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 156. - THE RIOT ON JANUARY 21, 1974 [PART 8] - The evidence of Cosmos Raymond

156. Inspector Cosmos Raymond was called as a witness by counsel representing the Government of Grenada. He was substantively a sergeant acting in the rank of Inspector.

He said that at about 12:20 p.m. on January 21, 1974, he was on duty at the C.I.D. He heard gun shots coming from the direction of the Carenage. He spoke to Asst. Supt. Francis. They both went downstairs to the Central Police station where they met Inspector Christopher and police constables. They proceeded by landrover to the Carenage.

On arrival by the Cold Store he saw a sweet drink truck in he road and a number of men taking sweet drinks from the truck and throwing them in the direction of Otway's Funeral Agency, Mount Alexander's and Development office and Otway House. He noticed bottles and gas bombs coming from the direction of Otway's Funeral Agency and Otway House.

He saw a number of men beating Cpl. Date from the C.I.D. office. Raymond was able to rescue Date and sent him away in a police landrover. The exchange of bottles continued from both directions.

He then noticed something like smoke coming from Otway House and he saw people attempting to jump through windows. He went into Otway House where he saw Rupert Bishop lying at the top of the stairs and his wife and daughter with him. Mrs. Bishop said "Officer help me." Raymond ran downstairs "summoned two police officers and asked them to convey Mr. Bishop along in the transport to the hospital. They then put Mr. Bishop in the transport and went away with him." He returned upstairs in Otway House and spoke to "a quantity of children and people." Cosmos Raymond continued his evidence by saying:-

I asked them to follow me and I will take them downstairs, meaning to the street and away. Some of them started coming. On coming to the door a few men from outside started throwing bottles in our direction. I went outside and I said 'Gentlemen behave yourselves. If you throw bottles and strike those people I am going to destroy you.' They said 'They look for fight and they 'fraid fight.' I returned to the room and I again asked the people to follow me which they did. They came out and went away unmolested. I remained there for some time and went away.

Inspector Raymond agreed that on January 21 the policemen who accompanied himself, Francis and Christopher were constables Charles, Elms, Andrews, [Private], Penny and another Charles also known as Darkie. Darkie had a .38 revolver and [Private] had a .303 rifle. Elms had a teargas bag and Andrews had a rifle.

Q. Well, Inspector, one thing is troubling my colleagues and it is troubling me as much as it is troubling them, I am sure, is that we have had several senior police officers come and one gets the impression of inertia. Do you understand what I mean. This failure to take action. You know, you didn't take action. Inspector Francis didn't take action and some other officer, I think, who didn't take action; and what I would like you to be frank about is why in a situation of this kind you would have elected not to take action or recommend action?
A. I would say recommend action, sir, but the day in question the immediate action like arresting and so on . . .
Q. No, but you explained that the situation would have become more out of hand if you had. I am not talking about that. When you submitted your report in which you say you expressed the opinion that the S.R.P.'s were likely to have inflicted serious injury upon people coming out of a building as a result of tear-smoke, you did not recommend any action be taken with respect to the S.R.P.'s.
A. No Sir.
Q. Well, what I am asking you is . . . This is the first time such a thing happened in our police career, first time?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. What was it that restrained you from making a recommendation?
A. I would have to blame myself, sir.
Q. You would have to blame yourself?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Well, I think that is a gallant thing to do, but it still doesn't answer the question. You haven't told me why you made yourself . . . yes, I am at fault . . .
A. Well, I felt we were all there, sir. He saw what happened like myself.
Q. Who?
A. Mr. Francis, sir
Q. Yes.
A. And I didn't recommend any action against anybody.
Q. Because you thought he saw what happened?
A. Not really, sir. But I just did not, sir.
Q. Yes. We know you didn't and one accepts that you are being as courageous as you can be. You said well, I accept the blame. Very few people do that so I think you should be commended for doing that but it still doesn't answer the question why you choose not to.
A. Well, as I said, sir, I just did not, sir. There are occasions when you just don't do something and then you have to accept the blame.

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