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 119 thru 120. - An Examination in Detail [Part 24] - - RICHMOND HILL PRISON - The visit of Hon. E.M. Gairy [Part A]

119. There is a matter of grave consequence which, although it occurred in St. George's and not in Grenville, throws some light on the incidents which occurred in Grenville on the afternoon of Sunday, November 18, 1973. Its significance lies in the fact that it occurred between 2:40 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. i.e. between 1440 and 1430 hours. It concerns a visit by the Minister of National Security, Hon. E.M. Gairy, to the Richmond Hill Prison which commenced before the Six members of the New Jewel Movement arrived in Grenville and ended immediately before Strachan, Whiteman and Bishop were taken into custody at the Grenville police station.

120. On Tuesday, January 8, 1974, Norris Stephen was called as a witness. The story he told was this. On November 18, 1973, he was a prisoner in the Richmond Hill Prison. At about 1:30 p.m. the Honourable Premier (as he was then) visited the Prison. The prisoners had all been assembled on the second floor. There were about 132 prisoners. The Premier asked the prisoners what they wanted for Christmas. Some of them said they wanted cigarettes, toilets (soap, toothpaste etc.). He then told the prisoners that they are -

"some of the unfortunate people in our society but that there are some who are more fortunate on the outside, such as doctors, lawyers, teachers . . . . who are trying to run this Government into disrepute and that within two days some of these people would be in (prison)."

Continuing Stephen said that the Premier

"went on to say these lawyers, doctors, etc. refer to inmates as roughnecks and criminals and seeing that they would be in prison shortly, he would like them to receive the same treatment and when I say treatment I mean the way that these roughnecks are shunned by these lawyers, doctors etc."

Stephen said that the Premier referred to the New Jewel Movement as a guise of the old Grenada National Party and said that since they could not win by the ballot box they rather win by bullets and that he has the people behind him while the New Jewel Movement had stolen Government's .303 rifles. The Premier is alleged to have told the prisoners also that if any of them came out of prison by January 30, 1974, he should go to see Mordred Roberts in his Ministry to seek employment as police aides. According to Stephen, orders had been given, prior to the Premier's arrival, to prepare six cells. On the day following, Monday, November 19, 1973, he saw six miserable looking people admitted to the prison. They were Maurice Bishop, Kenrick Radix, Unison Whiteman, Selwyn Strachan, Simon Daniel and Hudson Austin. Of the Six, Bishop, Strachan and Whiteman were covered in blood.

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