Rebellion broke out in the same year as several other rebellions in the Caribbean, including in Cuba, Jamaica, and Coro, Venezuela. During the 19th and 20th centuries, Fédon was considered a folk hero in Grenada and influenced the nationalist leaders and revolutionaries of the island.
THEOPHILUS ALBERT “TA” MARRYSHOW – The Father of the West Indies Federation. After over fifty years of unrelenting political agitation, Marryshow saw his dream come true with the forming of the short-lived West Indies Federation in 1958. He was appointed a Senator of Federation. Due to his untiring efforts for West Indian unity, his colleagues gave him the title ‘Father of Federation’. Marryshow died shortly after the forming of the Federation.
SIR ERIC MATTHEW GAIRY – (18 February 1922 – 23 August 1997) was the first Prime Minister of Grenada, serving from the country’s independence in 1974 until his overthrow by the Grenada Revolution and Maurice Bishop on March 13,1979. Gairy also served as head of government in pre-independence Grenada as Chief Minister from 1961 to 1962, and as Premier from 1967 to 1974.
MAURICE RUPERT BISHOP – (29 May 1944 – 19 October 1983) was the charismatic Grenadian politician and the leader of New Jewel Movement. He led the Grenada Revolution that pioneered popular efforts in the areas of socio-economic development, education, and Black liberation. Bishop came to power in 13 March 1979 Revolution that removed Eric Gairy from office. Bishop headed the People’s Revolutionary Government of Grenada from 1979 to 1983, when he was dismissed from his post and assassinated during and internal coup led by a militaristic element in the government.
DAME HILDA BYNOE – (née Gibbs; 18 November 1921 – 6 April 2013) was governor of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique between 1967 and 1972. A doctor and Hospital Administrator, Bynoe was during her time the only woman to have been governor of one of the British Dependencies. She was the first woman Governor of a Commonwealth of Nations country.
Born in Crochu, Grenada, Bynoe was educated at the village school, where her father, Thomas Joseph Gibbs, was headmaster and where her mother, sister and aunts had at one time or the other been teachers, and at St. Joseph’s Convent, the island’s only Roman Catholic Secondary School for girls.
The first few years of adulthood were spent as a teacher at the Convent of St. Joseph in San Fernando, Trinidad, and later at Bishop Anstey High School in Port of Spain, Trinidad, as a science student. In 1944 she left for Europe to study Medicine and graduated from the University of London‘s Royal Free Hospital, then the London School of Medicine for Women, in 1951.
SIR ALISTER MERIDITH MCINTYRE – He is a distinguished international statesman and academic. He studied at LSE and Oxford University and taught at the University of the West Indies, where he was latterly Vice Chancellor. He has served in a variety of high-profile roles in UN agencies and in Caribbean regional government. Sir Meredith Alister McIntyre, is a venerable Caribbean integrationist.
A highly celebrated Caribbean academic and intellectual, and considered one of the great social thinkers of his time, he piloted the movement for integration as Secretary-General of CARICOM from 1974-1977, and as Vice Chairman of the West Indian Commission.
He was highly acclaimed as a developmental economist and his foremost contribution as a scholar was to the University of the West Indies as Lecturer and Vice-Chancellor from 1988 and as Director of the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) between 1967 and 1974.
His academic career extended to the reputable Princeton University and Colombia University where he was Assistant Professor and Fulbright Fellow, respectively. Sir Alister McIntyre served his community with distinction as a renowned scholar with many publications pertinent to Caribbean developmental issues.
He was able to position the Caribbean region on the world scene and made a significant impact on the international arena through the many high level posts he held in various UN organizations and in a consultative capacity to Regional and International Financial Institutions, such as the IDB and the World Bank.