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Eric Gairy

Biography

Grenadian Government Officials

Date of Birth (DOB): 2/18/1922
Died: 8/23/97
From: Grenada
Best Known for: First Prime Minister of Grenada

Bio: Born in St. Andrews parish Grenada, Eric Gairy lived in Trinidad for several years, and worked at the American Naval Base at Chaguaramas. He became a working class hero successfully organizing an island-wide strike. He returned to Grenada in 1950 and founded the Grenada United Labour Party (GULP) winning a seat in the General Election as its leader starting a legendary political career that would be known as "Gairyism" in Grenada.

Gairy was a well-dressed politician, tall and handsome and was said to be extremely charismatic however his life and his career would often be plagued with controversy. In 1961, England suspended the constitution in Grenada, then still a colony allegeding massive corruption scandal known as "Squandermania, Gairy was Chief Minister and Minister of Finance.

Gairy led his nation to Independence from Britain on February 7th 1974 however his erratic administration provoked a group led by British-trained lawyer Maurice Bishop called the New Jewel Movement (NJM) to lead demonstrations against him. Gairy responded to the NJM by summoning his paramilitary unit, the "Mongoose Gang” to apply strong-armed methods often compared to Duvalier of Haiti’s “Ton-Ton Macoute”.

Gairy, convinced that mankind was threatened by extra-terrestrials arriving in flying saucers repeatedly called for a special group within the UN to investigate UFO's. It was while Gairy was at the UN in 1979, attending a conference with other UFO experts, including Gen. Kurt Waldheim that a bloodless coup by the NJM put Maurice Bishop in power in Grenada.

After the coup Gairy remained in the United States, returning in 1984, a few months after the Bishop regime self-destructed. His party never won another election and he himself was defeated at the polls. He died in 1997. He is survived by two daughters Jennifer and Marcelle. He became Sir Gairy in 1976 and was affectionately known as “uncle” by the people of Grenada.

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