With reference to Lincoln Depradine’s article of October 31
, in which he recommends a list of Grenadian heroes, I was astonished and dismayed that he did not include Alistair Hughes and Johnson Beharry VC.
Alistair was a superb and dedicated Grenadian journalist who made it his job to tell the truth. This got him into trouble with both Gairy and Bishop, and although he was in grave danger from physical attacks by Gairy’s thugs, and subjected to terrorism and imprisonment by the Bishop regime, he refused to be intimidated. This qualifies him to be honoured as a hero. On his death the intention was expressed that a street should be named after him, but this has yet to happen.
Those who have heard the tape he recorded inside Otway House when Gairy’s police were firing live rounds into the buildings on the Carenage, where demonstrators, including many schoolchildren, were hiding, will know how moving that recording was. It won Alistair an international award. Here was a true hero of Grenada but a poorly recognized one. Let us give him his full due of honours and be proud of him.
Johnson Beharry was a poor country boy from St Marks who managed to make something of his life by joining the British army. At the age of 25 this young Grenadian saved the lives of 30 officers and men while under heavy enemy fire in Iraq, suffering very severe head injuries that torment him to this day. Whether not we approve of the British army’s involvement in Iraq, Johnson was given no choice in the matter. Let us not deny him the fullest honours and be proud of this Grenadian, the youngest person ever to receive Britain’s highest military honour, the Victoria Cross! He certainly qualifies to be a hero.
I do not think that anyone who could be accused of massacres of human beings and widespread destruction and pillage qualifies to be a hero. Nor those who control opponents by violent means, or institute a regime of torture or who imprison innocent people without trial.
Of course none of us is perfect but the imperfections of a hero should not be major ones.