Eric Gairy

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Sir Eric Matthew Gairy (February 18, 1920 - August 23, 1997) was a Grenadian politician. He was born in St. Andrew's Parish, near Grenville, Grenada. He founded the Grenada United Labour Party in 1950, which began as a labor union but later took part in elections, and served as Chief Minister from 1954 to 1960 and from 1961 until 1962 when he was dismissed for corruption. He became the first Prime Minister of Grenada from 1967. He led his country to independence from Britain in 1974. His rule became increasingly paranoid, with crackdowns on organized labor and the media, human rights abuses, favoritism towards his supporters and harassment of opponents by a group of his supporters called the "Mongoose Gangs", and on March 13,1979 he was overthrown by Opposition Leader Maurice Bishop of the New Jewel Movement. Gairy was busy in New York City speaking to the United Nations about UFOs at the time of the coup. Gairy stayed in exile in the United States until 1983, when the United States, backed by some Caribbean allies, invaded to topple a government which had overthrown and killed Bishop. Gairy then returned to Grenada and campaigned in the elections of 1984, claiming to be a changed man. However, his party lost the elections, and attempts by Gairy and his party to return to power in 1990 and 1995 were also unsuccessful. He died in Grand Anse, Grenada.

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