Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Grenada
Report on certain political events
which occurred in Grenada 1976-1991

VOLUME ONE

PART 5

Section 1:

THE BODIES/REMAINS

Among the many questions that continue to haunt Grenadians since the 19th October, 1983 tragedy is:

What eventually really happened to the bodies (remains) of Maurice Bishop and the other Ministers and Members of the P.R.G. who were executed at Fort Rupert that fateful day?

To date, there have been various conflicting theories as regards what exactly happened to those bodies or remains.

The most common theory, is that after the execution and shootings of individuals on the Fort, the bodies of most of them, some of which were badly mutilated, were scooped up, placed in a truck and taken to Camp Calivigny. The bodies, or what was remained of some of them, were then placed in a large dug-out hole, gasoline and tires were placed over them, they were set on fire and were left to burn, some beyond recognition. What happened after that? The whole truth is not known.

Section 1:

Evidence of an interview
with Dr. Jordan of St. George's University

According to Br. Robert Jordan of the St. George's University who came before the T.R.C. on Thursday 11th April 2002, he testified:

It was not until November 9th, 1983 that the military contacted one of our facilities. Some of the military personnel from Calivigny contacted Dr. Lenon asking if we had facilities that could be used to examine some remains that were found at Calivigny, and he called me and asked me if they could use the Gross Lab to examine those remains. My Gross Lab was there and we allowed the army to bring the bodies down at the lab in Grand Anse.

That was the 10th of November. I had no idea what was happening, as to what these things were. I heard that they thought it might be the remains of Bishop and some of his cabinet members. The troops brought over six body bags. They were pieces of meat and bones. There were pieces of skulls, no intact skulls. No real bodies, just. pieces of bodies. They were body bags weighing about 130 pounds. They were pieces of bodies all burnt and filled with maggots.

We spread out the pieces of bodies on a table and sprayed them to get rid of the maggots and to kill the stench, so that when the army members came in the next day, they wouldn't have to look at something smelly and filled with maggots. There were six or seven members of the team who came in to examine the bodies. We measured some of the femurs that were intact, but none measured the length of Bishop. There were no fingers, toes or hands. We found bits and pieces of scalp hair which we identified as Bain's. We found two female pelvises, one we identified as Jacqueline Creft's. We found bullet holes, but no pieces of shrapnel.

To me as an anatomist, every bone that was found was black at the end and burnt so they weren't very intact, they were just pieces of bodies. We found a few pieces of clothing, a shawl, dress that Jacqueline Creft's mother identified that she was wearing. We found a watch that belonged to one of the Security Guards. We found Bain's hardware store bills, nothing to suggest that Bishop's body was among them. Possibly Bishop's body was dealt with, burnt or buried separately; but was not among those in the six body bags.

When we finished our examination of the body parts, they were separated from the dirt etc., and placed back into the bags. I was not privy to anything - discussion or otherwise - of what happened to the body parts. My feeling was that the body parts were given to the undertakers for burial. I do not know what happened to the body parts beyond examination. Only about three bodies were positively identified. There were parts of other bodies, but they were not identifiable. It is possible that Bishop's body was among the unidentifiable parts, but 1 don't know. Possibly, the bodies were dynamited, burnt. and dynamited again, given the condition of the bodies. Ordinarily, burning couldn't cause such massive disintegration of bodies. We found only two bullets and little shrapnel in all those body parts.

The members of the T.R.C. took the opportunity to further question Dr. Robert Jordan, and the following were reiterated or revealed:

Q:  Commissioner:  Who removed the bodies from Calivigny?
A: Dr. Jordan: The U.S. Army, and there were soldiers who brought the body bags to our Gross Lab.

Q:  Commissioner:  Where did Bishop's remains go?
A:  Dr. Jordan: I have no idea. My guess is that they were completely destroyed.

Q:  Commissioner:  So from all the body bags brought there, there was absolutely nothing that suggested that any parts of the bodies belonged to Bishop?
A:  Dr. Jordan: I kept looking for something that would be suggestive of Bishop. I knew him from cocktail parties at the University. I knew how tall he was by shaking his hands. I was looking for something that would suggest his body was in that group of remains, but I found nothing that suggested that. He used to wear these little bracelets, and we found two bracelets, which I knew he wore, but they were not large enough to fit his hands, and the watch belonged to one of his guards.

Q:  Commissioner:  What kind of bracelets were those?
A:  Dr. Jordan: Those were 'U' shaped or horseshoe shaped bracelets with a little knob at the end. They were silver with a little bronze end.

Q:  Commissioner:  Apart from those six body bags, no other remains were brought there after that?
A:  Dr. Jordan: No. Until just recently when we had that Commission come through digging up things in the cemeteries two years ago, and we found a couple bodies which they identified as Just Grenadians' bodies....We brought those Back to our lab and a team of British pathologists found nothing there that suggested that Bishop was there. There are certain ways you could measure bodies by getting idea of height.

Q:  Commissioner:  During the situation, what would one conclude, Bishop was completely burnt or was not burnt along with the others?
A:  Dr. Jordan: My guess is that he was taken separately and burnt and buried some place else. I know he was shot and killed along with others, but what happened with that group, whether he alone was isolated, whether they found parts of him, whatever the soldiers brought to us, he was not there.

Q:  Commissioner:  Were those body bags sent to America?
A:  Dr. Jordan: I don't know. I helped look through the remains with the pathologists, but I don't. know what happened to them. I thought they were taken to the funeral home. I heard that they were taken to the States and Toxicology tests were done, but I don't know. When we finished our lab sifting of the body parts, they were put back into the bags, soil was disposed of, and clothing was disposed of.

Q:  Commissioner:  At that time in 1953, DNA tests were not sufficient?
A:  Dr. Jordan: What they did was toxicology tests. Once we looked at them we got them out of the lab. I didn't think that that would have caused a problem in the future. Once we got them out of the laboratory, I forgot about them. I thought they were buried. We had the X-Ray exams.

Q:  Commissioner:  Were there any skulls?
A:  Dr. Jordan: There were pieces of skulls. We found pieces of hair, mandibles, but there was no intact skull. There were three intact pelvises, pieces of fibula, ribs, bones, banged or burnt.

Q:  Commissioner:  Do you as a scientist find any difficulty in how persons could be convicted for the murder of persons whose bodies have not been found?
A:  Dr. Jordan: There is enough evidence. We found a couple of rings, but none was identified as Maurice's.

Q:  Commissioner:  Some of the stuff was handed in at the trial as evidence of their death?
A:  Dr. Jordan: If there was a ring, none was there that could fit him. We brought Jacqueline Creft's mom to the Medical School to identify the clothing. There was a guard who died, and one of the workers on the campus was able to identify him, because they were seeing each other. I think the findings were that only three bodies were properly identified.

Q:  Commissioner:  Who actually made the breakthrough, was it a team?
A:  Dr. Jordan: It was a team led by a pathologist. There was no one persons I knew that is responsible.

Q:  Commissioner:  Did you think it is possible that his (Maurice's) body parts might be with this?
A:  Dr. Jordan: All the body parts were so broken up that is was difficult to identify. It is possible that his remains could have been in the remains.

Q:  Commissioner:  Do you have something other than just burning of the bodies that could have been responsible for the pieces?
A:  Dr. Jordan: If they had been grenaded, you will find pieces of shrapnel. In my mind, they were dynamited, thrown into a pit, dynamited, burnt and buried. As I read the accounts of the massacre, they were really banged up and cut up. What we found were just pieces. We used a whole case of Lysol spray to kill the maggots.

Q:  Commissioner:  What became of the clothing?
A:  Dr. Jordan: They were left in boxes in the Gross Anatomy Lab, and when we left, the boxes were dumped after being mistaken for trash. The wristwatch we gave back to Dawn McGuire, it belonged to her boyfriend. I could kick myself for not having them in a more secure place. What surprised me, even Jackie's dress had some distinct bullet marks.

Q:  Commissioner:  Well, Dr. Jordan, you have not told us where the bodies are, but you have given us a lot of information.
A:  Dr. Jordan: I just wished we could have saved more.

Based on the above testimony of Dr. Robert Jordan, it is quite evident that there has been much confusion and uncertainty regarding the whereabouts of the remains of Maurice Bishop and others whose bodies were burnt at Camp Calivigny after they were examined at the laboratory at the St. George's University.

Next: Part Five, Section Two      Back: Part Four, Section 10

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