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 157 thru 159. - THE RIOT ON JANUARY 21, 1974 [PART 9] - The evidence of Adonis Francis

157. When Mr. Adonis Francis gave evidence, all the senior officers of police were acting in posts the duties of which they performed during our enquiry. He was acting as a Supt. of Police while substantively he held the post of Asst. Supt.

On January 21, 1974 he was attached to the Criminal Investigation Department [CID] and was the officer responsible. He said that he was at the C.I.D. about noon on that day.

He had been aware that the Hon. Premier had invited a number of police aides to Mount Royal before 10 a.m. on that day.

He was aware before 12 noon that the police aides had left Mount Royal on their way to St. George's.

He had heard explosions son the Carenage and as a result of what he heard he went there. That was between 12:15 - 12:30 p.m. He went in a police landrover No. 1715 accompanied by Inspector Cosmos Raymond, Asst. Supt. Christopher and about six policemen in uniform, three of whom were armed with .303 rifles.

He said that the person who organised the party to go to the Carenage could have been the Commissioner Nugent David. From his office at Fort George he was able to see on the Carenage that people were running in various directions in the vicinity of Otway House.

On his arrival at the Carenage with the police vehicle he saw a sweet drinks truck owned by Jaleel parked across the road near Huggins Lumber Department. There were cases of sweet drinks on the truck and the entire street from Pressey's Cold Storage to Otway House was strewn with bits of broken bottle. He saw sweet drink bottles being thrown at Otway House and in return bottles were coming back from Otway House; some of them were lighted bottles with liquid in them coming from the back of Otway House.

Francis said at that time there were about 50 people on the street - civilians, policemen and police aides. He was in the vicinity of the Liat building and he observed that all the glass windows on Otway House were broken; women and children were looking through the broken panes; and he saw a child jump through one of the windows from the top floor of the building while others were attempting to jump.

According to Francis he then called all the policemen who were around - about 6 constables; he instructed them to surround the building in order to catch any children who jumped from the building; and he told the children not to jump but to come down through the main entrance. He smelt tear gas when he drew close to the building. Some children and adults came out of Otway House; among the adults was Alister Hughes.

Francis' evidence on this point was this: "When Mr. Hughes got midway on the steps, I was standing on the threshold of the door and he was coming from upstairs. When he got midway on the steps he beckoned to me and I went to him. And when I drew closer to him, his actual words were "Adonis I am afraid they are going to beat me." Adonis understood him to be referring to the police aides, so he told him it was "quite alright you haven't got to be frightened about anything. I held his right arm and escorted him from Otway House to the junction of Hughes and Tyrrel Streets."

Q. It is said that you are responsible for saving Mr. Hughes from a serious assault by a man with a cutlass. Do you recall anything like that taking place?
A. Yes. There was a fellow who had a cutlass.
Q. Well, tell us what happened.
A. After I held Mr. Hughes and I got out of he building the man who had the cutlass he was approaching me.
Q. Mr. Hughes was with you?
A. Yes. Then I said leave this man alone and he retreated.
Q. Would you say the man was approaching in a menacing fashion?
A. He appeared to have been aggressive then.
Q. Did any of the blows land on Mr. Hughes at all?
A. Sir?
Q. Did he land any blows on Mr. Hughes?
A. I can't remember if he got any blows there.

According to Francis he did not see any other uniformed police when he and the police party arrived on the scene and he was careful to add that he was not in charge of the party, but that Mr. Christopher was the officer in charge. He did not see any armed police on the street when he was assisting Mr. Hughes and all the gun fire had already ceased when he first arrived at the Carenage.

After escorting Mr. Hughes he returned to Otway House where he saw Mr. Rupert Bishop lying on the floor upstairs. He appeared to be injured because his shirt was wet with blood. Francis called the policemen who were downstairs and "instructed them to life him carefully and put him in the police transport and take him to hospital." Eric [sic] Bishop was placed in a police landrover which was in front of Otway House.

Francis admitted that on that day Police Constable Randolph Mayers, Charles and [Private] and another constable known as Darkie [Lennard Charles] were all stationed at Mount Royal i.e. at the Sans Souci Police sub-station located near the entrance of Mount Royal.

He admitted also that after the incident on January 21, 1974, he saw looting taking place in St. George's at Everybody's Store, James Milne's premises, Granby's Store, Charles of Grenada. He said the looting continued for days.

158. In the ultimate assessment of the evidence of Francis Adonis it might be relevant to consider the following:-

Q. On the 21st that Monday you heard shots?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. That's why you went down?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. And - a party - I thought you said Inspector Raymond, Asst. Supt. Christopher and six policemen in one transport went together?
A. Well, we actually had two transports; . . . but Mr. Christopher and Mr. Raymond, they were in the same transport.
Q. You said Mr. Christopher was in charge?
A. He was in charge, sir.
Q. Just you hearing shots decided to go down and see what you could do?
A. Well, my branch is the C.I.D. sir, and a party was formed downstairs and Inspector Raymond and I went on our own to see what was actually taking place.
Q. Who ordered the party to be formed?
A. The Commissioner, sir.

. . . . . . . . . .

Q. Did you hear rifle fire on the 21st of January?
A. It sounded like that of rifle, sir.
Q. Did you make any enquiry as to whether Police rifles had been used on the 21st of January?
A. No, sir.
Q. And I assume that up to today, May 2, you made no such enquiry? Is that right?
A. Yes, sir.

. . . . . . . . . .

Q. Inspector Raymond, Mr. Christopher and about six men?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Were they issued ammunition so far as you know?
A. Yes, sir. They had ammunition.
Q. Is it not the case that when firearms and ammunition are issued to a constable a note is made of it?
A. Yes, sir. It should have been made.
Q. Did you check to find out what return was made of the ammunition brought back by the men to whom it was issued?
A. No, Sir.
Q. If you has to check that record you may have discovered that the men to whom the ammunition was issued had used some. Is that right?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Don't you think that would be an important aspect of the enquiry as to what took place that day?
A. I think it is an important aspect, sir.
Q. Why then, you, head of the Criminal Investigation Department, until 13th May (1974) have not yet ascertained how much ammunition was issued and how much was returned? Could you explain that?
A. No, sir.
Q. As head of the Criminal Investigation Dept. do you not consider that there are matters which ought to have been enquired into - where there is a loss of a life and other people injured and so on?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Why have you been so inert?
A. Sir, as I said previously, all my directions came from the Committee.

. . . . . . . . . .

Q. Did you form an assessment as to whether the use of rifle fire was justified on that day?
A. According to what I saw when I got on the Carenage Sir, I thought it was not justified if rifles were fired.
Q. Now if you think in your assessment that the rifle fire was not justified why did you not enquire into the circumstances which caused it to be used?
A. I was waiting on the Committee.

159. One of the matters about which Adonis Francis testified was a report lodged at the Criminal Investigation Department by Mr. Alfred Fakhre, the owner of the Amado Store, who complained that members from a demonstration entered his store and forced him to close the doors. Fakhre said he had been threatened and Francis instructed him to seek police protection whenever there was a demonstration. Consequently,

Fakhre sought and obtained police protection whenever there was a demonstration. The Amado Store is obliquely opposite to the Granby's Store. Both stores sell men's suitings, ladies material, children clothing, etc.

Evidently on January 21, 1974, the Amado Store was opened and Granby's Store was closed. The Amado Store was not among those looted but Granby's Store was.

Francis admitted that he learned that some of the police aides participated in the looting.

Q. You said that looting went on that day and on days following.
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Was this an operation that your police force could not prevent?
A. Yes, sir. I think it could have been prevented.
Q. Could you help now by letting us know why it wasn't prevented?
A. I think that the men who went on duty were afraid of the people who were doing the looting.
Q. Were those policemen armed?
A. Yes, sir. On some occasions they are armed.
Q. Is looting a highly criminal offence?
A. It is a criminal offence.

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