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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Forward Ever

Shortly after I made my last blog post it came to my attention that in the time since I first embarked on this project, an epic effort has been made to chart the history of the Grenadian Revolution in the shape of a new feature film, Forward Ever: The Killing of a Revolution.

It's brilliant that such an in-depth treatment of this historical chapter has been made. And not before time! I hope it reaches as many people as possible who know nothing about the Revo, and answers some important questions for Grenadians, at home and abroad. As for my own research, I'm not sure what it means but I'm looking forward to the UK premiere!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Reviving The Revo Speaks

It has been a long time since I last visited The Revo Speaks project. I began on the journey, first researching the immense and complex history back in 2008, visiting Grenada in March 2009 for the 30th anniversary celebrations of the start of the revolution. Now we are approaching the 30th anniversary of the end of the revolution, and the urgency to complete this project is upon me once again.

What transpired back in March 2009 was a mishmash of stories and avenues that seemed impossible to unpick at the time. Our trip was a fascinating eye-opener, and what began as a fact finding mission, became clouded by the clamour of people wanting to tell us their story. I returned home, feeling overwhelmed, privileged by the information and stories people had shared with us, but essentially confused. There were so many stories, so much contradiction, that I was dizzied by how to tell it all and do The Revo justice. Here is a blog post I composed but didn't publish at the time:

Since landing in Grenada we accidentally dropped into a time portal that sucked us up a tunnel at Fort Frederick and spat us out on a hillside overlooking St Georges somewhere, circa 1983. Let me explain. The trip began in a straightforward manner. We met with Grenada Broadcast Network (GBN) and planned the course of action for the film. Good I thought, (I live and breathe by organisation), this is good. So off we go, aiming to get some stock shots while we have a little time, and end up at Fort Frederick. Fort Frederick is the highest point in St Georges, in the village of Morne Jaloux where I used to spend time visiting my Nan as a kid. The place is dotted with forts where the French fought the English and the English fought the French. This one the US tried to bomb after the revolution collapsed in ’83, but in the blunder that was the invasion, missed and hit the mental hospital next door, killing nearly all the patients. So we examine the wreckage, the bombed out solitary cells, the erie network of tunnels and flaking pathways, before going on our way...

The next day I interview the director of the funeral home on the carenage. He’s telling me how his father picked up 30 bodies from the site we were filming yesterday, and that it’s likely his father also buried those that were murdered up at Fort Rupert on the fateful day when the revolution fell, Oct 19th 1983. We don’t know it yet, but we’ve already been transported back in time, falling deeper into the black hole of information that comes with every new lead. To this day the whereabouts of Maurice Bishop and his followers, remains the enigma of the Revo, the million dollar question. With no answer, the Revo remains unfinished, unresolved, and impossible to digest. We’re sent on a Marlowesque adventure into the unknown, learning of the attempts to understand what happened to the bodies, which lead a group of inquisitive schoolchildren up a garden path, but closer to the ‘truth’ than the gospel according to hearsay, (which seems to be the book by which everyone now lives).

You see, you ask someone a question and usually you’ll get an answer, or at least an attempt to address your inquiry. Ask someone a question on the Revo and it will all begin with a story. ‘Let me tell you a story’, an old man in the museum told me ‘it will make your toes curl and your hair stand on end...’ It would have been rude not to comply.

And so this project starts a new chapter. I hope to engage in it with fresh eyes and a few years more experience. It is still a mammoth challenge, but it's certain this is a story that has to be told.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Filming Begins

We arrived in Grenada, feeling that blast of hot air as you step off the plane and trundle down to the tarmac, the sweet smell of the tropics. This is Point Salines, soon to be Maurice Bishop International and a poignant start to our trip. ‘So that’s the overly-long runway,’ one of the boys says. Yes, this is the infamous airport, the Soviet satellite, the military base with a runway too long to accommodate mere tourist planes - the airport that helped justify an American invasion. Dan cheekily gets some shots as we walk down the steps, but it’s okay, this isn’t Gatwick. No one pounces on us apart from a smiling lady from the tourist board who is here to whisk us away through customs. Mental note: must always remember to feign filmmaking status to avoid long queues at airports.

We spend the late afternoon doing a little political site-seeing, grabbing the bus into town and taking a hike up to Fort George. Here the Revolution unravelled in dramatic fashion when crowds of people stormed the fort and military headquarters, after freeing their leader from house arrest. Here too they saw him gunned down, that is if they weren’t running to save themselves or taking their chances by clambering over the cliff face, some dropping to their deaths by the sea.

So goes the story, and this is what we’re here to unravel. What went so terribly wrong that made friends turn against friends and divided families down the middle. So I’m thinking about this as we’re exploring the fort and the sun’s golden glows are reflecting off every building in the distance. Such a beautiful place, yet the fort is almost medieval, broken and bruised. I wonder if it’s Hurricane Ivan, or Regan’s bombs that are more to blame for its state of decay. A group of kids are playing basketball where Maurice and his supporters were lined up and shot. Occasionally the ball bounces off the plaque that lists the names of the dead.

Market Square and I’m doing my tour guide thing to get the guys acquainted. Vendors are closing down for the day but still eager to make a sale from us fresh-off-the-boat ‘tourists’. A radio is blaring amidst the hustle and bustle, but hang on, I know this, I’ve heard it before. A voice booms and a crowd cheers. He’s talking about the airport, making fun of the ‘pretense’ that it is a development for tourism. The voice is Maurice Bishop’s and it turns out his memory is alive and well for George, the bar owner who is playing his speeches loud and proud throughout the whole of this month. It’s 30 years next week since the revolution began yet for some, like George, the memories are as fresh as yesterday.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Revo Speaks trailer is here!

Check out the promotional trailer above
Immense thanks for supporting The Revo Speaks project! The film has been an incredible journey, stirring up emotions and generating unimaginable interest and excitement from here to the Caribbean and back again...

Since my original post I've had the pleasure of connecting with people from all aspects of the revolution, political organisers, journalists, Grenadians from all walks of life (you know who you are!)- each with a unique story to tell and each one taking me a step closer to demystifying the period that was the Revo.

I contacted Debi Alper after hearing she lived in Grenada during the Revo, and since then she has revisited the past in her wonderful blog at

As the project gathers momentum, I'll be posting regularly on our progress so watch this space for news and if you'd like to get involved, drop me a line at

Forward Ever!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Welcome to the The Revo Speaks project

This journey is all about unearthing the stories of Grenada's revolution, the fascinating period when Maurice Bishop and his followers, educated in the UK, went home to their beautiful spice isle and overthrew the government.

It is a period I want to revisit because of it's historical significance for Grenada, particularly on the eve of the revolution's 30th anniversary on March 13th 2009.

Grenada, although small has a big story to tell. I know almost every Grenadian out there has an opinion on the politics of the period and perhaps a personal story of their involvement. So if you played a part in the revolution, or simply want to share your opinion on the revolutionary party, American intervention or any aspect of the time, I'd love to hear from you.

The Revo Speaks will rewrite the story of the revolution through the memories of the people that lived it. With your input we'll be able to unravel:

What it felt like to be a part of the Revo
Why it's still so important for Grenadians, home and abroad
Why the Revo failed, what led to it's self-destruction
And how people feel about the American intervention after so many years

Do get in touch at or send us a reply to this post.

If you want to know more about the Revo, check out the links on the right. These are some great sites that will tell you all you need to know.