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#1 Nov 04, 2017 9:10 am

Real Distwalker
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Bernard Coard's Story

To hear him tell it, he was a selfless, hardworking supporter of the Revo.   To hear him tell it, he may have been the hardest working.  He worked so hard that it destroyed his health.  To hear him tell it, he was swept up in events.

Still, he loved and respected Bishop.  Bishop had a skill set he did not.  An ability to charm the masses.

The Cubans dominated the Revo.  They demanded a "Maximum Leader" in Grenada and demanded that it be Bishop.  The tradition in the NJM was joint leadership and Central Committee decision making.  The Cubans, however, demanded that Grenada follow the Cuban model and that Bishop become the 'Fidel of Grenada'.

Bishop and Coard had complimentary skills.  Where Bishop was weak, Coard was strong.  Where Coard was weak, Bishop was strong.  Bishop was screwing up, however, and by the summer of '83 the Revo was floundering.

At this point, the Central Committee of the Revo had days and days of meetings.  They concluded that the best thing to do was have Bishop share leadership with Coard.  Bishop wanted time to think about it.

A few days later, there was a full meeting of the entire party and the party almost unanimously agreed to Bishop/Coard joint leadership.   Bishop agreed to joint leadership and then left for a two week trip to Czechoslovakia and Hungary.

While he was gone, he went radio silent and didn't contact Grenada for the entire trip.  He canceled his plan to return through London and decided to return through Cuba.  When he got back to Grenada, he didn't talk to anyone until he told the Central Committee that he rejected joint leadership.

This made party members furiously angry.  Nobody had ever rejected the ruling of the Central Committee and rejecting the virtually unanimous ruling of the entire party membership was unthinkable.

Meanwhile, the day that Bishop got back, the Cubans put an infantry company around the Cuban embassy in Grenada and the Grenadian ambassador stayed in the embassy rather than returning to his home.  The Central Committee members became convinced the Cubans were about to intervene militarily in Grenada to prop up Bishop.  There were 700 Cuban troops at the airport.  Later, Coard says, it was discovered that Bishop did call Castro from Fort Rupert during the crisis of October 19 and ask for Cuban troops to move off the airfield and into St. Georges to support him.

When Bishop got back, he started a rumor that Phyllis and Bernard Coard were planning to kill him.  Bishop relayed this plot to one of his aids who started spreading it and then had a change of heart.  He came clean and testified before the party members at Butler House that it was a Bishop plot to undermine the Central Committee.  He made this testimony on the same stage with Bishop who became visibly angry.

Many party members, at that point, demanded that Bishop be removed as PM and even kicked out of the party.  The Central Committee put Bishop under house arrest while the figured out what to do.

Meanwhile, 'the masses' rose up.  "We want we leader!", they chanted in the streets.  Coard says they were being organized by Uni Whiteman, George Louison and a shadowy group of people who may have been CIA agents.

The crowd came up to Mt. Wheldale and freed Bishop from house arrest. While there, they threatened Coard and other party members... "We are coming back to deal with you later!"

The Coards, therefore, were smuggled up to Ft. Frederick in separate vehicles.  Coard was having chest pains and back spasms and spent the rest of the crisis laying on his back on an Army cot disengaged with what was happening.

Meanwhile the crowd had taken Fort Rupert, and the military and police there decided to stand down.  They were disarmed and civilians were given weapons.  All kinds of nasty stuff happened, according to Coard.   Files, maps and documents were thrown out of their storage places.  The command center was trashed.  Female military members were stripped of clothing and sexually assaulted.   This sort of thing.

Back at Fort Frederick, a 25 year old PRA officer sent two armored cars down to get control of things.   The troops were riding on top and waving to the people as they passed them on the street.  They expected to walk into Fort Frederick and restore order.

When they got there, they were immediately fired on by people in the fort including Vince Noel.  Four soldiers were immediately killed or mortally wounded.  The soldiers return fire that was very disciplined.   The firefight lasted 15 minutes and, in the end, four soldiers were killed and six others in the fort.  He says that a total of 19 were killed that day including Bishop, Whiteman, Creft and the others killed by firing squad.

He says that it was less than an hour and probably only a half hour after the fire fight that the Bishop and the others were executed.  He says it was done by the soldiers of Fort Frederick in a fit of anger after having seen their fellow soldiers gunned down on the road up to the fort.  No order was given from the Party.  It was soldiers acting on their own, he claims.

He says that some mysterious agent from India started the firing from the fort and was the first to shoot the troops in the armored cars.  He has no further information on this mysterious Indian national.   

It was during firefight at the fort that Coard says Bishop called Castro and asked him to mobilize the Cuban battalion at Point Salinas and invade St. Georges. 

Basically, Coard makes the argument that Bishop was a great man, a great leader of the Revo who was well loved by the people but was seduced by power, wanted to be Maximum Leader and had become a near puppet of the Cubans.  The entire party had pretty much turned against this but this was all invisible to the masses of Grenadians.

He is self critical only in his belief he was naive.

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#2 Nov 04, 2017 5:01 pm

Expat
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Re: Bernard Coard's Story

Grenada is definitely a country where if you gave 6 witnesses you will have 7 or eight versions as to what occurred.... especially if it is political party related.

Just as some families will close ranks and lie through their teeth despite the truth being more obvious than the lies they are telling, so things go in Grenada.

If you are NNP... nothing the NDC does or suggests is right, and vice versa.

So with things Revo. Only the participants really know, and having a vested interest do not expect the truth from any one of them.

There may well be some truth to the version related, as well as great gobs of it may be utter BS.

One of my stepdaughters who was a student escaped without injury simply as one of the soldiers who was there let her slip down the side of one of the vehicles. I guess he was the only one who wasn't drug crazed as we have been told.

The proletariat may well have shouted for Bishop to be released, but what stories were they told.

This may well be one of the least understood military/political events of the last century.

I kinda thought Bishop was a good guy who got boxed in by America and the UK refusing to talk, but I have recently heard some much darker rumors regarding observing and participating in torture... I think really what we had was a real case of "Lord of the Flies".

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#3 Nov 04, 2017 7:02 pm

houston
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Re: Bernard Coard's Story

Interesting to read Coards version of events. According to his account he gave no orders, it was underlings gone mad.
Why was he convicted if that were the case?
Where are all of the people that took part, witnessed and could substantiate Coards story? Who fired the bullets under who's orders?

Why on earth would educated leaders think that their island could become a landing strip for the Soviets to transport weapons, fuel up and become a military base without any type of intervention from the west?

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#4 Nov 04, 2017 7:52 pm

Real Distwalker
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Re: Bernard Coard's Story

houston wrote:

Why was he convicted if that were the case?

He said he was framed by a US backed kangaroo court.  By his account, he worked tirelessly to end the crisis of the party in September of 1983.  He was still warmly embracing Bishop as a childhood friend shortly before October 19th.

He argued that Bishop was under the influence of Fidel Castro who wanted him to be the "Fidel of Grenada".  He implied that Bishop was paranoid that there were plots against him and was refusing to support the rulings of the Central Committee and the Party. He had turned against the Central Committee, the Party and the NJM.  He was going full populist to rally the masses.

The Party, he said, wasn't just worried about a military intervention by the US, the the Party was very worried that Cuba would intervene militarily.  The Cubans did exactly that in Angola and when Coard asked the Cuban ambassador if Cuba was planing to attack and kill Bishops opponents, the Cuban ambassador refused to answer.  They were very afraid that Bishop was going to use the Cuban military stationed at the airport to stage a coup.

Coard really hated George Louison.  He argued that it was Louison who poisoned Bishop's mind against Coard and the others.

He also claimed that Unison Whiteman was manipulating Bishop but he said he was doing it because he thought it was best for the Revolution.  Louison was doing it, Coard said, for his own ambition and lust for power.'

Coard claims he had absolutely nothing to do with sending troops to the fort, anything to do with the shooting or anything to do with the killing of Bishop et al.   He as as surprised as anyone when it happened.   He didn't explain in his book about how the firing squad happened.  He only said that it happened very quickly after the firefight.  Minutes even.  He argued that it was nothing but spontaneous anger by the troops at the fort. It was an act of anger and passion and was not planned or ordered.

Whatever the case, Coard claims he is innocent of any crime whatsoever and was ill on his back as all the shooting went down.

Last edited by Real Distwalker (Nov 04, 2017 7:54 pm)

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#5 Nov 04, 2017 9:16 pm

houston
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Re: Bernard Coard's Story

Interesting stuff RD. Is it the Coard truth or the story of the masses?
Did he have a fair trial that was judged by his peers or was he wrongfully convicted as many are?

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#6 Nov 04, 2017 9:25 pm

Real Distwalker
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Re: Bernard Coard's Story

I imagine there's a little bit of Truth in just about every representation of any historical event. It was very difficult however to separate the wheat from the chaff.

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#7 Nov 07, 2017 7:26 am

Real Distwalker
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Re: Bernard Coard's Story

I was hoping New Historian would comment on Coard's version of events...

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#8 Nov 07, 2017 8:01 am

Slice
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Re: Bernard Coard's Story

He is not telling the truth.  I was not in Grenada, but was still very well connected.  The information I received, that Bish killing was ordered by him and HA.   That is the cold hard truth.  He ordered Bishop killing.  The only reason he ordered the killing, was that he wanted to be the PM.

That man and he wife are not even from this planet, he is nothing but ah Cold blooded killer.  He never ever cared about Grenadians.  It also can be traced that the original six was ah very peaceful bunch.  It was when the Snakes got involved with the six, that violence escalated.

Now ah never knew Bishop personally, but  I knew Radix, Whiteman and Lloyd Noel, they were ah very peaceful bunch.  Strachan Phillip, HA Hudson and the Slime called Bernard Coard changed everything.  Two of the three was Stone cold killers, Coard and Strachan.

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#9 Nov 07, 2017 8:09 am

Real Distwalker
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Re: Bernard Coard's Story

Coard has more books coming out.  Coard describes his next book
-------

This book begins around 2:00 pm on October 19, 1983, at the point at which Prime Minister Maurice Bishop has just been killed, and moves rapidly through the traumatic disposal of the bodies, the formation of the Revolutionary Military Council, a four-day curfew, efforts to set up a civilian government and a Commonwealth Commission of Inquiry; the attempts to forestall an American invasion involving the Thatcher government in Britain, several Caribbean governments, and the families of American medical students at St George’s University in Grenada. The Invasion nevertheless commences at 5:25 am on October 25 with the battle by US helicopter-borne troops to seize the Governor-General’s residence, followed rapidly by the parachuting of thousands of soldiers to capture Grenada’s almost completed international airport, the shooting down of eight US helicopters in Queens Park, St George’s, by one anti-aircraft unit of Grenada’s People’s Revolutionary Army, and the raging, seesaw battle to take and hold the radio relay station at Beausejour. The story of these and other battles to conquer tiny Grenada take the mightiest military power on earth six days to complete, and is told through the eyes of both Grenadian and American soldiers who have written and been interviewed about them. The effort by the American occupation forces to control all of Grenada’s institutions – Government, civil service, police, judiciary, trade unions, the media – and the growing and ultimately successful resistance to their takeover – is graphically told. The United States brought back to Grenada within days of the invasion, Grenadians who had become US citizens, as well as others stationed elsewhere abroad – most of whom were selected for their active opposition to the Grenada Revolution. They appointed many of these persons whom they believed were their surrogates to an “Interim” government which they established. They also heavily financed many to win an election which they organized and held 14 months after the invasion. This book outlines vividly how and why, one by one, every one of the attempts to control Grenada’s institutions and people – and execute the remaining leadership of the Grenada Revolution – fail. This is the fascinating story of the limits of Imperial power in today’s world, even in seeking to control a country of 133 sq miles and 100,000 people, through the persons they bring back to run Grenada for them. These individuals, over time, proceed to take a series of measures – even inviting Fidel Castro on a State Visit to Grenada – which the United States strongly opposes but can do nothing about.

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#10 Nov 07, 2017 8:11 am

Slice
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Re: Bernard Coard's Story

Rd, put this bunch ah lies to rest.  Nothing you posted about what Coard said was truth.  If Bishop was not the PM and also the leader of the revolution, there will be no revo.  Bro Lousion was not considered ah leader, he was ah kind very reserve kind of person.  The second most popular persons in the party was probably Radix.

Last edited by Slice (Nov 07, 2017 8:33 am)

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