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Grenada: Relations with the Commonwealth and Others
Country Study > Chapter 6 > Foreign Relations > Relations with the Commonwealth and Others

RELATIONS WITH THE COMMONWEALTH AND OTHERS


Before and after the Bishop regime, Grenada identified more with the countries of the Commonwealth of Nations than with those of Latin America. The reasons for this are cultural, historical, and economic in nature. Culturally, Grenadians are still strongly influenced by British political forms and social mores. Historically, the Commonwealth countries share a common legacy of colonialism, however much that legacy may vary in its contemporary manifestations. Economically, British and other West European aid and trade mechanisms tie the Commonwealth Caribbean more into their markets than is the case for most Latin American economies. The competitive, noncomplementary nature of the agricultural export economies of the Caribbean and those of many Latin American states, particularly those of Central America, also exerts influence on their state-to-state relations.

Grenada experienced some friction in its relations with nonCaribbean Commonwealth nations after the United States-Caribbean intervention. The government of British prime minister Margaret Thatcher made no secret of its disagreement with the employment of military force in Grenada. This attitude was reflected in the position of Commonwealth secretary general Shridath Ramphal, who objected to the disbursement of Commonwealth aid funds to Grenada until all foreign military forces were withdrawn from the island. This stance, apparently accepted by most of the non-Caribbean members of the organization (New Zealand being the only such nation to support the United States-Caribbean military action), gradually gave way to a more receptive approach by most members as Grenada began to reconstruct its governmental and political system.

After rendering its initial objections, Britain became the largest Commonwealth aid donor to Grenada. Its December 1983 grant of US$1.1 million was its first to its former colony since 1978. Thereafter, it provided aid in the form of both loans and grants. This aid was expected to total more than US$7 million for the period 1985-90. British assistance proved valuable as well in such areas as police training and equipment, community development, housing, and spare parts for local industry. Britain also reassumed its position as the leading market for Grenadian exports.

The revitalization of British-Grenadian relations was symbolically confirmed by the visit of Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to the island on October 31, 1985. The Queen read the Throne Speech to open the Grenadian Parliament and was warmly received by the government and the public.

Grenadian relations with Canada since October 1983 have followed a pattern similar to those with Britain. After an initial period of friction and diplomatic disruption, relations were normalized by early 1986. Canadian aid programs (in such areas as agriculture and construction) were never formally suspended; in addition to these established programs, the Canadian government agreed in 1984 to provide aid and technical assistance toward the completion of Point Salines International Airport. Canada also assisted in the installation of a digital direct-dial telephone system.

Beyond the Commonwealth, the Blaize government acknowledged foreign aid donations from the governments of France, Venezuela, and the Republic of Korea (South Korea). In addition to providing increased economic aid, Venezuela also upgraded its diplomatic representation in Grenada from the chargé d'affaires to the ambassadorial level in 1985. Other sources of economic aid included the European Economic Community, with which Grenada is associated through the Lomé Convention, and, to a more limited extent, the Organization of American States.

The post-1983 governments of Grenada also took steps to downgrade their country's relations with communist countries. Relations with the Soviet Union were broken by Governor General Scoon in November 1983. Ties with North Korea were severed in January 1985. Although the Grenadians stopped short of breaking relations with Cuba, these relations were downgraded and Cuban presence on the island withdrawn. The retention of downgraded relations may be attributable in part to a claim by the Cuban government, still pending in 1987, for the return of construction equipment from the Point Salines International Airport project.

The government established relations with China in October 1985. Relations with the government of Libya were broken in November 1983, in retaliation for the Libyans' strong political support for the PRG.

Data as of November 1987




Last Updated: November 1987


Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Grenada was first published in 1987. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on Factba.se.

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