Grenada - Relations with Latin American and Caribbean Countries

Grenada - Relations with Latin American and Caribbean Countries

After taking the reins of government, Prime Minister Blaize returned Grenadian foreign policy to its more traditional orientation, although with a distinct pro-United States flavor. A familiar figure to most of the leaders of the OECS states, Blaize moved quickly to reassure these leaders of Grenada's return to the democratic fold and to mollify the governments of other regional states that had objected to the military intervention.

Discounting Cuba, the most negative reactions to the intervention came from Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and the Bahamas. The government of Belize decried the action, but in milder terms.

The most injurious of these objections from the Grenadian viewpoint was that of Trinidad and Tobago. Close cultural, familial, and migratory links make Grenadians sensitive to events and opinions in Trinidad and Tobago; public condemnation by the government of Prime Minister George Chambers, coupled with the imposition of restrictions on Grenadian immigrants, puzzled and stung most Grenadians. They were able to take some consolation, however, in the fact that the press in Trinidad and Tobago (and, apparently, the majority of citizens) supported the intervention and condemned their prime minister for his opposition to it. Eventually, in 1986, persistent efforts by the Grenadians along with those of other OECS members induced Trinidad and Tobago to drop the visa restriction on Grenadians.

Grenada was integrated into the Regional Security System (RSS) once the Special Service Unit (SSU) of its police force was fully trained (see A Regional Security System, ch. 7). The military intervention of 1983 heightened the awareness among regional governments of the need for some kind of security force that could respond to small-scale disruptions or attempts at destabilization. The danger had been pointed up previously by the 1979 NJM coup in Grenada, but collective action on regional security from 1979 to 1983 had been hampered to some degree by the PRG's continued membership in regional organizations, such as Caricom and the OECS.

Grenada's primary forum for the expression of foreign relations concerns beyond its subregion was Caricom. The Blaize government did not play a leading role in this forum, however, preferring to lobby behind the scenes for consensus on issues of regional concern. This approach, a logical one in view of the fact that Caricom foreign relations resolutions must be approved unanimously, took advantage of Blaize's acceptance and connections among regional leaders and his considerable personal persuasiveness.

Reaching somewhat beyond the limits of Caricom, the Blaize government also engaged in some tentative economic negotiations with the government of Puerto Rico. Governor Rafael Hernández Colón visited Grenada in April 1985. One of the principal items on the agenda was the exploration of possible joint ventures that would establish plants in Grenada with seed money from both Puerto Ricanbased companies and Grenadian investors. Such ventures would be designed to take advantage of tax benefits granted to investors in Puerto Rico under the United States tax code. By early 1987, these negotiations had yielded some benefit to Grenada in the form of a "twin plant" (a factory assembling finished products using components fashioned abroad) set up by the United States firm Johnson and Johnson to produce nurse's caps.

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