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Passing of Giants Minister Clemson Brown Part Two

Another memorable association we developed with government leaders in the Caribbean was Grenada. From the time that the New Jewel Movement headed by Prime Minister Maurice Bishop took power from Eric Gairy in 1979 we remained great friends of the Grenada people, especially Maurice Bishop.

Michael Manley, Kai Crook, Prime Minister of Jamaica

When the Independence celebration took place, we were invited to the celebration. The most notable incident regarding Grenada was a telephone call I received at my home from Prime Minister Maurice Bishop. He was concerned regarding the military

maneuvers on the island of Vieques off Puerto Rico. Its terrain is similar to Grenadas. I brought the news to BUF's Central Committee, we decided I would go on a speaking tour with the information the Prime minister had conveyed to me. Up and down the country, I went as I had done initially to inform people about the revolution and the activities of the government.

Additionally, I attempted to organize a Congressional delegation to travel to Grenada and meet with Prime Minister and other members of his administration. Only one Congressman agreed to accompany us to Grenada. Congressman Major Owens – D12 and of course Mr. Brown came along to do his video work. But I should add with emphasis, Minister Brown was not only a photographer/videographer, he was a trusted and wise confidante. I sought his advice on practically all major issues that confronted us. The three of us, made our way to Grenada.

The Prime Minister was out of the country on an emergency trip. The Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Chord represented him. We had extensive talks with Mr. Chord, which Minister Brown recorded. Mr. Chord talked admiringly about Prime Minister Bishop and emphasized the great friendship and how they had been influenced by the Civil Rights movement in America. On our way back to the states we stopped in Barbados. We met with the US Ambassador to Barbados. In our conversation, the Ambassador spoke of his contempt and the American governments hostility towards Maurice Bishop and the New Jewel Movement leadership. The animosity occurred because the Prime Minister was a socialist and on friendly terms with Russia. So was Fidel Castro in Cuba as we know, and Prime Minister Michael Manley was leaning in that direction. Some say, he had already made his move. For some years President's of the United States have tried to destroy the leadership and Cuban leaders. Prime Minister Manley was defeated by Edward Seaga with the help of the U.S. government. Hence, that left Maurice Bishop and Fidel Castro in power.

An act which enhanced the animosity and distrust of the American government with Prime Minister Bishop and his administration was the construction of an international airport. For years there have been talk of an international airport for Grenada. Now, Maurice Bishop intended to make the international airport a reality. For the obvious reason to expand his country. Grenada needed an international airport rather than flying to neighboring countries then taking a smaller plane to Grenada.

So, as the Ambassador was spewing out his hatred, Minister Brown was filming. When the Ambassador realized he was being recorded he angrily demanded Minister Brown to put away the camera. Minister Brown nodded his compliance and fumbled with the camera and its bags. The Ambassador continued his tirade. When we left Barbados, Minister Brown said that he had continued filming. I asked him, “how did you manage to do that?”. He said, “we learn a lot of tricks over the years in all kinds of places.” We have that film in our files.

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