Express Editorial : Daily

CARIBBEAN countries joined with others across the world on Sunday to mark the 37th anniversary of the collapse of a socialist experiment which had been undertaken in neighbouring Grenada four and half years earlier, on March 13, 1979.

This was the date on which a political grouping known as the New Jewel Movement, (NJM) ousted a sitting Prime Minister and took control of the country.

With a population less than 100,000 persons at the time, a popular young attorney named Maurice Bishop and a strident young economist named Bernard Coard set themselves up as join leaders of this movement which pushed the population into the embrace of socialist and communist development.

Close friends of the movement at the time included the then Jamaican prime minister Michael Manley, Cuba’s Fidel Castro and Daniel Ortega who had taken power in Nicaragua.

From the beginning, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, then under the leadership of the late Dr Eric Williams, had been less than enthusiastic over those developments.

Moving ahead with a decidedly socialist, “people’s” agenda, the NJM administration faced enormous internal pressures over an agreement for what had been termed “joint leadership,” between Bishop and Coard. At the same time, it faced increasing pressure from other leaders in the regional integration movement to “regularise” its status by the calling of elections. On top of that, the construction of a new international airport, with significant assistance from other countries in the Communist Bloc, including Cuba and the Soviet Union, attracted significant opposition and negative imaging from others, principally among them the US government, under then president Ronald Reagan.

It was at the Caricom Heads of Government Conference in Port of Spain in July 1983, under the chairmanship of then-prime minister George Chambers, and under pressure from such leaders as Barbados’ Tom Adams and Jamaica’s Edward Seaga, Bishop announced a decision to hold elections, after the preparation of a suitable new constitution. He announced a decision to appoint two Trinidad and Tobago attorneys, Allan Alexander and Frank Solomon, to undertake that particular assignment. People in the “Spice Island” were also being prepped for celebrations to mark the fifth anniversary of the so-called “Revo” in March 1984. But the pace of those developments was being undermined by increasing internal strife at the top on the issue of “joint leadership.” This led to a river of no return, with the placing of the prime minister under house arrest in September 1983. Those actions led to a massacre in which he and several others of his ardent supporters were lined up and shot at a fort overlooking the capital city, after he was freed from captivity.

This was October 19. Six days later, on the urgings of several Caricom leaders, Seaga, Adams and Dominica’s Eugenia Charles prominent among them, the US led an invasion into Grenada on October 25. Ms Charles was at president Reagan’s side at the White House the morning when the invasion was announced. She said it was a decision taken in the interest of the welfare of those she described as Caribbean “kith and kin.” The Government in Trinidad and Tobago did not support this action either, along with several other Caricom members, including Guyana.

Thirty seven years later, this signal event in modern Caribbean history, remains a subject for continuing study and analysis, with this country’s role and function in it warranting pride of place. This is especially so given the deeply close historical ties between the people of both countries.


Caribbean Airlines’ plan to cut 450 jobs is a dramatic curtain-raiser on the economic bleakness that awaits the country on the other side of Covid-19.

The post-pandemic shake-out in the job market will only intensify in the coming months as public utilities and State enterprises grapple with the twin challenge of declining income and reduced support from the Treasury.

The Covid-19 pandemic is poised to become one of the most defining events of the 21st century. Before it began, global citizens revelled in the ease of access to foreign destinations due to increasing and more affordable travel options and fewer visa requirements. Many could not fathom an interruption to this new level of global interchange.

I begin with a correction and an apology. In this space last week, I declared, based on information sourced online, that Trinidad and Tobago had won its bid to host the secretariat of the Arms Trade Treaty, an international agreement in which we had invested significantly, in terms of driving the discussions forward for its adoption at the United Nations.

the Covid-19 crisis is a global challenge. No country, no region, no continent can face it alone. It is therefore right for the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean to strengthen our strategic partnership towards a more sustainable, inclusive and equal world.

The tightened curfew restrictions for the Labour Day/Father’s Day weekend will have had the support of most of the country’s right-thinking citizens who so desperately want to go back to pre-pandemic life. As usual though, there is one rule for some and another rule for others.

PLEASE allow me to address the Minister of Health, the Prime Minister or whoever can help with this problem.

With the start of the rainy season after a not-so-dry season, we are experiencing what can only be described as an invasion of mosquitoes in Woodbrook.