It has been made official. October 19th will be a public holiday in Grenada. After months of contemplation and discussions, the government there said on Wednesday that the decision was final
The reason behind the latest move is to observe the death of former prime minister Maurice Bishop.
Bishop, a well-loved leader was killed in 1983 and several members of his cabinet led to the collapse of the left-wing People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG). The gruesome killings were reportedly arranged by his deputy Bernard Coard.
On Wednesday, a flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremony was held in their honor. The event was staged at the exact location killings took place 39 years ago,.
that the Dickon Mitchell administration which came to office following the June 23 general election this year, believes that to move the country forward in a profound manner, the events of October 1983 must be addressed.
“We must address the healing of our nation. To this end, the government will use this opportunity to propose a series of actions geared towards promoting national healing from the demise of the Revolution,” Culture Minister Ron Redhead told the ceremony.
He said, “next year, Grenada will remember and recognize all the days of the tragic ending. From the 19 to the 25 with a week of activities,” he said, adding that October 19 will be declared a holiday.
“Special consideration will be given to developing our national heroes’ framework to designate a day entitled “Maurice Bishop Day”, among others,” he added.
Maurice Bishop was shot dead by the armed forces at the military headquarters in the capital St George’s.
According to one witness, before he died Bishop said: “My God, my God. They have turned the guns against the people”.
Earlier, thousands of his supporters had marched to his residence in St George’s where they managed to free the prime minister from house arrest.
He had led the country since 1979, when a coup toppled the country’s controversial Prime Minister, Sir Eric Gairy.
Following the release of Bishop from house arrest, he and his supporters had marched towards the military headquarters Fort Rupert where he believed loyal army officers were being detained.
On his arrival in the early afternoon, troops, commanded by General Austin, fired on the crowd and it is reported that dozens of demonstrators were killed.
General Austin has said that Bishop was threatening to bring down the leadership of the armed forces and the NJM, and was killed as soldiers stormed the fort.
But other accounts say that Bishop was taken prisoner and shot dead at Fort Rupert along with three ministerial colleagues and two union leaders.
Shooting could be heard from the military barracks.