Open main menu

People's Revolutionary Government (Grenada)

The People's Revolutionary Government (PRG) was proclaimed on 13 March 1979 after the New Jewel Movement overthrew the government of Grenada in a revolution. The government suspended the constitution and ruled by decree until a factional conflict broke out, culminating in an invasion by the United States on 25 October 1983.

People's Revolutionary Government of Grenada

Anthem: Hail Grenada
Location of Grenada
CapitalSt. George's
Common languagesEnglish
GovernmentUnitary Marxist-Leninist one-party socialist state under a constitutional monarchy
• 1979-1983
Elizabeth II
• 1979-1983
Paul Scoon
Prime Minister 
• 1979–1983
Maurice Bishop
• 1983
Bernard Coard
• 1983
Hudson Austin
Historical eraCold War
• Communist rule proclaimed
13 March 1979
25 October 1983
348.5 km2 (134.6 sq mi)
CurrencyEast Caribbean Dollar
ISO 3166 codeGD
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Today part of Grenada


The New Jewel Movement (NJM) under the leadership of Maurice Bishop was the main opposition party in Grenada during the 1970s. In 1979, the NJM overthrew the government of Eric Gairy, which had ruled the country since independence in 1974. The NJM launched an armed takeover of the radio station, police barracks, and various other key locations in Grenada while Gairy was on a trip outside the country. The armed takeover was conducted by the People's Revolutionary Army (PRA), which had been formed in secret within the NJM.[1]

The NJM suspended the constitution and announced new laws. Maurice Bishop announced the formation of the PRG over radio, which organized a cabinet to run the country with Bishop as prime minister. All political organizations except for the NJM were banned, and membership in the NJM was thereafter tightly controlled.

The PRG established close relations with the government of Cuba, and with Cuban assistance began construction of a large international airport.

Literacy and health statistics improved dramatically during Bishop's tenure, but economic woes led to a crisis. In 1983, internal divisions occurred within the central committee of the PRG. A group led by Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard, a hard-line militaristic element,[2] attempted to convince Bishop to enter into a power-sharing agreement with Coard. Eventually Coard placed Bishop under house arrest and took control of the PRG government. The removal of Bishop led to large popular demonstrations in different areas of the country. In the course of one of these demonstrations, Bishop was freed by the crowd, and eventually reached the PRA headquarters at Fort Rupert.

A unit from the PRA (People's Revolutionary Army) at Fort Frederick was dispatched to Fort Rupert. Fighting broke out between that force and the civilians at Fort Rupert resulting in many deaths. Afterwards, Bishop and seven others, including several cabinet ministers, were rounded up and executed.

After the executions, a new government called the Revolutionary Military Council, led by General Hudson Austin, was formed to rule the country and the PRG ceased to exist. This government nominally ruled for six days before being ousted by the United States invasion of Grenada.


  1. ^ Russell Crandall, Gunboat Democracy: U.S. Interventions in the Dominican Republic, Grenada, and Panama (Oxford, UK, 2006), 126.
  2. ^ País, Ediciones El (1994-08-19). "Reportaje | 'Apocalypso now'". EL PAÍS (in Spanish). Retrieved 2017-06-06.