Maurice Bishop: Wikis


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Maurice Bishop

In office
March 13, 1979 – October 19, 1983
Deputy Bernard Coard
Preceded by Eric Gairy
Succeeded by Hudson Austin

Born May 29, 1944(1944-05-29)
Died October 19, 1983
Political party New Jewel Movement
Spouse(s) Angela Bishop

Maurice Rupert Bishop (May 29, 1944 – October 19, 1983) was a Grenadian politician and revolutionary.



Bishop was the son of Rupert and Alimenta Bishop. He was educated at the London School of Economics and had an extensive background in studies of the black power movement. Returning to Grenada, he became active in politics. In 1973 he became head of the Marxist New Jewel Movement (NJM) political party. He was elected to parliament, and for several years he held the position of leader of the opposition in the Grenadian House of Representatives, opposing the government of Prime Minister Eric Gairy and his Grenada United Labour Party (G.U.L.P.).

Grenada Revolution of 1979

In 1979 Bishop's party staged a revolution and deposed Gairy, who was out of the country addressing the United Nations at the time. Bishop subsequently suspended the constitution and declared himself Prime Minister of Grenada. All political parties except for the NJM were banned, and no elections were held during Bishop's rule. Without a constitution in place, the People's Revolutionary Government (PRG) simply issued laws by decree. The country was governed in theory by a cabinet of ministers with Bishop as Prime Minister, but in reality power in the country was exercised by the central committee of the party.

Bishop began to build a close relationship with Cuba after he took power. He initiated a number of projects, most significantly, the building of a new international airport on the island's southern tip which was later renamed in his honour and memory in May 2009. Financing and labor for the construction of the airport came from Cuba, although most of the airport’s infrastructure was designed by European and North American consultants. American President Ronald Reagan accused Grenada of intending to use the new airport’s long “airstrip” as a waypoint for Soviet military aircraft.

The People's Revolutionary Army (PRA) was also formed during Bishop's administration. Critics accused the army as being a waste of money and resources, and there were many complaints that the PRA was used as a tool to commit human rights abuses, such as torture and detention of political dissidents without trial. PRA recruits were required to take an oath of loyalty to the NJM party and the natural superiority of Marxist socialism as a basis for government.[citation needed]

Arrest and execution

In 1983 disputes at the top level of the party leadership occurred. A group within the party attempted to get Bishop to either step down or agree to a power-sharing agreement with Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard. Bishop rejected these proposals and was eventually deposed and placed under house arrest during the first week of October 1983 by Coard. Large public demonstrations demanding the restoration of Bishop afterward occurred in various parts of the island. In the course of one of these demonstrations Bishop was freed from house arrest by the crowd. In unclear circumstances, Bishop made his way to the army headquarters at Fort Rupert (known today as Fort George). After he arrived, a military force was dispatched from another location to Fort Rupert. Fighting broke out later at Fort Rupert with many civilians being killed. Bishop and seven others including cabinet ministers were captured. Later in the day they were executed by an army firing squad.


Maurice Bishop married Angela Redhead in 1966. They had two children, John and Nadia. Angela Bishop immigrated to Canada with both children in 1981, while Bishop was still prime minister. He also fathered a son, Vladimir, with his longtime partner Jacqueline Creft, who was also Minister of Education in the PRG. She was killed alongside Bishop at the confrontation at Fort Rupert. Like his parents, Vladimir was killed in violent circumstances (stabbed in a nightclub) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, while still a young man.

See also

External links

Preceded by
Eric Gairy
Prime Minister of the People's Revolutionary Government of Grenada
Succeeded by
Hudson Austin

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