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

Part III

The Royal Grenada Police Force and the Recruitment and Function of Police Aides

Paragraphs 58 thru 59. - The Setting-up of the Police Aides - Their Recruitment, Qualifications etc. - Evidence of Eric Matthew Gairy [Part B]

58. Apart from the foregoing statement of the Prime Minister which was made in mid-May, 1974, about six months after the appointment of the Commission, no direct evidence was led before the Commission concerning any of the allegations which had been reported to him by the Special Branch of the C.I.D. except the incident involving Hudson Austin. Some observations may also necessarily be made about the levels of competence in the Police Force, the levels of seniority of persons charged with certain responsibilities and also about the quality of information upon which police action was taken or omitted to be taken.

59. Mr. Gairy said positively that police aides were not recruited under the Police Ordinance. He said this:

"If we did this we would give them the authority under the Ordinance, authority to arrest, authority to charge. The aides do not have that authority at all and my fear was that they would misuse the authority if they were recruited as Police. More than that, when people come up to Mount Royal for recruiting, I do not do the actual recruiting. They come up for convenience.....and if I help at all I help in the process of elimination. I would see people that I believe could not be recommended. I don't do the actual recruiting."

In answer to the question, under what authority the police aides were recruited, Mr. Gairy said they were not recruited under any authority and that they had no authority. He added that the actual recruitment of police aides was done by police officers and by clerical assistants. Expressing himself more specifically, he described the process of recruitment in this way:

"Any time there is a situation such as what I have just described where people are subversive and they want to take over Government by force we hold a meeting, I call the police officers together and we determine the need to assist the police and then a date is fixed, we put something over the air, the people come, I am there myself, and I would give whatever assistance possible and the people would be recruited by the police officers."

It was the view of Mr. Gairy, as Minister of National Security, that the police aides when recruited were asked to report to police stations in their district of residence and they would go out on duty with policemen to assist in police duties under the instruction of senior policemen. It was his opinion also that the Government had the power to disband the police aides.

These were Mr. Gairy's statements and impressions in May, 1974; but before he testified, these areas of concern had caused the Commission to seek the assistance of senior police officers including Mr. Osbert James, a Superintendent of Police who was acting as Commissioner of Police in April 1974 and Mr. Nugent David who is substantively a Superintendent of Police but had been acting as Commissioner of Police at the time of the appointment of the Commission in November 1973 until early in 1974 when he was directed to proceed on vacation leave. Enquiries were also made from Police Constable Rashford Chester, the Vote Clerk at Police Headquarters and Cosmos Nurse.

The evidence of Messrs. David, James and Nurse as to the establishment, recruitment, control, operation and payment of police aides will now be examined.

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