067_G17_InFocus_Grenada

Global_17

In Focus Grenada Landslide election victor looks for consensus on debt With the New National Party winning all the seats in the 2013 elections, the country has no official opposition. But Prime Minister Keith Mitchell has pledged to reach out to other parties Neil Ford The Windward Island nation of Grenada faces many of the same problems as other parts of the Caribbean. Too little work and too much debt pose challenges for whichever government is in power. Voters are swayed by the performance of the economy, but domestic politicians have relatively limited influence over economic performance in the context of global developments. But for events three decades ago, the island could have been largely overlooked by world history – as it turned out, the country is now remembering the 30th anniversary of an invasion that gave it a very special place during the final decade of the Cold War. It is difficult to discuss Grenadian politics without considering by far the biggest event in its postindependence history. It is now more than a generation since US forces invaded tiny Grenada, under the pretext of reestablishing order following a bloody coup. The People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) had governed the island since seizing power in 1979. It quickly forged links with the communist world but, although its rhetoric was always more radical than its policies, it attracted the ire of Ronald Reagan’s administration at a time when US prestige had been shaken by the withdrawal from Vietnam, the US hostage crisis in Tehran and, most recently, the deaths of more than 200 marines in Lebanon. The Beirut barrack bombings outraged US public opinion and government, and there was a strong desire to strike in revenge somewhere… anywhere. The overthrow and murder of the PRG’s charismatic leader, Maurice Bishop, by a more hardline, pro-Soviet section of the PRG, gave Washington the opportunity that it needed. It had already prepared a task force to send to Beirut that could easily be diverted south to Grenada. The resulting invasion in October 1983 was a limited military  global f i rst quar ter 2014 www.global -br ief ing.org l 67


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