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

Paragraphs 177 thru 178. - THE RIOT ON JANUARY 21, 1974 [PART 20] - The evidence David Isaac (and affidavit) [Part B]

177. David Isaac was among the 300 or so men who left Mount Royal for George's on the Esplanade. The men sang the song on the way down passing by Otway House. Isaac joined in the singing. He said nothing happened when they came down. He was in the front. When they reached Pressey Cold Store he heard some noise in the back and when he looked he saw some people fighting.

Q. You were singing too. This crowd you saw assembled outside Otway House, can you describe how they were?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Yes. Well, describe it for the Commissioners. Can you describe how this crowd was, the one gathered outside Otway House. I don't mean the people you were with coming down.
A. The crowd was in front Otway House and the back was free.
Q. Yes.
A. So we passed at the back
Q. Yes, What were the people doing? The people outside Otway House.
A. They were talking.
Q. Standing up?
A. They were having a meeting.
Q. And as you came down they let you pass, they let your crowd pass.
A. Yes, sir.
Q. And what happened?
A. When the crowd passed I hear some boys in the back start bawling and getting on. When I looked in the back I saw a crowd of people fighting.
Q. Yes. What part of your group were you, at the front or at the back?
A. At the front.
Q. You were at the front.
A. Yes.
Q. Did you look around when you heard this bawling and so on?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. What did you see happening then?
A. I saw people jumping and pelting stones and pelting bottles and all kind of things like that.
Q. Well, how did it start? Did you see how it started?
A. No, sir.

178. David Isaac was asked a number of questions, the answers to which appeared in the affidavit to which he had sworn. His answers contradicted the statements in the affidavit and he was therefore cross-examined about the circumstances under which he swore the affidavit.

Q. You gave a statement, Mr. Isaac, you swore to an affidavit before a Justice of the Peace. Did you not?
A. I didn't hear what you said.
Q. Did you not swear an affidavit as to these matters I have been asking you about?
A. No, sir.
CHAIRMAN: Just a second. Would you just pass this affidavit to him for me? Would you just look at this signature there for me? Is that your signature?

In answer to the Chairman David Isaac said that he had been mistaken as to the day of the occurrence. He said that the march and the singing of the song occurred on a Monday. He said that Mr. Bullen took him to Mr. Gittens on April 29, 1974 (i.e. the preceding week). He was shown a statement which he had made to Mr. Radix and he admitted that "all those things that are in the statement" were told by him to Mr. Radix who wrote them down.

CHAIRMAN: And then when you went to Mr. Gittens, the Justice, did he read it over to you?
A. No, sir.
CHAIRMAN: Well why did you sign it?
A. I was forced.
CHAIRMAN: who forced you?.
A. Mr. Bullen.
Q. How did he force you? Tell us.
A. Well, I, I was in St. Paul's Steel Orchestra.
Q. The . . . ?
A. St. Paul's Steel Orchestra.
Q. Yes?
A. Then I leave and I went and join Secret Police.
Q. You did what? You left and went where?
A. And join the Secret Police.
Q. Yes.
A. Then he tell me for ah come back in the band, ah ha to make a statement about what go on, and if ah can't make the statement, therefore ah can't come back in the band.
Q. Yes, go on. Speak a little louder though.
A. Happen so, ah was home on Monday.
Q. Yes?
A. He send two fellers and meet me. They say he want to see me. Then ah went down to his office.
Q. Where is his office? In St. George's.
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Yes?.
A. Then he tell me I must go and say what happen if he want to take - for him to take me back in the band.
Q. He will do what? Take you what?
A. For he to take me back in the band.
Q. Yes. In the band.
A. Yes, He tell me ah mus' go.
Q. So what happened then?
A. Then I went to his office. He ring at Mr. Radix and see if he dey, and he didn't dey; after he took me back home and then he tell me come back in town tomorrow morning. Ah leave and go in town the Tuesday. When ah reach in town the Tuesday he take me to Mr. Radix and then he bring me in a room and then they start questioning me and telling me that ah mus' . . .
Q. Yes. Go on, tell us; we're listening carefully.
A. They tell me that ah mus' sign to this and ah mus' tell them the truth. Then after when ah finish tell them we leave and we went back to Mr. Bullen office. Then we went back home.
Q. Yes?
A. Then we leave and go back home.

The Chairman requested David Isaac to read the affidavit. He said "I can't read." The Chairman insisted and Isaac took the document and read separately each paragraph of the affidavit. He claimed that some of the statements were true and others untrue. The portions of the affidavit which David Isaac said were true read as follows:

I DAVID ISAAC of Mardigras in the parish of Saint George make oath and say as follows:

  1. On or about the 18th day of January, 1974 there was an announcement on Radio Grenada that all Special Reserve Police were to report at Mount Royal by 8 a.m. on the 21st day of January, 1974 and each Special Reserve Police should bring along three persons who were interested in becoming Special Reserve Police.

  2. That about 10 a.m. on the said 21st day of January, 1974 I went to Mount Royal in the company of two persons who were already Special Reserve Police.

  3. There were some 300 persons there when I arrived and after waiting for about 30 minutes the then Premier E.M. Gairy came out of the house. The men applauded.

  4. He then said the following "you men are to report to the Police Station nearest your homes, I am employing everybody. I want you to go to town now and you will have lunch on the Esplanade."

  5. (Wholly untrue)

  6. A fellow said to the Premier "last night some Jewels stoned my house" and the Premier replied I heard so. Mr. Gairy continued "there is a fellow called 'Jumbie Bird' in Saint Paul's who I hear looking for me.

  7. The men there started singing "Jewel behave yourself otherwise they will try us for murder" and someone asked Mr. Gairy if we could go to town singing the song. He replied "Yes."

  8. (Wholly untrue)

  9. On leaving Mount Royal we travelled down Lucas Street singing the said song along Tyrrel Street and then to the Carenage. Many man women and children were standing in front of Otway House. I heard a voice coming over a public address system.

  10. (Wholly untrue)

  11. (Wholly untrue)

  12. A soft drink truck then arrived on the scene. There was also the sound of guns.

  13. The Police and Secret Police advanced on Otway House and I noticed men women and children jumping out of the window of the said building.
  14. We jumped up to the Fire Station.

  15. I became tired and went home.

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