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

Paragraphs 106 thru 107. - An Examination in Detail [Part 15] - The Evidence of Innocent Belmar and David Andrews - Taking Over the State - Consideration of the evidence of Belmar & Andrews

106. Asst. Supt. Belmar said there were about 150 police aides on duty in Grenville on the afternoon of Sunday, November 18, 1973. Inspector Andrews thought there were 150 persons on the street including policemen and police aides. He said the first batch of 40 men came about 6 o'clock on the Sunday morning. About midday another 20 men came on duty in combination with the 40. He gave as the reason for deploying such a large number of men the information that the New Jewel Movement will be taking over the State on that day. Mr. Noel who was then cross-examining thought Andrews had made a mistake -

A. Because we had information that the New Jewel Movement will be taking over the State.
Q. You had information that the New Jewel Movement will be taking over the station on that day?
A. I did not say the station, sir.
Q. What did you say?
A. The State.
Q. The State?
A. Yes, sir.

Andrews said he had that information before November 18 and so he was making preparations at Grenville to prevent the take over of the State. He said he first learned about 11 - 12 on that day that Jewel members would attend a meeting in Grenville. He heard this on the street

He says about 3:00 p.m. (15:00) Belmar telephoned the station and told him he was being chased by 2 cars with members of the New Jewel Movement and he is now taking cover at Grand Etang; that he w\should await his arrival.

His evidence about the searches of the cars and the arrests closely coincides with Belmar's, including the assertion that he and Belmar returned to the Grenville police station around 7 p.m. (19:00) In fact, the station diary records that they returned to the station at 5:10 p.m. (17:10).

He admitted that the Solicitor General went to the police station and spent about an hour preparing the charges. Andrews said he saw Dr. Gibbs and the priest in the station; and saw Dr. Charles on the street. He did not see any other civilians at the station that night.

It was not until the following morning that he observed that three of the six men were injured and all of them had their hair trimmed. It was only then that he understood that they were beaten by policemen and police aides. He said he asked the policemen at the station if they knew who beat the men; they said no and he was satisfied by that answer.

The 60 police aides remained on duty all night in an angry mood beating the doors of the cell because "a rifle and ammunition were found on them" and they remained hostile and angry because the New Jewel Movement wanted "to take over the State." The police aides were demanding that the prisoners be put out.

Andrews was adamant; he clung tenaciously to his understanding that the rumour was that the New Jewel Movement would take over the State of Grenada on November 18. He understood on the Thursday or Friday before Sunday, November 18 that the State was to be taken over but not from any official source.

On that Sunday, he learned that members of the New Jewel Movement were to attend the meeting of businessmen in Grenville and, having regard to the telephone call he had from Belmar, he expected that "they may have firearms or something like that," because Belmar told him the men were chasing him. Consequently, when he saw the six men arrive in Grenville, he suspected them to be in possession of firearms.

It might be recalled that Simon Daniel said that Andrews had searched him for firearms after being asked by Andrews whether he possessed any. Andrews agreed that when Austin, Radix and Daniel were coming down from Bhola's house, Belmar asked Austin for the keys of his car in the presence of H.M. Bhola.

107. The evidence disclosed two differing versions of the circumstances under which the Six men were taken into police custody.

One the one hand, the evidence points to high-handed and brutal conduct on the part of police and police aides, whatsoever may have been their fears or motivation; and on the other, to a suspicion of possession of firearms and ammunition which led to a search of their two motor cars in which were concealed a .303 rifle and .303 ammunition and 15 revolver bullets of another calibre.

The evidence of Asst. Supt. Belmar is therefore vitally important on this issue and it is accordingly necessary to examine the nature of the man, his temperament, his ambitions, his sense of humanity, and the standards of his veracity as disclosed by him in the course of a lengthy cross-examination.

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