Prime Minister Tillman Thomas’ National Address – Grenada’s Thanksgiving October 25th, 2011

Tillman ThomasFellow Grenadians, Ladies and Gentlemen, I address you on the occasion of the annual observance of our Thanksgiving. At this time each year, we commemorate the events of October 1983 which led to the intervention by US and Caribbean Forces to restore Democracy to our country. 

The intervention became necessary because of a total breakdown of law and order and the traumatic events on October 19th 1983. As a result of the execution of Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and others, there was no government in place and anarchy reigned. It was the end of a period that was characterized by the curtailment of our human rights and freedoms and imprisonment of citizens without due process. It also marked the end of an experiment with a political system that was inconsistent with our traditions as a Grenadian people.

For many of us, it is a painful recollection of our past; but it is our history which must be correctly documented, taught and explained to our future generations. It is against that backdrop that we celebrate today the restoration of our freedoms. So we give thanks and renew our pledge to work harmoniously together to ensure that events like this will never again occur in our beautiful country.

While we recognize and remember those who died during the period October 19th to October 25th 1983, we must also solemnly remember and pay respect to those who tragically lost their lives between March13th, 1979 and October 18th, 1983. While the events of October 19 gave birth to October 25th as Thanksgiving Day, it is not the only thing for which we as a people, should be expressing our appreciation to God.

The fact that we were spared the wrath of a hurricane this year, the current abundance of fruit and vegetable production and our ability to weather the economic storm and to get back on a path of economic growth, are things for which we should be thankful.

Fellow Grenadians, Ladies and Gentlemen, we must take the opportunity to focus on the finer things of life; such as the way we live and treat with each other. One of the lessons learnt from the October events is that in the absence of avenues for dissent and disagreements, opportunities for violence and confrontation exists. Hence the reason for the fostering of genuine debate, consultation and engagement.

We must strive to be peace makers, building bridges of understanding and restoring a spirit of community and neighborliness. We must maintain a system of values that protects and cherishes human life.  These can only be achieved if we take meaningful lessons from our past failures and errors of judgment, while committing to not repeating them.

So I urge that we use this Thanksgiving Day to focus on our own contribution to family, to community and to the strengthening of all democratic institutions of our country.

Let us all work together to make Grenada a better place for us and for the generations to come.

May God Bless us all,©

I thank you

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