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 180. - The evidence of Hon. Eric Matthew Gairy [Part A]

180. In the station diary of the Central police station for Sunday, January 20, 1974, the following item appears -

Sunday, January 20, 1974

No.      Subject           Hour      Nature of Record
1947 Telephone
Call
20:20 From No. 1, to SPO i/c. Please inform all the disbanded police aides that they must attend a meeting at Mount Royal on Monday the 21st instant at 10 a.m. and each aide must bring along three (3) interested persons with them.
Sgd. Cpl. 176 Clyne
1955 Note Sgt. 188
Rose to check
22:50 From Cpl. 160 Date of the CID St. George through the Honourable Premier to SPO in charge Central Police Station men must be sent to duty at the following places - Honourable Mr. Knight home, Honourable Mr. Prodhomme [sic] house and Rock Garden and Progress House must be strengthened. Sgt. 188 Rose to note.
Sgd. Cpl. 176 Clyne.


The (ag.) Commissioner of Police, Mr. Osbert James, was asked about entry No. 1947 and about his attendance at Mount Royal on the morning of January 21, 1974.

Q. Now there is an entry there that refers to No. 1 to SPO. Do you remember that entry?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Now who is No. 1?
A. The Premier, sir.

With regard to the second matter under enquiry, Commissioner James said at first that he could not remember whether he attended a meeting with the Prime Minister on January 21, 1974.

Q. Why do you not remember?
A. I don't remember, sir, and I wouldn't like to say yes or no and to be wrong.
Q. You would prefer not to say yes or no to that question, is that it? You could be wrong if you say yes? And you could be wrong if you said no?
A. Yes, sir, so I prefer not to say either.

As the evidence of Mr. Gairy unfolded it became clear that he was solely responsible for the recall of the police aides on Sunday, January 20, 1974 and that (ag.) Commissioner James was present at the meeting at Mount Royal on Monday, January 21. His preference not to answer the question whether he was present seemingly stemmed not from a failure of memory, but rather from an unwillingness to disclose, as he must certainly have been asked to, the events which occurred at Mount Royal that morning.

As the senior police officer [Osbert James] in St. George's on the afternoon of January 21, 1974, he was responsible to the Minister of National Security [Eric Gairy] for the performance of the Police Force and it is in the light of those circumstances that (a) the evidence of Mr. Gairy falls to be examined and (b) an assessment be made of the action, or lack of it, which is attributable to the Police Force on January 21, 1974.

At all material times the then acting Commissioner Nugent David was out of St. George's attending the retiring Governor, Dame Hilda Bynoe, on the occasion of her departure from Grenada.

The question whether Mr. James was present at Mount Royal on the morning of January 21 may be disposed of at once. The evidence of Mr. Gairy on that point was as follows:

Q. On the 21st of January, at Mount Royal, were there also policemen in attendance at that meeting?
A. Yes.
Q. For example, the no acting Commissioner of Police, Osbert James?
A. I think he was there, yes.
Q. And the meeting was held with the police aides and the policemen, and yourself.
A. Police officers.
. . . . . .

Q. Yes, now do you clearly recall that the present acting Commissioner of Police was at Mount Royal that day? That's I think Mr. James.
A. Mr. James.
Q. Yes.
A. I would think so.
Q. And would he have assisted in the recruitment of these men?
A. I don't think so, well, he was there and assisting perhaps as I was there and assisting.
Q. Yes.
A. But the actual people were the Inspectors or the A.S.P.'s in various areas.

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