ST. GEORGE'S, Grenada -- Prime Minister Herbert Blaize says Grenadian forces will take over security on the tiny Caribbean island following the withdrawal of all foreign forces, an operation that begins in April.
Blaize's announcement Thursday on the 11th anniversary of Grenada's independence from Britain coincided with an announcement by the Reagan administration on the pullout of all American and Caribbean troops.
The State Department said the withdrawal of the 250 U.S. troops and more than 400 troops in the Caribbean Peace Force, stationed in Grenada since the U.S. invasion of the island Oct. 25, 1983, will begin in April.
President Reagan called the invasion, which followed the ouster and killing of leftist Prime Minister Maurice Bishop by radical Marxists, a rescue mission to evacuate a group of American medical students from the island.
Forces from Jamaica, Dominica, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Vincent and Barbados joined in the operation.
Blaize told crowds gathered in St. George's for Independence Day celebrations that by the time the foreign forces are withdrawn, the Grenada police force would be fully trained and equipped to look after the island's security.
But there appeared to a discrepancy in the troops' departure date announced by Blaize and by the United States.While the State Department said the last troops would leave by Sept. 30, Blaize said they would remain longer.
'They are going to move off gradually in a phased kind of withdrawal but they will be here with us for a long time still, much more than the next eight months to come,' Blaize said.
Neither Blaize nor the State Department commented on the contradiction.
Blaize, the newly elected prime minister of the island of 111,000, also announced that Grenada would join a regional defense pact.
He said Grenada would be signing a Caribbean defense treaty known as the Regional Security System, which consists of Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, the Grenadines, St. Kitts-Nevis, Dominica and Antigua-Barbuda.
The Grenada police force, which receives assistance and training from the United States, Britain and Canada, would have an 80- to 90-man Special Services Unit ready by mid-month that would form part of the pact, he said.
The regional defense pact, signed in Dominica in 1982, provides for cooperation in a wide range of areas, including the protection of members against threats and the defense of democracy.