Sunday, August 21, 2022

“Roycroft” by Frank Banfield


From the time he started to walk, my brother Raymond Roycroft Banfield was a serious boy who wanted to be called by his full name. His request was ignored. Everybody called him Roy – his friends, his teachers, everybody. He eventually gave up correcting them. 

My brother derived a certain sense of superiority from his name and always strove to be first in his class. After all, wouldn’t anyone with a name like Raymond Roycroft excel? And excel he did. Roy finished first in every class and earned a scholarship to the London School of Economics.

After graduation he returned to Grenada where he was given a post in the government. He soon discovered that the prime minister was corrupt and was using government money for personal travel and expensive purchases.  Because the prime minister knew little about governance, Roy was able to control the economy and get things running smoothly for a while.

In 1979 three of Roy’s former high school classmates returned from Cuba and organized a Communist party on the Island. This group decided that they had to eliminate Roy. One night one of his friends came banging on the door. Roy jumped out of bed. The friend told him the prime minister had fled to New York and the communist party was taking over the government. My brother was shocked. The friend said members of the communist party planned to kill Roy and he had come to help him get off the island.

Maurice Bishop, Communist PM of Grenada (centre), with comrades
Selwyn Strachan (L) and Bernard Coard (R), who later joined in a coup against him

“Man, there’s one plane leaving Pearl’s Airport. You better come right now or you’re a dead man,” the friend said.

Roy had suspected for some time that things were getting dangerous and he might have to get off the island in a hurry. He grabbed his emergency bag, dashed out to his friend’s motorcycle, and hopped on behind him. 

They raced to the airport on the other side of the Island and arrived just as the airplane was about to taxi down the runway. Roy’s friend swung in front of the plane. Roy hopped off the bike. He ran up to the plane and showed his passport to the attendant. The man realized Roy was a government official, snapped to attention and saluted him. 

“Have a safe journey, sir,” he said, “and thanks for your service to our country.”

Roy went to New York where he connected with the authorities and filled them in on Grenada’s corrupt prime minister and the takeover by the Cuban communists. 

Soon after the Americans flew their troops onto the Island. The Cubans fled into the forest in the mountains never to be seen again.

Raymond Roycoft Banfield never returned to the island he loved so much.


Frank Banfield
 was born on the tiny island of Grenada forever ago. He likes to write about the trials and triumphs of family members. As one of fifteen children Frank is likely to be writing for some time.

See Brian Henry’s upcoming weekly writing classes, one-day workshops, and weekend retreats here.


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