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 85 thru 87. - An Examination in Detail [Part 1] - The Evidence of H.M. Bhola

85. Mr. H.M. Bhola, a merchant in Grenville, who was considered by the police to be anti-government in attitude, gave evidence about a proposed meeting arranged to take place at Grenville at 3 p.m. on Sunday, November 18, 1973, at which the businessmen of Grenville were to meet the leaders of the New Jewel Movement at the DeLuxe Cinema. The meeting was arranged by the businessmen in Grenville because the New Jewel Movement was arranging a strike and they wanted to hear from the New Jewel Movement "what was the purpose of their shutdown."

The strike was due to commence on November 19. Mr. Bhola had obtained the permission of Mr. L. L. Ramdanny to use his cinema as the venue for the meeting and had invited Mr. Maurice Bishop to speak. It was intended to be a meeting of businessmen and was not otherwise planned as a public meeting. It might be helpful at his stage to recount the incidents which occurred on November 18, 1973, in chronological order with regard to time so that a true perspective may be gained by looking at that day from early morning to late at night and thereby seeing the connection between one incident and another; by understanding the relationship between the principal parties, and by examining the chain of circumstances to ascertain the probable truth.

It should first be mentioned that at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, November 17, 1973, the Commissioner, Mr. David, ordered that no passes or off duty was to be given to any member of the Police Force at Grenville effective from that day and that all women constables were to report for duty on November 18.

86. At 11.10 a.m. on November 18 it was recorded in the diary of the Grenville police station that -

"Inspector Andrews informed the Commissioner of Police that the merchants and shopkeepers of Grenville are having a meeting at the DeLuxe Cinema today at 3 p.m. He said he will inform the Special Branch about it and the Grenville Police must be around to see the people attending the meeting."

Earlier that morning, between 8:30 - 9 o'clock, Mr. Lennie Archibald, a funeral director, had seen a large number of police aides being brought into the Grenville police station by buses from various parts of the island. He saw a policewoman recording their names and Inspector Belmar giving rifles and revolvers to some of the men. At 2:50 p.m. Cpl. 186 Andrews P.C.'s 459 and 402 and 6 police aides, left the Grenville police station for duty at the DeLuxe Cinema. Shortly before 3 p.m. Maurice bishop, Hudson Austin and Simon Daniel arrived at the entrance to the DeLuxe Cinema.

87. Other affairs were taking place in St. George that day. At the homes of Maurice Bishop, Kenrick Radix and Unison Whiteman, armed police guards were deployed early in the morning to watch their homes and keep them under surveillance.

During the morning of Sunday, November 18, 1973, the Prime Minister, then Premier, had a meeting with some police officers at which, according to him, was discussed

"the fact that the New Jewel Movement had sworn to come back to Grenville on the 18th. That was done on the 4th of November, when they postponed for two weeks, one fortnight, so the 18th was the day, so the whole of Grenada knew that you, the Jewel was going to take over, starting with Mr. Belmar's police station on the 18th."

Mr. Gairy neither confirmed nor denied the suggestion that the police officers were Mr. [Innocent] Belmar, Mr. [Osbert] James, Inspector [Raymond] DeSouze (sic), Inspector [Cosmos] Raymond and Assistant Superintendent [Adonis] Francis, the head of the CID. The security branch of the police department was of the opinion at that time as expressed in its monthly report that "stepped-up activities by the New Jewel Movement, the daily campaigning and threats to take over Government posed a direct threat to the security of the State."

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