Report of the Duffus Commission of Inquiry into the Breakdown of Law & Order, and Police Brutality in Grenada

Part III

The Royal Grenada Police Force and the Recruitment and Function of Police Aides

Paragraph 63. - The Setting-up of the Police Aides - Their Recruitment, Qualifications etc. - Evidence of Cosmos Nurse

63. Cosmos Nurse, a farmer of Birchgrove, was called by the Commission as a consequence of his name being submitted as a witness concerning information allegedly given to Asst. Supt. Belmar on the morning of November 18, 1973. After he spoke about his communications with Belmar and while being cross-examined he disclosed that he was a police aide. The disclosure occurred this way:

Q. Have you ever heard Mr. Nurse about the Special Reserve Police?
A. Yes.
Q. You have heard of them.
A. Yes
Q. Are there any in Birchgrove where you live?
A. I was one.
Q. I was one, did you say?
A. Yes, sir.

Nurse was then asked about his recruitment and service and the narrative he gave spontaneously and without prompting is in many respects revealing. Some time in 1972 he "heard over the air that they wanted some 'secret police' ... and I went to Mount Royal and I got a pick."

He described the circumstances. At Mount Royal there were about 200 men all in civilian clothing, but he does not remember seeing any policemen there. The Premier, Hon.E.M. Gairy, spoke to the men. Nurse asserted that the Premier said he wanted some police aides, ("the people call them secret police") to assist the policemen in doing their work and that any one who joined as a police aide to assist the government must take orders from the policemen.

Nurse said that the Premier told them they would work by shift and their payment would be $4.00 a night from 6 to 12 or 12 to 6. There was to be no day shift and they would work only at night. The Premier sent them to the police stations in their districts to be under the control of the corporal or sergeant or inspector as the case may be. Nurse said he and the other men spent an hour at the residence of the Premier at Mount Royal.

Nobody took any names but the corporal or sergeant at the district station recorded their names.

On the evening of the day he visited Mount Royal, Nurse reported to Corporal Augustine at the Birchgrove Police Station and was immediately detailed for duty on the 6 to 12 shift. Nurse said also that the Premier had "made it clear to us that anytime we have to go on duty, he made it clear that a policeman in uniform had to travel with us."

On the first night six of them went on duty with an armed policeman. That evening on his return from Mount Royal, "I went and told Mr. Belmar that the Premier picked some police aides and I went down and I got pick."

Nurse ceased to be a police aide in February, 1974 and his evidence about a visit to Mount Royal on January 21, 1974 will be considered later in this report.

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