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Eric Gairy
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World Leader
    (February 18, 1922-August 23, 1997)
    Born in Dunfermline, Grenada
    School teacher and trade union leader
    Founded the Grenada United Labour Party (1951)
    Served as Chief Minister and Finance Minister of Grenada (1957-62)
    Premier of Grenada (1967-74)
    First Prime Minister of an independent Grenada (1974-79)
    Knighted (1977)
    He was dismissed as Chief Minister and Finance Minister over corruption charges.
    He was a judge at the 1970 Miss World pageant and was accused of rigging the contest to ensure a win for Miss Grenada, Jennifer Hosten.
    He became increasingly authoritarian as Prime Minister.
    He was widely suspected of rigging his re-election (1976).
    He created a paramilitary band of thugs, known as the Mongoose Gang, to suppress opposition, producing 'a veritable reign of terror,' according to the US State Department.
    He sought military assistance from the Pinochet regime.
    He dismissed reports of human rights abuses as 'a Communist propaganda campaign.'
    He declared, 'He who opposes me, opposes God.'
    He claimed to have seen a UFO.
    He returned to Grenada after the US-led invasion (1983) and ran unsuccessfully for the office of Prime Minister three times (1984,1990,1995).
    He became a hero to working-class Grenadians after organizing an island-wide general strike (1951).
    He was an impeccable dresser.
    The political opposition used his interest in UFOs to mock him.
    While he was at the United Nations trying to convince the UN to investigate UFOs, he was overthrown in a coup led by Maurice Bishop (March 9, 1979), and spent four years in exile in the US.
    He went blind a few years before his death.
    He was given a state funeral.

Credit: C. Fishel

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