Gairy and the New Jewel Movement
The primary focus of this WEB site concerns the Grenada Revolution. Nevertheless, the NJM takeover in 1979 evolved from many of the actions of the government of former Prime Minister Eric Mathew Gairy, especially occurrences where members of the NJM were brutalized. There was an intensifying struggle between the forces of Gairy and the forces of the New Jewel Movement. It seemed to be as if the activities of one group fueled the activities of the other, and vice versa.
Prevailing circumstances and personalities form a context of how and why events occur.
As the Duffus Report states, the matter between Gairy forces and the New Jewel Movement, may be agreed according to the following terms:
"Instead of tolerance, resort was had to terror and this, by early 1974, became reciprocal."
Marks of escalating conflict on the part of Gairy forces included the psychological elements of insults, shouts, threats, blame, name-calling, accusation, searches, humiliation, intimidation and dire prediction. On the physical side, NJM affiliated people were kicked, slapped, beaten by hand, beaten by object, choked, slammed up against the wall, grabbed, had objects thrown at them, pushed and shoved, had twisted arms, ears and hair, and had their hair cut in irregular fashion and in an irregular manner for Austin [with a piece of broken bottle]. Some were killed.
Marks of escalating conflict on the part of NJM affiliated people included the psychological elements of insults, shouts, threats, blame, name-calling, deadlines and ultimatums, spiteful acts, public humiliation, widespread publicity and insistent demands. There were the ever-constant rumours, and petty larceny, fire-bombing, smuggling and clandestine activities.
The Duffus Report quotes statistics which show that the Grenada Volunteer Constabulary was disbanded in 1970 when the law enforcement auxiliary became known as Police Aides or Special Reserve Police. Gairy was Minister of National Security when recruitment for Police Aides began.
The Duffus Report states the following about the Police Aides between 1970-1973:
"Theirs is an unhappy chapter in the history of Grenada. They were an unlawfully constituted body of men, albeit paid from public funds, whose qualification for service in many cases, particularly among the leaders, was their known disposition for violence and lawlessness."
A few sentences later in the report:
"The responsibility for their [police aide] establishment, recruitment and control was peculiarly that of Mr. Gairy in his personal capacity and not as he stated, in his capacity as Minister for National Security for the reason that the Minister of National Security has no legal authority to establish law enforcement agencies outside the provisions of the law of the State."
Note that the establishment of JEWEL followed the General Elections of 1972, falls after the initiation of Gairy's Police Aides in May, 1970. The New Jewel Movement was founded March 1973.
The Duffus Report looks in depth into the nature of the police aides, and their commitment of acts of violence and brutality, especially on 18-19 November 1973 and 21 January 1974.
For a specific listing of people who were shot and beaten, check Human Rights Abuses