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 163. - THE RIOT ON JANUARY 21, 1974 [PART 13] - The evidence of Fitzroy Bedeau

163. Cpl. 109 Fitzroy Bedeau was called as a witness by counsel who appeared on behalf of the Government. On January 21, 1974 he was attached to the C.I.D.

In company with Cpl. 160 Date he was detailed to perform observation duty on the Carenage by Asst. Supt. Francis.

At about 11:45 - 11:50 a.m. a young man named Finbar Johnson was addressing the demonstration. Some demonstrators shouted "Come and see men coming down the Carenage." He looked in the direction of Upper Lucas Street where he saw a number of men descending the street. They turned into Tyrrel Street and as they did so, Les De Souza took possession of the microphone and told the gathering "all the women and children get out of the way, all the men stick together. Don't run, don't run."

At that time there were about 300 men coming from the direction of the Telephone Company on to the Carenage. The demonstrators formed an entrance for the ongoing men to pass. Some of the men carried sticks and they were chanting a song "Jewel get out the way they go try us for murder" and this was done in Carnival style. As the majority of the men passed, the demonstrators who formed the entrance started to boo and "seeing that the majority has passed in he entrance made for them, the demonstrators converged on the remainder of the men."

According to Bedeau, a demonstrator named Ralph Thomson who had a cutlass in his hand spoke to one of the 300 men. He told him "Go to - from here" and held the cutlass in an upright position. Bedeau then continued "His opponent, seeing that he wanted to charge with his cutlass, took opportunity and made the first blow with a bit of wood. Thomson countered with his cutlass and they ensued a fight. The men who were at the front turned back on the demonstrators. And in so doing petrol bombs were being hurled from the Otway House direction." Bedeau said there was then an exchange of gun fire on both side "a number of petrified people along with myself got pinned on a boat about 35 ft long and there were more missiles and petrol bombs during that time."

The gunfire ceased and he later saw Cpl. Date in a landrover going to the hospital. Cpl. Bedeau said that prior to January 21 he never heard from any source that the disbanded police aides were asked to report to Mount Royal on that day and had not known about that when he was detailed for duty on the Carenage.

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