Report of the Duffus Commission of Inquiry into the Breakdown of Law & Order, and Police Brutality in Grenada

Part III

The Events of November 18, 1973

Paragraph 103. - An Examination in Detail [Part 12] - The Evidence of Ann Alexander

103. First, the evidence of the informant on November 11, 1973. Belmar had submitted the name of a woman, (Ann Alexander) to the Commission and arrangements to summon her were made. She requested to be allowed to give evidence in camera. Her application was granted. She conducts a restaurant, bar and boutique on Albert Street in Grenville. Mrs. Alexander is a Roman Catholic, a member of the Grenada United Labour Party, a member of the Lions Club, a member of the Union of Catholic Mothers, President of the Grenville Branch of the Women's League, Chairman of the Day Nursery Committee, Member of the Poor Relief Committee, Member of the Children's Programme. She is also a farmer. She said that sometime in the 1st or 2nd week of November 1973, 4 men came into her restaurant and requested something to eat and while there she overheard a conversation.

Q. Who were the 4 men?
A. I do not know them. They seemed to be strangers.
Q. Would you tell us what you heard?
A. I was preparing some eats for them so I had to go to and from the kitchen to the dining room and sometimes I would hear and at other times I could not have hears. I heard them mention about ammunition and searching to Mr. Royal. I overheard them saying something about the water front. At that time I got suspicious and I started to pay keen attention. They did not stay very long, they paid their bills and they stepped out. I think it was a Thursday afternoon. I cannot remember the date. I called Mr. Belmar and told him what I heard them saying. What got me suspicious was their deportment. One was wearing an Afro head, another was wearing dungarees. At that time there were rumours that they were going to overthrow the Government. They also had a meeting in the junction by Mr. Bhola's shop. The Jewel people had that meeting where they mentioned overtaking the Government and other things."

It will be observed that there is nothing in the information spoken of by Ann Alexander which refers to November 18, 1973, the take over of the Grenville police station, or about the New Jewel Movement; but evidently in a statement which she had given to the Commission the previous day she had mentioned the Grenville police station, consequently she was asked about this:

Q. In your statement you were more specific in what you heard and you mentioned that one of the men said "We are going to start in the Grenville police station."
A. Yes, Sir. One said Grenville should be the first.
Q. You were more specific in what you hears, another said - "No boy, we better start with Birchgrove."
A. One said "Birchgrove" and there was an argument.
Q. And you said that one said that "when we collect sufficient we can proceed to Mount Royal."
A. Yes.

Not even these reminders improved the memory of Ann Alexander. When finally she was asked to tell the Commission exactly what she told Belmar, she said -

"I told him I think he has to be watchful because of the conversation I hears. I told him I think the police has to be very careful and watchful. I think they should be very careful and cautious because of the conversation I heard. I told him four men came into my shop and I heard them in conversation saying things concerning the police station and ammunition. They mentioned marching to Mount Royal; they mentioned about the Birchgrove police station and things like that."

The attitude of this witness to behaviour which these days is fairly common place in the West Indies may be gleaned from the following -

Q. In your statement you were more specific in what you heard and you mentioned that one of the men said "We are going to start in the Grenville police station."
A. Yes, Sir. One said Grenville should be the first.
Q. You thought that the fellows were peculiar because they wore afro hair cuts?
A. Yes, Sir. They gave a sign saying "power, power."
Q. You find that men who say that are necessarily harmful?
A. They are commonly known as the members of the Jewel Movement.
Q. You say you recognised them as members of the Jewel Movement because of their attire?
A. I suspected them because of their conversation and their deportment.
Q. But they didn't say they were members of the Jewel Movement?
A. They did not.
Q. Did they speak of any members of the Jewel Movement?
A. No, I did not hear them say anything about the Jewel Movement or mention anybody's names.
Q. You find that men who say that are necessarily harmful?

Finally, the witness said that the four fellows

seemed to be just out of school . . . . They were young people. They seemed to be in their early teens or their late teens or so.

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