Grenada: Getting Back to Normal

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As Grenada begins to rebuild, support solidifies for the invasion

Two squads of U.S. paratroopers roared down onto the soccer field in their choppers, kicking up clouds of dust. The combat-equipped men hit the dry field running, then flopped prone into defensive positions, their rifles ready. Ahead of them, youths of the small seaside town of Gouyave, on Grenada's west coast, sat watching from a bridge railing. They broke into loud applause. So, too, did local women at the sides of the field. The American troops, who had been searching for armed Cuban or Grenadian holdouts in the little war that was over, had been given a bad tip. They stood up to return the waves of the villagers.

Three weeks after the Oct. 25 U.S. military invasion, life on the tiny island took on an Evelyn Waugh flavor. The week's only known military casualty was a paratrooper who hurt himself while body surfing. Marijuana sales resumed along Ganja Alley, a colorful corner of St. George's, and local businessmen had their first postinvasion Rotary Club luncheon. Even Gail Reed, the American-born wife of the Cuban ambassador, whose embassy had been ringed for days by U.S. troops, was able to joke before flying back to Havana: "I'm just sorry I left my Jane Fonda workout videotape at home."

Still, there was serious business to be done in Grenada. The last of the 634 Cuban prisoners were returned to their homeland. Tons of American construction supplies and equipment were flown to the island, where U.S. military engineers will supervise the rebuilding of roads, water systems and telephone and power facilities. Some $3.5 million in emergency U.S. funds had been allotted to the task, but the total seemed likely to fall far short of eventual needs.

Sir Paul Scoon, the once ceremonial representative of the British Queen in the Commonwealth nation, was running the island as Governor-General. With a British lawyer at his side, he announced the appointment of a nine-man "advisory council" that will help administer affairs in Grenada until a new government is elected, presumably under a democratic constitution. No one could say when that might be. The council, composed of non-political Grenadians with administrative skills, is to be headed by Meredith Alister McIntyre, 51, now deputy secretary-general of the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development in Geneva. Scoon gave high priority to forming "an efficient and effective police service free of politics." Police duties were being performed by troops from neighboring Caribbean nations, as well as by some 3,000 U.S. paratroopers still on the island.

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