Government Official Claims Destabilization Attempt
ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada (AP) _ A shower of stones broke up a ceremony commemorating the second anniversary of the U.S. invasion of this Caribbean island, and the acting prime minister said attempts were being made to destabilize the government.
The stone-throwing occurred Friday night as acting Prime Minister Ben Jones spoke to about 1,000 people and government officials attending the ceremony in Grenville.
Education Minister Goerge McGuire was hit in the stomach and a member of Parliament, Felix Alexander, was hit in the leg, but neither was seriously hurt.
Police said one or two people in the crowd threw the stones, and there were no arrests.
It was the first such incident since the moderate New National Party was elected to power last December.
Before the stone-throwing, Jones said ″false rumors″ were being spread that Prime Minister Herbert Blaize has terminal cancer. Jones said the rumors are an attempt to destabilize the country.
Blaize is in Washington, where he underwent surgery for a prostate condition at Walter Reed Army Hospital. He spoke Friday at a rally across from the White House and at a brief ceremony commemorating the Grenada invasion at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.
On Oct. 25, 1983, 6,000 U.S. forces ousted a radical Marxist military junta that had seized power six days before the invasion. Junta leaders are accused of executing Prime Minister Maurice Bishop, a leftist who overthrew conservative Prime Minister Sir Eric Gairy in March 1979.
President Reagan described the invasion as a rescue mission for about 600 American students at St. George’s University Medical School campus, and said an airport being built by Cuban workers was designed to handle Soviet military aircraft.
Asked earlier this year if there is still a Marxist threat on Grenada, Blaize said: ″You can’t eradicate those people by just having a rescue mission, you know. They’ll be still around.″
Jones abruptly ended the ceremony in Grenville as stones fell on the speaker’s platform.
″We do not want to expose you to any injury,″ he told the crowd, ″but we wish to assure you that whatever your political complexion, the governmment is dedicated to serve all the people in this country.″
Earlier, Grenadians packed the Roman Catholic cathedral in St. George’s for an ecumenical service of ″thanksgiving and reconciliation,″ and a memorial service for the 19 U.S. soldiers who died in the invasion.
Stan Lucas, 49, of Granite City, Ill., on Friday visited the monument erected in memory of his son Keith and the other dead Americans on the medical school campus.
Lucas said he came to Grenada because he ″had a lot of questions.″ He said those questions had been answered and he was glad he came.
At the service, the Rev. Mark Haynes said the action by the U.S. forces was not an invasion.
″Our island had been invaded a long time before that day,″ Haynes said. ″What did happen is that a rescue mission was mounted to save us from a political system which had the seeds of its own destruction.″
The 19 former military and government officials charged with Bishop’s murder are in jail in St. George’s and awaiting trial. They include Bishop’s former deputy, Bernard Coard, and Gen. Hudson Austin.