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George Brizan (1942–2012)

Author of Grenada: Island of Conflict

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George Brizan CMG, CBE, a former prime minister who was a founder of Grenada's ruling party, died in his Caribbean homeland at a hospital in the capital of St. George's, Grenada aged 69, after a long battle with diabetes.

George Ignatius Brizan was born in Saint David's, Grenada on 31st October 1942.

Brizan became prime minister in February 1995 following the resignation of Prime Minister Nicholas Braithwaite. But his National Democratic Congress party was swept out of power four months later.

The party, which was elected on a no-tax platform in 1990, had angered voters by bringing back personal income taxes and imposing tight economic measures to offset huge foreign debts, cuts in U.S. aid and reduced agriculture income.

In 1999 elections, Brizan's party lost all of its parliamentary seats. Brizan, who was opposition leader at the time, said dissent within the party had hurt its image.

Disappointed by the defeat and suffering health problems, Brizan announced his retirement from politics, saying doctors had warned him that the hectic work of politics meant risking deterioration of his diabetes.

Brizan helped found at least three parties during more than a quarter century in politics, including the National Democratic Congress, which returned to power in 2008.

He also was a member of the radical New Jewel Movement in the mid-1970s, and returned to that party as a government education administrator before the party's government was toppled in a coup by Marxist hard-liners that triggered a U.S. 1983 invasion.

Brizan also worked as a professor of history and economics, author, trade union leader and consultant.

He was survived by his wife Jean and four children - Kwamina, Damani, Halim, Sheereen and Matthew. He was brother to Alston, Raphel, Reginald, Nelson and Veronica (all now in the USA), Richard (now in Canada) and Denzil (in Grenada) and Anne (now in England).

He was buried in St. George's Top Cemetery after a funeral service held on 16th March, 2012 at the St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church, St George's, Grenada.
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