18th December 06


Dear Editor,


Further to your article, titled, Grenada 17 may walk free 23 years after Caribbean coup”, written by your reputable journalist Duncan Campbell, I am writing to say I was very disturbed to notice that it contains numerous inaccuracies.


Mr Campbell stated that, “In 1983 Maurice Bishop, the socialist Prime Minister of Grenada, was killed during a coup, along with 10 others, following a violent split within his party. The Deputy Prime Minister, Bernard Coard, Bishop's childhood friend turned rival, declared himself Prime Minister”.


The above statement is untrue. The prosecution at the trial of the Grenada 17 brought no evidence that any coup took place against PM Bishop. Also, at no time did Deputy PM Bernard Coard ever declare himself Prime Minister.


Indeed, there is evidence to suggest that Bernard Coard resigned from government several days before Bishop had been killed; also, he had been so upset by the rift between them, as well as the vicious rumor which led to the crisis, that he planned to leave Grenada.


It was after the tragic death of the popular Prime Minister, Maurice Bishop, and in the absence of a functioning government, that the army stated via a radio broadcast that they would hold power for a maximum of fourteen days, while a broad-based civilian government was being formed with the assistance of the Governor General. None of the members of the People's Revolutionary Government were to be part of the new government.


There is much evidence that, after the US illegally invaded this Commonwealth country, their psychological battalion launched demonizing propaganda against Bernard Coard and the socialist regime in Grenada - later only allowing selected journalists on the island. Mr. Campbell's inaccurate reporting is apparently due to the enduring consequences of this propaganda.


What should also be remembered is that the Grenada 17 issued an apology in 1997. As Mr. Campbell stated, they “fully and unreservedly accepted responsibility for the tragedy” – apologizing for their responsibility as the political and military leaders, but not for criminal responsibility, as the 17 have always protested their innocence in that regard.


Many of the facts about the scandalous judicial case against the 17, which has turned out to be the most expensive in Caribbean history, are not widely known. The seventeen were tortured in a style similar to that reportedly employed in Abu Grahib, and the extracted confessions, which they have later always strongly repudiated, were used as evidence in their trial. Other statements given at the Preliminary Inquiry, but suppressed at the trial, indicate that the evidence against the former government leaders was fabricated.


The invading forces led by the US government also refused to return tons of confiscated documents, which the 17 claim would prove their innocence. Moreover, almost sixteen years after the Court of Appeal hearing, the hired judges have refused to release the written court judgment.


Amnesty International and the Grenadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission have recently expressed concerns about the judicial process of the 17 and stated that it was "manifestly unfair" on numerous grounds. Also, Edward Fitzgerald QC, at the Privy Council hearing around "Matters of the Constitution", concluded in one of his submissions last week that there was “a denial of justice and a denial of protection of law”.


Therefore, what was written by Mr. Campbell was inaccurate, and I feel it would only be appropriate for your paper to acknowledge the errors, as your readers have been misinformed.


Yours sincerely,


Noreen Scott