Grenada airport renamed after late revolutionary leader
The international airport in Grenada has a new name.
ST GEORGE’S, Grenada, June 2, 200 – The international airport in Grenada has a new name.
What was the Point Salines International Airport up until last Friday, is now the Maurice Bishop International Airport, renamed in honour of the country’s slain, revolutionary leader who would have turned 65 on that day.
St Vincent and the Grenadines’ Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, who delivered the feature address at the dedication ceremony over the weekend, said the renaming was “an act of the Grenadian people coming home to themselves, out of the agony and compromises, pain and joy”.
“Grenada and Maurice has come home symbolically and in reality…this belated honour to an outstanding Caribbean son will bring closure to a chapter of denial in Grenada’s history,” he said.
Bishop played a major part in getting assistance from Cuba to build the airport that has now been renamed in his honour.
But the renaming of the facility did not come without opposition. There were some who did not agree with the move but Prime Minister Tillman Thomas, whose 10-month administration had promised to honour Bishop in this way, insisted on going ahead.
Bishop became the Prime Minister of Grenada in 1979, after his New Jewel Movement (NJM) staged a coup to take over the government from Sir Eric Gairy.
However, in 1983, a faction 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. Bishop then 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.