Grenadians oppose release of coup leaders
ST. GEORGE'S, Grenada -- (AP) -- A public apology by four men
jailed in the
bloody 1983 coup that prompted the United States to invade Grenada has set off
a storm of debate in this Caribbean country and sparked speculation that the
government may release them.
The men are among 17 prisoners jailed for the executions of former
Minister Maurice Bishop and his Cabinet.
Prime Minister Keith Mitchell said last year that emotion still
ran too high to free
the men. But he has not commented recently on the possibility.
Meanwhile, radio shows are buzzing and newspapers are filled with
the apologies, broadcast on the island's partly government-owned television
station on Sunday.
Since then, hundreds of fliers and posters have appeared denouncing
clemency as the Oct. 19 anniversary of the assassinations approaches.
``No release for these mass murderers, criminals and liars --
or open the jail and
let everybody out!'' the posters say.
They bear pictures of the four men -- former Deputy Prime Minister
Coard; former Ambassador to Cuba Leon Cornwall; government minister Selwyn
Strachan and army officer Ewart Layne.
After Bishop fled to Fort Rupert, a police and military installation,
revolutionaries stormed the building. A firing squad then executed Bishop and his
The United States, fearing Grenada would become a political satellite
with an airfield capable of sending Cuban jets deep into South America, invaded
six days later with support from nearby Caribbean countries.
In his apology Sunday, Layne said: ``I must accept responsibility
happened -- I so do. It is a very heavy responsibility given the magnitude of the
events, but it is one I must bear.''
Layne said he was the one who ordered soldiers to take Fort Rupert
But he said the coup was never meant to be bloody, saying the
``a spontaneous situation which got terribly out of control.''
Coard said he did not know where the victims were buried but claimed
took the bodies away. Bishop's daughter, Nadia, led an unsuccessful effort in
1997 to find her father's remains.
The men's death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment by