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Grenada Modern History

The development of Grenada after independence in 1974 soon became dramatic. In 1979 Maurice Bishop took power in a bloodless coup and introduced a Marxist rule. Bishop was overthrown and executed in 1983 by more dogmatic Marxists, who were, however, deposed by the United States and some of Grenada's neighboring countries. After a transitional council ruled the country for ten years, the conservative party NNP came to dominate politics. Grenada was hit hard when Hurricane Ivan in 2004 destroyed large parts of the island.

During the first half of the 20th century, Grenada served as a source of inspiration for political independence movements in the Caribbean through the leadership of the T Albert Marryshow. In 1950, union leader Eric Gairy formed the first political party on the island, Grenada's United Workers Party (Gulp) and a few years later, lawyer Herbert Blaize founded the more conservative Grenada National Party (GNP). For more than a quarter of a century, Gairy and Blaize came to dominate politics in the country.

  • ABBREVIATIONFINDER: List of most commonly used acronyms containing Grenada. Also includes historical, economical and political aspects of the country.

Gairy became Grenada's first prime minister after independence and built a cult with religious signs around his person. Gairy was also accused of corruption and brother-in-law. A 1974 protest strike was brutally defeated by the security forces, who continued to persecute all opponents of the ruling party.

In 1979, Gairy was deposed by a bloodless coup by Maurice Bishop and his followers in the Marxist New Jewel Movement,NJM (Jewel stands for Joint Endeavor for Welfare, Education and Liberation, Joint Pursuit of Welfare, Education and Freedom). The new government, the "People's Revolutionary Government", nationalized agriculture and industry, postponed promised elections, repealed the constitution and introduced "the laws of the people". Relations with socialist countries, mainly Cuba but also the Soviet Union, developed.

However, Bishop's revolution was threatened by economic hardships and he was challenged internally by dogmatic Marxists who demanded an even more radical policy. In October 1983, Bishop was deposed by the party's left wing under the leadership of Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard. Bishop was placed under house arrest, but was released by a crowd with several deaths as a result. However, Bishop and several other leaders were arrested by soldiers from the "People's Revolutionary Army" (PRA) and executed.

Contemporary History of GrenadaThe United States is invading

The coup triggered a US-led invasion of Grenada. On October 25, 1983, 1,900 Marine Corps and a police force of 300 men from Caribbean neighboring states took control of the island. Additional American soldiers were sent in the next few days. The US official reason for the intervention was to protect American citizens, but it later emerged that the main motive was the Cuban presence in Grenada. Initially, Americans were concerned that Cuban construction workers helped build a new airport, which they suspected would be used to transport aid to guerrilla movements in Latin America. The invasion cost nearly 100 people their lives.

A transitional council, appointed by the Governor-General, reintroduced the 1974 Constitution and ruled the country until the December 1984 elections. Then the New National Party prevailed (NNP), which consisted of several opposition parties that came together. The NNP was led by GNP leader Herbert Blaize, who became prime minister.

His government cut in the public sector and received extensive assistance from the United States. However, it was characterized by internal divisions and weakened when defectors from the NNP in 1987 formed a new party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC). In the election the following year, NDC won and its leader Nicholas Brathwaite became prime minister. During his reign, the economy deteriorated, partly as a result of sharply reduced world market prices for spices and bananas. In 1992, an economic reform program was launched in collaboration with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

In the 1995 election, the NNP won with populist promises of work for everyone and Keith Mitchell became prime minister. After the NNP lost the majority in the House of Representatives in connection with the transition of a member to the Labor Party Gulp, a new election was held in 1999. In the election, NNP, favored by brighter economic times, succeeded in winning all 15 seats in the House of Representatives.

The NNP retained power even after the parliamentary elections in 2003. But the party's support was weakened and it received only a mandate more than the main opposition party NDC.

Hurricane Ivan

In September 2004, Grenada was hit very hard by Ivan, the most powerful hurricane ever pulled over the island. Around 40 people were killed, many houses were totally destroyed and large parts of the country's important nutmeg crops were destroyed. The cost of reconstruction was estimated at $ 815 million, which corresponded to just over two years of gross domestic product (GDP). To stop the looting begun after the majority of the Grenadiers were forced to leave their homes, several West Indies sent a joint force of a few hundred soldiers and policemen to Grenada. The country also received disaster assistance from, among others, the US and the EU and loans from the IMF.

The situation worsened when Grenada the following year was hit by yet another hurricane, Emily, which caused about $ 200 million in damage. However, the country quickly received more foreign aid. The rebuilding after the hurricanes dominated politics in 2004 and 2005.

In the summer of 2006, a report was presented to Parliament by a Truth Commission appointed by the government in 2000 to investigate the chaotic course of the coup in 1983. Maurice Bishop and nine government officials. Among the so-called Grenada 17 were former Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard and his wife Phyllis. Fourteen of the coup makers had received the death penalty, which in 1991 was converted to life imprisonment. The Commission recommended new trials for Grenada 17.

In February 2007, the Supreme Court, the Privy Council, decided that the 13 coup makers who remained in prison should have their judgments reviewed in a new trial. In June of the same year, three of them were released, while the other ten received their sentences for a maximum of 40 years, including the time they spent in prison, with the possibility of pardon within a two-year period. The decision was criticized by the government, which, however, emphasized the court's independent role as a judiciary. In December 2008, three more of the prisoners were released and in September 2009, the remaining seven, including former Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard, were released after serving their sentence.

Shift of power

In the 2008 parliamentary elections, NNP lost government power after ruling the country for 13 years. The NDC received 11 of the 15 seats, and party leader Tillman Thomas became new prime minister.

The new NDC government continued its efforts to deal with the suites following Hurricane Ivan, while the international recession (see Economic overview) contributed to a decline in the country's important tourism industry. Internal battles within the party periodically crippled government work. In September 2012, Tillman dismissed the Foreign Minister, the Environment Minister and the Minister of Tourism, whom he accused of lack of loyalty. Some of these formed a new party at the beginning of 2013, but never had any major impact. Throughout the fall of 2012, no meetings were held in Parliament and finally Thomas was forced to announce elections.

In the February 2013 elections, NNP won a grand victory. The party conquered all seats in the House of Representatives and Keith Mitchell, who was Prime Minister from 1995 to 2008, became the new head of government.

 
 

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