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 121. - An Examination in Detail [Part 25] - - RICHMOND HILL PRISON - The visit of Hon. E.M. Gairy [Part B]

121. Norris Stephen was not cross-examined by counsel representing the Government. He stated, however, in the course of his evidence that the prisoners had been assembled by the officers and that the Superintendent of Prisons, Benjamin Roberts was present as well as the Asst. Superintendent Campbell. The Commission therefore decided to summon Benjamin Roberts to give evidence the following day. Roberts who has been the Superintendent since 1969, said that he clearly recalled the afternoon period of November 18, 1973. He said, with great confidence that the premier did not visit the prison on that day. He said, "Not the 18th, sir. Completely out. Maybe about a week or there before the 18th Sir . . . He did not come on the 18th. I am positive of that." According to him he could not be definite about the date but said that whatsoever the date the Premier went to the prison to see about some land, and, upon Robert's invitation he addressed the prisoners - "about 70 or 80 between there because the entire men went out to work already, Sir."

Q. What did he say?
A. His main address to them, Sir, is because he stopped coming to the prison and I asked him in after supervising the land as I said, sir, and he addressed them telling them why they must be good citizens and how they must go back to the lands and plans he has for them such as going back to the land getting . . . . appointing different lands and . . . good discussion Sir . . . He asked them as he has lands which he acquired and he invited them to go to the land and stay to the land Sir and when they return they must be better citizens, Sir.

Roberts denied that the Premier asked the prisoners what they wanted for Christmas or that he invited them to be recruited as police aides but said that the Premier told them that "Mr. Roberts now is the Permanent Secretary for the Prisons so if you want to seek any employment or anything, you must see Mr. Roberts, that was his reply to them." Roberts called Norris Stephen a liar and said he lies "as fast as the wheel goes of a car." Roberts was a poor witness; so patently untruthful that the Commission requisitioned the Richmond Hill Prison Diary while he was testifying.

The diary was produced and the relevant entries were as follows:

Sunday, November 18, 1973

No.         Subject                                 Hour       Nature of Record
1529 The Premier
arrived
1440
(2:40)
The Premier Mr. E.M. Gairy arrived at the Prison to visit.
1530 The Premier
left
1530
(3:30)
The Premier Mr. E.M.Gairy left the Prison Compound after he visited.
1531 Supt &
ASP out
1545
(3:45)
The Supt. and the ASP pass out the gate lodge.

Monday, November 19, 1973

1629       A.S.P.
entered
admissions                          
1320
1325
(1:20)
(1:25)   
The ASP came in the Prison. Sgt. 171 Thompson arrived with authority and brought the following - Maurice Bishop, Unison Whiteman, Simon Daniel, Hudson Austin, K. Radix and S. Strachan. They all remanded until the 26th November, 1973.
1649 Inmate out
G. Hospital
1646
(4:46)
Officer R. Boca and three policemen left for the G. Hospital with prisoners S. Strachan, M. Bishop, and U. Whiteman.
1652 Note 1700
(5:00)
Officer Green arrives with two balls and one (1) bat from the Premier for inmates.

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