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 155. - THE RIOT ON JANUARY 21, 1974 [PART 7] - The evidence of Rosanna Baby Neckles

155. Rosanna Neckles is employed in an hotel and is a member of the Commercial and Industrial Workers Union.

On Sunday, January 20, 1974, she heard over Radio Grenada a release from Mount Royal to the effect that all disbanded police aides should report at Mount Royal at 10 a.m. on Monday, January 21, and that each man should bring three more interested persons.

Miss Neckles attended the demonstration on Monday, January 21. She arrived at Otway House shortly before 9 a.m. While there, she saw 5 or 6 Public Works Department trucks filled with men, some of whom she recognised as police aides.

According to her, she and others had gathered outside Otway House "for another demonstration against police brutality." The demonstrators marched peacefully and returned to Otway House about 11 a.m. and speeches were made by several persons including, finally, a young man called [Finbar] Johnson.

She heard Mr. Eric Pierre say "I understand the secret police is marching, coming towards our direction. Give them room to pass."

Soon after she saw the crowd of men, some of whom she recognised. Some had cutlasses, wood and axe handles. She estimated the crowd to be about 500 - 600 men. They were jumping and singing "Jewel get out the way, they go try us for murder today, today. Jewel behave yourself, they go try us for murder." They passed through the demonstrators. They were booed.

She continued "After passing the crowd, they reached as far as Pressey's Cold Store, a little way from Otway House - and there was a Holiday soft drink truck standing there with filled orange sweet drinks on it and the men started to take the drinks away from the truck and started pelting at the crowd in front of Otway House and also they were pelting stones at the crowd.

"Well some of the men in front of Otway House I saw them rushing all at the back of Otway House taking up empty bottles, taking up stones, pelting back at the crowd."

According to her, she saw no policemen at that time, but a few minutes afterwards she saw a police landrover filled with armed policemen. They reached as far as Pressey's Cold Store and they started firing bullets at the crowd in front of Otway House; later, they approached Otway House on foot.

She then went into a building known as Casa Nel, where she met many other frightened people lying on the floor and under desks; some were in the bathroom. Miss Neckles got near to a window through which by peeping she could see the road in front of Otway House.

Q. Now from that position could you see the front of Otway House?
A. Yes, Sir.
Q. And from there did you see anything or anyone in front of Otway House?
A. While peeping out of that window I saw policemen whom I know were shooting directly on Otway House. I will now mention their names. I saw one Kenny.
Q. That's police constable Kenny.
A. A police constable in uniform shooting at Otway House.
Q. What was he using?
A. A .303 rifle - it's a long one.
Q. I see. Anyone else?
A. I saw [Private].
Q. A police constable?
A. A police constable shooting directly on Otway House.
Q. What was he using?
A. The same . . . .
Q. Type of arm. A rifle.
A. Yes, sir. I also saw a policeman, I just know him by Darkie.
Q. Darkie?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Were all these three policemen in uniform?
A. Yes, sir. They were all in uniform.
Q. What was Darkie using?
A. The same.
Q. Long rifle?
A. Yes, Sir.
Q. Did you see anyone else?
A. I did see again Pram in action shooting at Otway House with a small revolver - the same one I saw he had, shooting directly at Otway House.
Q. Yes, Anyone else?
A. I also saw one Thornhill, a very strapped men, not in uniform, in plain clothes, known to be a secret police shooting at Otway House.
Q. What was he using?
A. He was using a short . . .
Q. A revolver?
A. Yes, Sir.
Q. Now you called all these gentlemen's names. Let's start with [Private, you know him as a policeman and only by the name of [Private].
A. Yes. Because he lives not very far to where I lived in his youthful days before he was a policeman.
Q. I see. What about Kenny? Do you know him at all before that time?
A. I know Kenny because sometime before being employed at the hotel he worked with me in a 7-up factory as a truckman.
Q. I see. And what's about Darkie, do you know him well?
A. I just know Darkie as a policeman.
Q. Well Pram, there is no need to ask you, Grenada knows him. What's about Thornhill, do you know him well?
A. I know Thornhill, just like that.
Q. I see. Now these men, you said, were shooting at Otway House.
A. Yes, Sir.
Q. Did you see any of them actually entering Otway House?
A. Whilst they were shooting suddenly I saw [Private] rush to the direction Otway House building.
Q. Yes.
A. The men outside I did not see them firing shots again at Otway House. I did not see [Private] again but I heard the sound of bullets coming from Otway House.
Q. Oh, you mean inside Otway House.
A. I heard it from inside Otway House - you could hear the sound.
Q. I see. And did you see anything else from that position?
A. I could not see anything else from that position, but I could smell teargas.
Q. Yes.
A. The smell came over. There were children also fainting.
Q. That's in the building you were.

Miss Neckles remained by the window as she was "interested to see what was taking place outside." She smelt tear gas and heard bullets; she saw policemen lifting school children, mostly girls in uniform, in an unconscious condition, from Otway House toward the direction of the Cable and Wireless building.

She also saw Mr. Alister Hughes coming out of Otway House in a staggering manner and he was assisted by Asst. Supt. Adonis Francis, who was not in uniform and was wearing a blue shirt. She saw Asst. Supt. Francis stop a man who was about to attack Alister Hughes.

She saw Ann Bishop come from Otway House frothing at the mouth and assisted by two policemen in uniform quickly followed by her mother and she saw policemen putting Mr. Rupert Bishop into a landrover in front of Otway House.

She saw the police aides breaking into Pressey's Cold Store and removing things from the building. According to her, the action "cooled down outside Otway House - at that time the action was going on now by Pressey's Cold Store."

Miss Neckles left the scene with her son and another school boy in uniform.

On Wednesday, January 23, 1974, she again went into St. George's where looting was rampant. People were removing fridges, stoves and large items. When she reached Everybody's Store, she saw a Public Works Department truck No. 1769 into which was being loaded furniture from Everybody [sic] Store which was badly smashed up and crowded with people. When it was heavy laden, the truck was driven away. According to her she saw policemen occupied in removing things from the store. There were uniformed policemen about on the streets but nothing was being done to preserve law and order.

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