Queen says invasion of Grenada showed vulnerability of small states
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (AP) _ Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II said Tuesday the situation that led to the U.S.-led invasion of Grenada in 1983 ″highlighted the vulnerability of small states″ in the Caribbean.
She also called for continued cooperation between Commonwealth governments in the region ″to stabilize what has been achieved.″
The queen did not mention Grenada by name during a speech to some 11,000 people at a Youth Rally on the final day of a two-day visit to Barbados.
She said, ″Recent events in which the Barbados Defense Force had been involved highlighted the vulnerability of small states such as those of the Eastern Caribbean.″
As queen, she was speaking in the name of the government of Barbados, not of Britain.
At the time of the invasion, the British government led by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had opposed the military decision, but later softened its position.
U.S. troops, along with small military or police units from the Organization for Eastern Caribbean States, Barbados and Jamaica invaded Grenada, a former British colony, in October 1983. They ousted a radical Marxist military regime that had seized power a week earlier after killing leftist Prims Minister Maurice Bishop and seven of his followers.
Washington had claimed even before the coup by the ultra-leftists that Bishop was placing the island in communist Cuba’s sphere of influence.
The British monarch said the stability of Caribbean nations was discussed earlier this month at a Commonwelath summit conference in the Bahamas.
″Cooperation between neighboring small countries, like those of the Caribbean, benefits the region as a whole and helps to stabilize what has been achieved,″ she said.
Barbados and five other Caribbean states formed a Regional Security Force after the invasion. Last month, units of the Security Force engaged in military exercises on the neighboring island of St. Lucia. That also involved British and U.S. military personnel.
Grenada is the next stop on the 10-day tour of Commonwealth Caribbean countries by the monarch and her husband, Prince Philip. They were scheduled to arrive Thursday aboard the royal yacht Brittania.
The youth rally was held in the National Stadium and was attended by thousands of school children and members of various youth organizations.
Queen Elizabeth told them, ″It is only by learning about and understanding our fellow men that we can improve our world, and the earlier we can start the better.″