Caribbean Islands-Relations with the Commonwealth and Others
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Before and after the Bishop regime, Grenada identified more
with the countries of the Commonwealth of Nations (see Appendix B)
than with those of Latin America. The reasons for this are
cultural, historical, and economic in nature. Culturally,
Grenadians are still strongly influenced by British political forms
and social mores. Historically, the Commonwealth countries share a
common legacy of colonialism, however much that legacy may vary in
its contemporary manifestations. Economically, British and other
West European aid and trade mechanisms tie the Commonwealth
Caribbean more into their markets than is the case for most Latin
American economies. The competitive, noncomplementary nature of the
agricultural export economies of the Caribbean and those of many
Latin American states, particularly those of Central America, also
exerts influence on their state-to-state relations.
Grenada experienced some friction in its relations with nonCaribbean Commonwealth nations after the United States-Caribbean
intervention. The government of British prime minister Margaret
Thatcher made no secret of its disagreement with the employment of
military force in Grenada. This attitude was reflected in the
position of Commonwealth secretary general Shridath Ramphal, who
objected to the disbursement of Commonwealth aid funds to Grenada
until all foreign military forces were withdrawn from the island.
This stance, apparently accepted by most of the non-Caribbean
members of the organization (New Zealand being the only such nation
to support the United States-Caribbean military action), gradually
gave way to a more receptive approach by most members as Grenada
began to reconstruct its governmental and political system.
After rendering its initial objections, Britain became the
largest Commonwealth aid donor to Grenada. Its December 1983 grant
of US$1.1 million was its first to its former colony since 1978.
Thereafter, it provided aid in the form of both loans and grants.
This aid was expected to total more than US$7 million for the
period 1985-90. British assistance proved valuable as well in such
areas as police training and equipment, community development,
housing, and spare parts for local industry. Britain also reassumed
its position as the leading market for Grenadian exports.
The revitalization of British-Grenadian relations was
symbolically confirmed by the visit of Queen Elizabeth II and Prime
Minister Margaret Thatcher to the island on October 31, 1985. The
Queen read the Throne Speech to open the Grenadian Parliament and
was warmly received by the government and the public.
Grenadian relations with Canada since October 1983 have
followed a pattern similar to those with Britain. After an initial
period of friction and diplomatic disruption, relations were
normalized by early 1986. Canadian aid programs (in such areas as
agriculture and construction) were never formally suspended; in
addition to these established programs, the Canadian government
agreed in 1984 to provide aid and technical assistance toward the
completion of Point Salines International Airport. Canada also
assisted in the installation of a digital direct-dial telephone
Beyond the Commonwealth, the Blaize government acknowledged
foreign aid donations from the governments of France, Venezuela,
and the Republic of Korea (South Korea). In addition to providing
increased economic aid, Venezuela also upgraded its diplomatic
representation in Grenada from the chargé d'affaires to the
ambassadorial level in 1985. Other sources of economic aid included
the European Economic Community, with which Grenada is associated
through the Lomé Convention (see Glossary), and, to a more limited
extent, the Organization of American States.
The post-1983 governments of Grenada also took steps to
downgrade their country's relations with communist countries.
Relations with the Soviet Union were broken by Governor General
Scoon in November 1983. Ties with North Korea were severed in
January 1985. Although the Grenadians stopped short of breaking
relations with Cuba, these relations were downgraded and Cuban
presence on the island withdrawn. The retention of downgraded
relations may be attributable in part to a claim by the Cuban
government, still pending in 1987, for the return of construction
equipment from the Point Salines International Airport project.
The government established relations with China in October
1985. Relations with the government of Libya were broken in
November 1983, in retaliation for the Libyans' strong political
support for the PRG.
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