St. George’s, November 23, 2012 – A prominent African-American leader, who is visiting Grenada, has called for deeper political unity among countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
Louis Farrakhan, who heads the Nation of Islam (NOI), made the appeal in an interview ahead of a public lecture Saturday evening at the Grenada Trade Centre in St. George’s.
“Grenada cannot exist independent of other Caribbean islands. So, the future of the West Indies must just not just stop with CARICOM, but there must be a political union of the whole of the Caribbean,’’ said Farrakhan who was born in the United States to Caribbean parents.
His father was Jamaican and his mother from St. Kitts.
Grenada is the first stop of a Caribbean tour for Farrakhan, who described the NOI as “a group of men, women and children who have dedicated our lives to the principle of obedience to the will of God’’.
He expressed love for the Caribbean which, he said, “nurtured’’ him.
The NOI leader also paid special tribute to assassinated former Grenada Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and to Malcolm X.
Born in Nebraska to Grenadian Louis Norton Little, Malcolm X was a well-known human rights activist and former NOI member who was killed in 1965. Like Bishop, Malcolm X was 39 at his death.
“Grenada gave us Malcolm; Grenada gave us Mr Bishop,’’ Farrakhan said.
“All of us in America who are nationalistic in our thinking, we loved Bishop. We saw him as a very progressive mind.’’
Farrakhan, 79, said there is a need for all countries – including the U.S. and Grenada – to end the practice of partisan party politics, which is hampering national development.
“We need to think more of Grenada and the Caribbean rather than our party,’’ he said. “Our party is important; but our party is not more important than the nation that these parties are to serve.’’
Farrakhan welcomed the November 6 reelection in the U.S. of Barack Obama, the first black president of the United States.
He said, however, that even with Obama’s presidency, work remains to eradicating racism and other social ills plaguing African-Americans.
“Black people in America,’’ according to Farrakhan, “are still the highest in unemployment; the highest in incarceration rates; the highest in murder and violence; and the highest in sickness and disease.’’
African-Americans, Farrakhan argued, “have a lot of work to do. But, it should not be on the shoulders of President Obama to do it. He can create the atmosphere but the work has to be done by us. His reelection has manifested the deep-seated racism that still exists in America, in spite of the fact that we have a black president.’’
Farrakhan, who was christened Louis Eugene Wolcott in 1933, is a skilled violinist and former calypso recording artiste who sang under the sobriquets, “The Charmer’’ and “Calypso Gene’’.
He converted to Islam in 1955.