The Grenada Revolution Online

Letter to Preventive Detention Tribunal Chairman

from Maurice D. Paterson




Dear Sir,

Since May 10th I have been wondering to whom best I could address a plea for enlightenment as to my present position.

The following are the facts as I see them. [Should I at any point appear to stray from the path of humility please consider more a matter of righteous indignation than any attempt at offensiveness.]

On the abovementioned date I was passing Central Police Station when I was invited by a Police Officer (whom I have known personally since schooldays) to have a brief chat with one Inspector Roberts.

He said I should wait ten minutes or so for the Inspector which matters would be quickly cleaned up. After waiting twenty minutes I suggested to the officer that inasmuch as the Inspector had not turned up and that I had been on my way to get some breakfast, I would continue to do so and check the Inspector on my return. He said he would advise me not to leave. I asked was I under arrest? and he replied no. I then said in that case I would continue on my business and he replied in that case he was detaining me for 48 hours. I pointed out [unreadable] . . .

. . . as to why I was being detained, and his reply was that he was giving me none.

I may add that as up to this date, I have yet to see the aforesaid Inspector Roberts.

Not going into specific details of the inhumane conditions under which I was so arbitrarily kept for the next 54 hours, I was later taken away at gunpoint by someone in plainclothes. I was brought to a cottage - Grand Anse where he proceeded with what can be described as a hybrid between interrogation and intimidation. This was put on tape.

It began with an invitation that I explain my views, and then the frank statement that I had been monitored for weeks and better come up with the truth. I asked views on specifically what topic? since I was not the sort of person who carried around my philosophy like something extraneous - like, for instance, his briefcase or his gun. This did not improve dialogue, nor did it add any further intelligibility to what was happening to me. Although at one point the interrogator said I was known to smoke weed, and often seen in the company of unemployed elements whom he referred to as "Lumpen".

Later I was handed over to the Prison Authorities and one month later handed a paper known as a Detention Order. Mr. Chairman, I cannot resist analysing parts of this document as it is supposed to provide the legitimacy for what so far looked like sheer [unclear] . . .

. . . incomers at Prison whereupon their names are then typed in, as well as the date. The most glaring indication I then observed was that the allegations thereon were dated for a point in (1) time when I was already in Police custody.

The signature on the order was not an original (2) but a rubber-stamp edition, and it was not of the Minister for Security but rather that of the Minister of Finance.

This fact, coupled with the absence of any (3) official broadcast or Gazette notice of my detention - which is usually the case in societies as politically apart as England, Chile, Cuba or U.S.S.R. - has given me some cause to wonder how official is my detention. Since the laws quoted in the Order is referred to as PEOPLES' LAWS one would reasonably imagine that the People - including my own people, and, of course, myself - would be apprised of my detention and given some reason as to the reason why.

I have counted from sub-charges under this order which embraces allegations that even counter each other. For instance, if I am accuse of conspiracy (4) with persons, how could the very same paragraph allege an attempt to act on sabotage?

And more significantly, with what person or persons (5) was I so engaged with? since I was detained alone and no later attempts to link me with anyone has been made.

Equally significant is that after 53 days in captivity (6) no one has spoken to me and there is no indication that charges will ever be preferred against me under jurisprudence.

Sir, I can accept that a Revolution [unclear] protected. [Unclear] . . .

. . . and my inviolable right to self-defence no matter what sounds are uttered in the name of national security. A sentiment Sir, you will agree is fairly universal.

I would hate to believe that the concept of GUILT has now become one of those old bourgeois concepts society is considering dispensing with. If so, then the rationale follows that innocence too is no longer a viable criterion where individual justice is concerned.

Today I found myself in prison and with people who beat and terrorised and ran [unclear] of Grenada in 1976. On March 14th [blank space] I was on the first planeload into G'da, filled with patriotic relief that Tyranny had departed, and I could now re-surface in my own homeland as eager for employment as for the chance to contribute to my own little national iota.

So I write this with the hope of some response to the effect that somebody somewhere will perhaps consider my plight, and make some effort to expedite matters on my behalf.

I see no loss of machismo in admitting to being afraid that I could remain here for some indefinite period for reasons that elude me entirely.

Thank you I remain humbly

Maurice D. Paterson

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