By Delroy A. Whyte-Hall
Some of my favourite places are libraries, bookstores (on and offline). I could, and sometimes do, spend hours just browsing the shelves – looking, skimming, enjoying the volumes of volumes of interesting books.
Mark Twain said: “A man who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t,” and with the wealth of books that are available on every possible subject, there’s no excuse for not reading.
Read to stay current. Read to revisit the past. Read to learn new things. Read for pleasure. To make your life worthwhile and interesting, read, and if you can’t read, buy audio books, or let other’s read to you.
Now if you are particular interested in what took place in the highest reaches of government over the past 45 years, and would like to be brought up to speed, then I recommend that you read REVELATIONS (Beyond Political Boundaries), and THE GRENADA INTERVENTION (The Inside Story).
They are the two latest books to have been authored by the longest serving politician in the English speaking Caribbean, and Jamaica’s 5th Prime Minster, The Honourable Edward Seaga.
The simultaneous publication and launch booth books, at the Hilton Kingston recently, must certainly underline the value that Mr. Seaga places on the printed word.
They firmly demonstrate Mr. Seaga’s commitment to the formulations and organisation of ideas in a way that can easily be passed on to future generations.
This is certainly not a small commitment, because if other intellectuals do not put pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard, on the widely held assumption that Jamaicans don’t read, then future generations will be bereft of ready access to information and perspectives that constitute the core of Caribbean history.
The publication of these two books is of fundamental importance to Jamaican and the wider Caribbean community, because Mr. Seaga’s effort has concretizes his contribution to national and regional development. He suggests that not only that words matter, but an accurate and concise recollection of the past serves as an important guide to our future.
Each book has its individual relevance, and for me, my immediate choice would have to be THE GRENADA INTERVENTION (The Inside Story), because it has special significance. And Why?
It is simply the fact that I was one of the Jamaican soldiers who were sent to Grenada, and at that time, wasn’t privy to the inside story, but as a good soldier, I followed orders. Since, I have been trying ,to find out the real story behind the intervention and how particularly how Maurice Bishop and his colleagues met their demise. Nevertheless, I enjoyed my two exciting tour of duty in the Spice Isle, and in the end, I, along with my colleagues in 1985, was nationally recongnised by the government of the day with the “General Service Silver Medal for Military Service”
Now 26 years later, I have finally got the chance to know the inside story of the Grenada Invasion from the pen of the man who indirectly ordered me there in the first. If you’re like me, I am sure you’ll find THE GRENADA INTERVENTION (The Inside Story) a revelation. However, let me first whet your appetite in Mr. Seaga’s own words:
“Grenada became a fascination to me, because I have a feel for justice, even though I am not a lawyer.
When one sees and hears of the injustices that took place in Grenada, I felt that it should be put on record.
“Last year was the 25th Anniversary of the Grenada Intervention, and yet no one even remembers that. There was no occasion. There was no commentary. It just passed. It was the only time in the history of these countries that we called The English Speaking Caribbean had ever went to war, and that wasn’t even noteworthy.
“When you read that book and see the sinister things that happened… the intrigue that took place… the Machiavellian works that were carried out… and all the designs that were put in place to create an entirely new country of a new direction… then you’ll understand why it’s necessary for you to know this.
“I myself have no differences with anybody who wants to go in a different direction, but if you want to do that, then persuade the people to come with you.
“Now when you think about it that five million rounds of ammunition were discovered in the warehouse in Grenada… more than one for every man, woman, and child in the Caribbean… countless number of rifles of all descriptions: anti-tank weapons, field kitchens and hospitals, numerous war-related materials supplied by the two powers of that time for which the Grenada Revolution was only a part of the picture… it frightened us.
“It frightened the rest of the Caribbean when Maurice Bishop was killed… we felt that if it was Maurice Bishop now and you killed your own, then who is next. You cannot leave that amount of material for warfare; you cannot leave that amount of weaponry in the hands of people who were giving every indication that they were overcome by power. And so we decided to act. I will not go into the details. Go read the book.”
Now, we come to the real revelation, Mr. Seaga’s second book: REVELATIONS (Beyond Political Boundaries). Indeed, it is a compilation of the 27 major speeches Mr Seaga has given since that time.
Mr Seaga speaks on the topics that matter to him – from child development to cultural identity, economic development, planning, race, religion, sports and the constitution.
These are topics that Mr Seaga has addressed before in his previous roles of Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition, and Member of Parliament.
However, he has never before addressed the subjects in this voice. That is a major restriction that modified his public statements over the past four and a half decades.
“I no longer have the problems of earlier days when I had to speak within the boundaries of party policies. These thoughts are freely expressed,” said Mr Seaga.
Please stay tuned for a brief insight of how Mr. Seaga tackles this next most important project to date in his life.
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