Grenada and the rest of the Caribbean are mourning the death of two prominent Grenadian figures.
Sir Paul Scoon, the governor general of Grenada during the 1983 United States invasion of the “Spice Isle,” died on Sept. 2. He was 78.
Alimenta Bishop, the mother of Grenada’s first left-wing Prime Minister, Maurice Bishop, died on Aug. 24. She was 97.
The government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell did not give the cause of Sir Paul’s death, but reports indicate that he had long suffered from diabetes.
Sir Paul was the British monarch’s representative on the former British colony from 1978 until 1992, making him Grenada’s longest serving governor general since the island obtained political independence in 1974.
Scoon was born on July 4, 1935 in Gouyave, a town on the west coast of Grenada.
He attended St. John’s Anglican School and then the Grenada Boys’ Secondary School.
Scoon then received an external degree from the University of London before going on to study at the University of Leeds, England and gaining a Master’s in Education at the University of Toronto, Canada.
He returned to Grenada to teach at the Grenada Boys’ Secondary School. He rose from Chief Education Officer to Secretary to the Cabinet, the head of Grenada’s Civil Service, then becoming governor general.
He was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1970; and, in 1973, he returned to London to fill the post of Deputy Director of the Commonwealth Foundation.
In 1978, he was appointed governor general of Grenada by Queen Elizabeth II.
Alimenta Bishop died without ever getting to know the location of the remains of Maurice Bishop, who was killed on Oct. 19, 1983, four years after he came to power in the first ever coup in the English-speaking Caribbean.
The body of the former prime minister has never been recovered, despite pleas from Alimenta Bishop, the Bishop family and successive governments.
Coard, who was Maurice Bishop’s deputy, and several members of the PRG, including Coard’s wife, Phyllis, were sentenced to lengthy jails terms for their roles in Bishop’s execution. They were all released a few years ago under new sentencing procedures.
In 2009, Alimenta Bishop was among dignitaries present when the then ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) of former Prime Minister Tillman Thomas renamed the Point Saline International Airport, the Maurice Bishop International Airport.