1984. Formerly Grenada's ambassador to the Organization of American States representing the Maurice Bishop government, Dessima Williams was arrested by INS agents in Washington while Ronald Reagan was in the White House celebrating the first anniversary of his invasion of the tiny island.
I had just made the keynote address at a conference on Peace in the Caribbean at Howard University. As I left, about six men suddenly approached me. They indicated I was under arrest and that I should get into the car. I had already been pushed against the open door. I was standing there, baffled: "Why have I been arrested and what is this all about?" The men--they were armed-- tried to keep people away from me. Then one fellow grabbed me by the neck from behind and the other one pushed his hand in my pelvic area and the other hand on my head, and they crumpled me into the car. All I knew was that there were these aggressive, hostile white males speeding off with me in a civilian car. We eventually arrived at a jail, and a woman matron began to search me. She found some little buttons that said, "Maurice Bishop's Spirit Lives." She said, "They're weapons. They have sharp points." I had a lot of foreign currency from years of travelling. "These are very important documents." I was put in a tiny cell and released on bail in the morning. The charge was that I was living here illegally. In fact, I'd been going back and forth from Grenada for eleven or twelve years.