Countryaah official website,
in 1969, the country gained the status of Free Associated
State headed by Chief Minister Milton Cato and Vincent Labor
Party (SVLP). However, defense and foreign policy were still
in the hands of the British crown. After a lengthy
negotiation process, the country finally gained independence
in October 1979.
The December 1979 elections further strengthened the
dominance of the SVLP. At the same time, the neo-colonial
Political People's Party, led by Ebenezer Joshua, was
largely eradicated. It only got 2.4% of the vote.
Three days after the election, the new government had to
turn down a popular uprising led by Lennox "Bumba" Charles
on Union Island. The rebellion was quickly crushed by troops
flown in from Barbados.
In the early 1980's, the government faced a serious
economic and social crisis, which provided the basis for the
development of the popular organizations. In May 1981, the
National Committee for the Defense of Democracy was formed,
supported by a number of opposition parties, trade unions
and other organizations. As the government tried to
implement a more repressive policy, it came to protest
demonstrations and general strikes.