Tue | Nov 24, 2020

Grenadian documents seized by US in 1983, now protected by police force

Published:Sunday | October 25, 2020 | 11:11 AMCMC
US Ambassador Linda Taglialatela (photo from CMC).

(CMC)- State documents pertaining to the People’s Revolutionary Government that were seized by the United States Military during the October 1983 Grenada intervention and was returned to the country more than a decade ago, are under the protection of the Royal Grenada Police Force, says US Ambassador Linda Taglialatela.

She was speaking during an interview while on an official visit to Grenada. 

“I will be very honest, my understanding is, yes during the intervention we did seize documents and we kept them for a period of time but every piece of paper that the United States Government seized were turned over to the Government of Grenada,” she said.

“So whatever documentation is out there the Government of Grenada has them, it is up to them if they are willing to share with their citizens and that is all I can say,” she added, while responding to a question about the status of the documents that were removed from the island by the military forces during “Operation Urgent Fury." 

Today marks 37 years since the US invasion in Grenada to quell what it believed was an expansion of Soviet and Cuban influence.  

The documents seized by the US includes minutes of meetings indicating the decision of officials of the People’s Revolutionary Government and the Revolutionary Military Council, as well as letters of concerns from Grenadians residing in United Kingdom and the US that were addressed, to then Prime Minister Maurice Bishop.

“You have them all,” Ambassador Taglialatela said while being unable to immediately recall which ruling administration received the boxes of documents that are presently locked up in a storeroom at Police Headquarters, Fort George. The papers are treated with a powdered pesticide from time to time to avoid their destruction by termites and other insects. 

A search of articles showed that the some of the documents were returned in 1985. In that year, the government was under the administration of the New National Party (NNP), led by Herbert Blaize who won the general election on December 3, 1984.

Current tourism minister, Dr Clarice Modeste, confirmed that the documents are assigned to be digitalised, as a project for Grenada under the OECS Regional Tourism Competitiveness Project.

“The documents are being removed box by box as a project activity of the OECS competitiveness project and be digitalised to protect them,” said a senior government official who is associated with the project.

However, the government official could not  say if the public will have access to the documents upon completion of the digitalised process and whether or not the police will continue to be to the custodian of the documents.

The objective of the OECS competitiveness project is to facilitate access and movement of travellers through a pilot ferry service; rehabilitate select tourism sites such as Fort George in Grenada, Fort Charlotte, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Castries, St. Lucia; and help position these countries as one multi-island travel destination.

Through the project, Fort George which is presently the headquarters of the Royal Grenada Police Force is scheduled to become a major tourist attraction. This will then lead to the relocation of the Police Headquarters.

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