Former Grenada army chief during 1983 coup is dead

Hudson Austin the Former leader of Grenada’s

Hudson Austin the leader of Grenada’s People’s Revolutionary Army Forces from 1979-1983, died on Saturday morning following a long illness. Affectionately called “HA”, Austin died at his home.

Austin, who was 84, was tried and convicted for causing the death of former Prime Minister Maurice Bishop, some members of his cabinet, and civilians.

In 2008, after serving more than 30 years in prison, he was released after the UK-based Privy Council ordered his resentencing and that of 16 others who were convicted for the deaths.

The group became known as the Grenada Seventeen.

Following his release from Richmond Hill Prison, Austin lived a quiet and private life. He is the third person of the Grenada 17 who has died.

The first was Kamau McBarnette who died in January 2020 and the second was Phyllis Coard who died in September 2020.

In Grenada’s history books, Hudson Austin is known as one of the earliest members of the New Jewel Movement and played a critical role in the March 13th, 1979 Revolution.

The People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) was proclaimed on 13 March 1979 after the Marxist–Leninist New Jewel Movement overthrew the government of Grenada in a revolution, making Grenada the only socialist state within the Commonwealth.

The NJM suspended the constitution and announced new laws. Maurice Bishop announced the formation of the PRG over radio, which organized a cabinet to run the country with Bishop as prime minister. All political organizations except for the NJM were banned, and membership in the NJM was thereafter tightly controlled.

Internationally, Grenada was increasingly isolated. The United Kingdom suspended its economic assistance and the United States used its influence to block loans from the IMF and the World Bank. A factional conflict eventually broke out, culminating in an invasion by the United States on 25 October 1983.