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

Part IV

Events Subsequent to November 18, 1973

Paragraph 132. - Introduction

132. The Commissioners were asked to enquire into incidents which had occurred after the 1st of January, 1973 and in the preceding pages we have related the facts regarding some thirteen incidents culminating in the events which occurred on November 18 and 19, 1973.

In addition to these incidents, there were other complaints regarding searches made by the police. The police were searching principally for arms and ammunition and to a lesser extent for illicit drugs.

Since 1970 the Government was very concerned about manifestation in Grenada of the Black Power movement which was blamed for civil disturbances of the serious nature in the neighbouring island of Trinidad. The New Jewel Movement was not in existence at this time.

The New Jewel Movement which was first known as the Jewel Movement - so called from the initial letters of its policy, viz. Joint Endeavours for Welfare, Education and Liberation came into being in 1972 and early in 1973 it merged with another group called the Master Assembly for the People [MAP - Movement of the Assemblies of the People] and the new organisation called itself The New Jewel Movement

In October 1973 it launched out as a political party. The members of the New Jewel Movement and their weekly paper "The New Jewel" were not only extremely critical of the Premier and his Ministers, but had called on the Government to resign in order that they could take over the Government. Some fifty .303 police rifles had been stolen from the Presentation College and there was reason to believe that arms and explosives were being smuggled into the Island.

The Government were of the view that the regular police force was inadequate to deal with the threat to the security of the State and the Premier [Eric Gairy], as Minister responsible for Security, decided to strengthen the police by employing a large number of able-bodied men as aides to the police. Those men were not sworn in as police constables and they were not legally clothed with the powers of the police. Initially, they were employed to work with the regular police and to take orders from the officers and sub-officers of the regular police force, that is, the Royal Grenada Police Force.

This may have been the original intention of the Premier when he first employed the police aides, but very soon the aides or secret police, as they came to be known, abused their position and not only usurped the powers of the police as has been shown but spread alarm and terror throughout the Island.

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