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#1 Nov 28, 2019 7:42 pm

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Grenada General Strike and Invasion of 1951: Colonial Office cables

H.M.S. DEVONSHIRE arrived morning of 22nd February, 1951, and took over guarding of vulnerable points in St. George and the airport. Gairy and Blaize picked up yesterday afternoon. Former transferred last night to Carriacou but this is not generally known. Two incidents involving crowds which might have been serious were successfully dealt by the police. Situation in the country was confused and gave cause for anxiety. Communications difficult owing to landslide already reported, sabotage of telephone lines and some road blocks. In one estate owner fired on hostile crowd and three persons wounded.

Last night following buildings on outskirts of St. George were destroyed by fire.

Belmont Government School Woburn Medical Station Governor's Bathing Hut Another bathing hut privately owned Cattle pens and watchman's house (partly) on sugar estate.

Unsuccessful attempt also made to burn St. George pier and one Government secondary school building at Tanteen. This morning police compelled to fire on hostile crowd which attacked them in sugar transportation area. One man and one woman were wounded.

General situation is menacing because despite help from St. Lucia disorders are too widespread and scattered to be effectively handled. I have appealed to the Governor of Trinidad for more police help. Captain of H.M.S. DEVONSHIRE informs me that he is asking C(ommander) in C(hief) America and West Indies to consider sending H.M.S. SNIPE to give him assistance and later relieve him.

On the advice of the Executive Council I intend detaining two more ringleaders.

In a third message on February 23, 1951, Green informed London that "One officer and twenty five men of the Trinidad police due to arrive tomorrow morning".

The US Consul in Port of Spain, Hale, corroborated the report about the arrival of the British warship in Grenada, in a telegram to the State Department on February 23, 1951:

H.M.S. DEVONSHIRE landed Marines on Island Grenada early February 22 due general strike agricultural and unskilled workers. Local government has declared state of emergency and special public order ordinances have been passed. Labor leaders Eric Gairy and Gascoigne Blaize arrested, some violence reported. About 10 American citizens believed resident in Grenada. Department will be advised further developments.

No report of fires last night. Water main leading into Richmond Hill reservoir broken (sabotage presumed) and has been repaired.
Deputation of business men interviewed me and take alarming view of the situation which they claim is class war. They have sent telegram to West Indian Committee urging troops be sent. In this connection see my telegram under reference.

Request made by some of Gairy's officials to see him and obtain mandate from him to call on people to cease violence. This is being arranged.

Have received following from Antigua Trade union. Begins.

People of Antigua deplore high-handed treatment to leaders of Grenada Union. Demand immediate release. Ends.

One Captain Musson (an Englishman) who arrived here some months ago and is believed to be a communist has been declared a prohibited immigrant and returned to Trinidad.6

His second message advised that the request of the local business men for the introduction of additional troops had been turned down by his local advisers:

There has been further consultation today with Executive Council, Captain of H.M.S. DEVONSHIRE and Superintendent of Police. Advice of Captain, which is accepted, is that it would be unwise to introduce further troops at present juncture.7


#2 Nov 29, 2019 8:10 am


Re: Grenada General Strike and Invasion of 1951: Colonial Office cables

Nice. History lesson for ever and ever Amen.


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