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

Part III

The Events of November 18, 1973

Paragraphs 88 thru 89. - An Examination in Detail [Part 2] - Special Branch - Matters to be determined by the Commission - Nine Questions

88. It is helpful at this stage to note the factors which were matters of concern to the Special Branch of the Police Force about that time. On November 12, 1973, in the monthly intelligence report of the Police Force the following extract is important as an indication of the information which was being relied upon by the Police in formulating plans to counter action which was reportedly a threat to the State.

"New Jewel Movement (NJM)

3. During the period under review the New Jewel Movement in an effort to ebb Government held fifteen meetings throughout the State. At these meetings they criticised the system of Government, the Independence plans, the Police and preached violent methods of overthrowing the present Government. They invited the public to attend their Peoples National Congress (PNC) which was scheduled for November 4, at Seamoon. It was disclosed that the purpose of the National Congress will be to decide ways and means of transferring political power from the hands of the present Government into the hands of the people headed by the New Jewel Movement and to elect members for their new "National Unity" Government prior to their predicted success of the movement overthrowing Government.

Bishop, Whiteman, Radix

6. Maurice BISHOP, Unison WHITEMAN Co-ordinating Secretaries of the N.J.M. and Bernard RADIX Fund-raising Secretary continued activities with the aim of overthrowing Government within the next two months. They continued holding secret meetings at the home of Maurice BISHOP. They moved the N.J.M. Office from Requin, St. David's to Lucas Street, St. George's.

7. BISHOP commented, the aim of the N.J.M. is to seize political power from the hands of the Government and place it in the hands of the people and this must be achieved "By Any Means Necessary."

MATTERS OF GENERAL INTEREST

Bomb Scare

8. On Friday, 12th October 1973 during a Parliamentary debate on Grenada's Independence Constitution an unidentified person telephoned saying that four (4) bombs were placed in the Parliament building and were due to explode at 11.30 a.m. At the time of this telephone message the Hon. Premier who was addressed the House continued his address. The building was searched by police but nothing was found, and no explosion went off.

Conclusion

9. Stepped-up activities by the New Jewel Movement, the preaching of violence and threats to Government have clearly indicated subversion within the movement.

10. The Police with an aim to curb subversive acts have organised numerous searches and other counter measures to combat activities.

11. The N.J.M. have realised lately that the Police play a paramount role in the State's security and irrespective of their efforts to show the public that the Police was brutal in recent months, they are now appealing to citizens of the State to talk to the Police in order to win their support to aid them towards their endeavours.

Assessment

12. The current increased activities of N.J.M., the daily campaigning, and threats to take over Government pose a direct threat to the security of the State."

89. The foregoing extracts provide a background of the climate of thought pervading the Police Force in the early part of November, 1973. It also indicates the nature of the information being conveyed from the police department to the Minister responsible for National Security. The officer in charge of the Grenville police station was Asst. Supt. Belmar.

As will be seen later, the considerations which, according to him, prompted the action he took in relation to the Six men concerned firstly his personal safety and secondly his understanding that the Grenville police station was to become the object of an attack on November 18, 1973, with the intention, by supposedly armed insurgents, of seizing the police station in pursuit of police suspected policy by the New Jewel Movement of taking over Government on November 18. It will be necessary to examine all the relevant evidence to determine whether:-

  1. the Six members of the New Jewel Movement visited Grenville only for the purpose of attending the meeting of businessmen;

  2. the meeting was called for the purpose of discussing the participation by the business community in the general strike to become effective from November 19 proposed by the New Jewel Movement in its publication on November 9, 1973;

  3. there was any intention by the Six members of the New Jewel Movement to seize control of the Grenville police station by armed attack;

  4. there were reasonable grounds for apprehending the possibility of such an attack;

  5. there were reasonable grounds for Asst. Supt. Belmar to apprehend a dangerous attack on his person or on the Grenville police station by the Six men;

  6. there is credible evidence to support the allegation that a rifle and ammunition were found in the possession of the Six men;

  7. the action taken by the police was justifiable;

  8. the action taken by the police was, in any event, excessive;

  9. the action taken by members of the police force and police officers was bona fide; and cumulatively was genuinely designed as a counter measure taken by the Government to meet an alleged or suspected threat to the security of the State by the New Jewel Movement or any of its members.

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