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

Paragraph 100. - An Examination in Detail [Part 9] - The Evidence of Innocent Belmar [Part B]

100. When Belmar arrived at the station the prisoners were in the cell. Rev. Fr. Coxhead went to the station with another priest and Inspector Andrews brought them to Belmar's office. Fr. Coxhead accepted a seat, and according to Belmar, said "Mr. Belmar, I come to see the Christians that you arrest." Belmar says he asked him to repeat his statement. When Fr. Coxhead did so Belmar says he asked Fr. Coxhead if he expected that "the rest of us here are beasts." Belmar says he told him "the last time three policemen were sleeping in their beds and some person or persons went and chopped them up as pigs I did not see a minister of religion come in the police station, not even to sympathise with the police." Whereupon Fr. Bernard said that he used to pray for the policemen.

The two priests then left. He said that other civilians came to the station that night. He saw Mr. & Mrs. Radix, the parents of Kenrick Radix, and other persons. He asserted that the atmosphere around the police station was tense on all sides. He did not remember whether he spoke to Mrs. Radix or to any of the civilians who were there nor did he remember whether that night he saw anyone related to Bishop; but he remembered speaking to Bishop's wife by telephone about bail. She had asked whether her husband would be given bail and Belmar told her he had instructions that the men should not be given bail that night.

Q.      Did any medical practitioner come to your station that night to see any of your prisoners?
A.      No, sir.
Chairman:      What sort of practitioner? I did not get that?
Q.      Medical. Did any medical practitioner come to the station that night to see the prisoners?
A.      Not to see the prisoners. I saw one legal practitioner at the station.
Q.      Did you speak to him?
A.      I did, sir.
Q.      What sort of conversation you had with him?
A.      The conversation was one which tended to create more confusion.
Q.      What was it? this is a conclusion you are giving.
A.      Mr. Michael Sylvester came and he told me that he must see Bishop and them tonight, and if he don't see them tonight is war tonight. I told him that if this is the way he came to see prisoners I am afraid I would not allow him to see them.

Belmar remained at the station throughout the night and the crowd did likewise for sometime. He charged the prisoners and they reported to the Grenville Court the following day. He said that no one beat the prisoners in his presence nor did he authorise anyone to beat them. He said he spoke to Radix and Bishop that night in a conversation which lasted "for about two hours."

He claimed that Bishop told him that some men beat three of them. He asked who were the men and Bishop said he did not know the names of the men. In reply to Belmar, Radix said he was not beaten, and Bishop added that "the crowd of men that beat them seems to be very hostile and he does not want to get in contact with those men anymore." Belmar assured them that, with the keys to the cell in his possession, he would see that no one interfered with them. He then put two armed guards to work in the passage "in the vicinity of the cells." At the end of his examination, a brief, but revealing exchange passed between Belmar and his lawyer.

Q.      Now Mr. Belmar, it has been said in this Commission that you are called the Sheriff. Is that so?
A.      People call me so.
Q.      Do you know why?
A.      I will have to say efficiency caused me to be a Sheriff.

Back: Duffus 98 thru 99      Next: Duffus 101       Duffus Contents     Home Page: Index