Report of the Duffus Commission of Inquiry into the Breakdown of Law & Order, and Police Brutality in Grenada

Part IV

Events Subsequent to November 18, 1973

Paragraphs 143 thru 145. - Police Aides recalled - Dame Hilda Bynoe, Governor, departs

143. On Sunday, January 20, announcements were made over Radio Grenada calling on all disbanded police aides to report at the Premier's residence at Mount Royal at 8 a.m. on Monday, January 21, for re-employment as Special Reserve Police and each side was invited to bring with him three interested persons to be similarly employed.

144. Monday, January 21, was to prove to be a most eventful day in the history of Grenada. On that day, the Governor, Dame Hilda Bynoe left Grenada hurriedly and without publicity. She had been criticized and abused by the demonstrators and had offered to resign her office if the people so indicated by January 14 but on January 12 the Premier advised Her Majesty the Queen that her appointment as Governor should be terminated. On that day, [the day of] (January 21) serious disturbances occurred in St. George's and Rupert Bishop, the father of Maurice Bishop, was shot and killed.

145. We turn now to the details of the events which occurred on Monday, January 21, 1974, and, where necessary, to those affairs which preceded them. On December 22, 1973, Mr. Curtis Stuart sent to the Hon. Premier in the form of a letter a resolution which was passed on that day by the "Organisation of 22." The document advised the Premier that the Organisation of 22 had recommended to its member that their labour and services be withdrawn on January 1, 1974 and that such withdrawal would continue until the implementation of undertakings given with respect to four matters mentioned in a resolution by the Organisation on November 27, 1973.

The Organisation included among its membership many interests representing both employers and employees. The intimation fore-shadowed a virtual shut-down of all commercial and other services.

On January 3, 1974, the Parliament of Grenada passed legislation which was designed to enforce the opening of shops and stores by imposing heavy penalties on owners for failure to open heir premises. Notwithstanding this measure, several business premises remained shut after January 3, 1974.

As a consequence of decisions taken by the Grenada Seamen and Waterfront Workers Union and the Commercial and Industrial Workers Union, demonstrations were organised. The first such event occurred on January 9, 1974, for the reason that the members of the Unions involved felt that "they must not stay on strike and do nothing about the protest they were making; but that they should come out and show their strength on the streets and protest what was going on in this country." According to Mr. Eric Pierre, the discussions which led to the decision to withhold their labour did not involve any consideration of the question whether or not Grenada should proceed to Independence.

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