FORMER British Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn agrees with Saint Lucian journalist Earl Bousquet that the remains of Maurice Bishop and others killed alongside him in Grenada 37 years ago but still held on deep-freeze in the USA, should be returned to their families for burial.
The two participated in an online Conference on October 25 coordinated out of London, in support of growing calls by Grenadians in the UK for Grenada to demand that the US return the remains it secretly ferreted-out during the island’s occupation.
Bousquet, who spoke just ahead of Corbyn, had argued that ‘never mind how or where they died, every Caribbean person deserves a funeral.’
He also recalled that Bishop’s mother, Alimentha Bishop, had ‘pleaded and prayed in vain for 30 years for her son’s body’ to be returned home so the family could give him ‘a decent Christian burial.’
But she died in 2013 with her 30-year wish unfulfilled.
Corbyn started his presentation agreeing with Bousquet’s assertion that Caribbean families do place lots of traditional emphasis on ‘the spiritual aspect’ of traditional insistence on burials, recalling knowledge of several instances involving Caribbean people in the UK.
The former Leader of the British Labour Party has long association with the search for truth about what happened in Grenada in October 1983.
He was part of a British parliamentary delegation that also included MP Bernie Grant, that visited Grenada after the October 25th 1983 US invasion.
Corbyn recalled the delegation visiting the living and dining quarters of the Cuban construction workers at the Pointe Salines international airport that had been hurriedly abandoned after the living quarters came under incoming US aircraft fire.
He has since lent support for various causes in Grenada, from decades ago demanding a fair trial for those accused of killing Bishop and others on October 19, 1983 to current demands that their remains be returned to Grenada from the USA and made available to their families for burial.
Other presenters included London-based lawyer Jacqueline ‘Jacqui’ Mackenzie and Alan Scott, author of a booklet entitled ‘Was the Grenada Invasion Legal?’, who also presented documentary evidence, including photographs, of US soldiers unearthing bodies of Bishop and others from their first graves.
Bousquet also recalled writing an article in his newspaper column ‘Chronicles of a Chronic Chronicler’ in 2013, also reproduced regionally, calling on the US to accede to his mother’s request, after which a then senior Afro-American US Embassy official in Barbados confirmed publicly that Bishop’s and the other bodies were in US custody, only that ‘Grenada’ had not ‘requested them.’
Within days of the online meeting, however, Corbyn came under serious attack by Labour Leader Sir Keith Starmer, who accused him of supporting those who oppose Israel and deny the Holocaust, at the start of what his supporters say is as a crystal clear move to not only suspend his membership, but to eventually to kill his chances of re-election as Labour Leader.
Earl I thank you for bringing up the subject of Bishops’ body, which for too long
has been a dead issue. Its been a life time, 37 years held in a frozen grave far from
where he and others were murdered. Now with Corbyn in the picture, with Trump in
the mix let’s hope you don’t have to wait another four years for an answer. I remember
very well when that happened; I was on vacation in Barbados during an Easter week,
and the Hotel where we stayed was loaded with G.I. guys, some big brass too. I got talking
with some of the guys, and as you know Americans are not shy in talking, especially on
foreign soil. Back then I knew very little of the politics of the times having been away that
long neither did I show any interest, but it didn’t take long to discover something was up in
Grenada. The rest soon became history and here we are today – death warmed up – in the
minds of many; as a good brother at arms and historian, I trust you, Brother Earl to carry the
Torch to the end as far as you can, betimes to even pass it on, but where are the waiting hands
where are the weak arms and the will to bear even for a moment, while the race is still going on,
with bodies willing while the heart and minds are weakening. Don’t be dismayed keep up the good
work; not too many brothers with like minds left. Heavenly rewards awaits you, You are blessed.