TABLE OF CONTENTS|
On the 4th Day of September 2001, acting in accordance with the advice of Cabinet, His Excellency the Governor-General was pleased to appoint a Commission under the provisions of the Commission of Inquiry Act, chapter 58 of the laws of Grenada, directing it to inquire into and record certain political events which occurred in Grenada during the period 1st January, 1976 to 31st December 1991, with particular reference to detailed matters contained and itemized in the Terms of Reference attached to the instruments appointing the Commissioners.
The Commission was designated the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and was constituted as follows:
Hon. Donald A.B. Trotman of Guyana, Former Judge of the Court of the Supreme Court of Guyana;
Bishop Sehon Goodridge of Barbados, Anglican Bishop of the Windward Islands;
Father Mark Haynes of Grenada, Roman Catholic Priest; and
Ms. Claudette Joseph of Grenada, an Attorney-at-Law practising in Grenada, as Secretary to the Commission.
The detailed matter in the Commission's Terms of Reference which require investigation, recording, reporting and recommending on, are set out in the Terms of Reference as appears in volume 2 appendix A of this Report.
In accordance with the authority of their appointment and the mandate of their instructions under the Terms of Reference, the Commissioners commenced their work with preparatory meetings from 5th to 7th October 2001, during which time the Commissioners mapped out a plan of action including the methodology to be used in the carrying out their work (See Part 1, Section 3 of this Report). The Commissioners began taking evidence on 9th October 2001 at premises provided as its Secretariat on Scott Street, St. George's.
While appreciating that it was obliged to adhere faithfully to its Terms of Reference which required special and immediate consideration, the Commission understood from the outset that it would not be possible to give treatment to the matters within its mandated purview without allowing itself some flexibility of functioning and some discretion and scope to consider related facts and circumstances which were not within the ambit of the four corners of its Terms of Reference.
Consequently while the Commissioners inquired into events within the periods 1976 to 1979, 1979 to 1983 and 1983 to 1991, they could not help retreating a little into a short period before 1976.
To facilitate the organisation of its own work as well as to give the readership of its Report the benefit of seeing some ordered structure in its approach, the Commissioners have divided the Report into three (3) volumes. Volume 1 contains the substantive portions of the Commissioners' work. Volume 2 contains the appendixes which include memoranda, other relevant documents and newspaper clippings. Volume 3 contains letters received and sent by the T.R.C. during its inquiry.
It should be pointed out that the Recommendations mentioned in Part 9 as "Other Relevant Recommendations" are in addition to the specific recommendations which come at the end of the main headings in volume 1 of this Report, and to the various comments and opinions expressed directly or inferentially in other relevant places of the Report.
The Commission will be less than frank if it did not confess that during its extensive and intensive inquiry, it unearthed little more knowledge of the truth of facts and events pertaining to the periods under inquiry than that which was already known. But what is important is that the Commission considered all of this information, old and new, correlatively, and reached its conclusions in accordance with its own deliberate and independent judgment.
Several factors militated against this search for truth, including.
- The wide gap of time between the happening of these events, causing memories to fade, some people who knew some of the truth to have died or emigrated, and evidence to be 'lost' or suppressed;
- Failure of some persons who know the truth, to come forward for fear of repercussion on victimsation;
- Lack of provision for amnesty, witness protection or undertakings not to prosecute persons who gave evidence or information;
- Many person have long purged those sordid portions of history from their minds and do not want to revisit them;
- Many persons who have already reconciled their differences and grievances and do not want to hear anything more about what has already been done.
But it is important to recognise and to understand that even if new truth has not been discovered to supplement the old truth that is already known, the perceptions relating to this given quantum of knowledge/information must be seen to differ fundamentally.
For whereas in the past much of the known truth was used or intended to be used for condemnation and blame-casting, the truth, uncovered or examined by the TRC, is to be examined and applied for the purpose of encouraging a process of healing and reconciliation. It is a call to all concerned to see the truth in a new light and for a new and different purpose - a positive purpose.
In the context of the Commission's work and of the life of the Grenadian people, Truth and Reconciliation are concomitant virtues. They must coexist to reinforce each other. We wish to urge, of course, that reconciliation would take place more easily when the truth is told and known, and when, however painful, it is accepted by both the aggrieved and their perceived wrongdoers.
It is this vital element of mutuality which needs to be present if the process of healing and reconciliation is expected to be effectively conducted and successfully achieved; a willingness of those persons who have suffered to find it in their hearts to receive tangible expressions of contrition honestly and sincerely given by those who have done wrong to them or caused them to become aggrieved. Reconciliation is not a casual option; it is an indispensable ingredient for the continued enjoyment of a peaceful and happy life in a stable Grenadian society
While there have been some negative aspects encountered in course of the work of the Commission, identified in our Report as obstacles to the functioning of the Commission, (See Volume 1 Part 7), we prefer to think that the positive achievements of our inquiry are sufficiently manifest to make it seen that our appointment was worthwhile and endeavour [a worthwhile endeavour].
Profile of Commissioners
Hon. Donald Trotman - Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission - Chairperson of the Guyana National Commission for the Elderly. Specialist Consultant on Human Rights Law, International Law and Conflict Resolution. President of the United Nations Association of Guyana and Chairman of the Peace and Fundamental Rights Committee. Member of the Bar of Guyana, the Virgin Islands, Grenada, Jamaica, England and Wales.
His former engagements include;
Judge of the Supreme Court of Guyana and additional Judge of the Court of Appeal Guyana. Attorney General, Chairman of the Law Revision Commission and acting Governor in the British Virgin Islands. Solicitor General and Director of Public Prosecution of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Coordinator for Inter-American Commission Human Rights Conferences in Jamaica, Grenada and the Carter Center USA, Executive Director and President of the Caribbean Institute for Human Rights; Legal Counsel for Caribbean Media Petitioners to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Senior Tutor and Deputy Director of the Caribbean Council of Legal Education. Specialist Member, Constitution Review Committee Guyana. President of the Inns of Court Union. Chairman of the Human Rights Section and member of the Panel of Expert of the World Peace through Law Center, USA; United Nations Human Rights Fellow. Carnegie Endowment for Peace Fellow at. the Hague Center for International Law and International Relations Guyana delegate at the United Nations and other diplomatic Missions. Coordinator of the Lawyers campaign against torture and African Affairs for Amnesty International (UK). Human Rights Rapporteur for the UN and other International Organisations in Nigeria; Canada, Nicaragua and Grenada. Visiting Professor of International Law at the University of Baghdad and the Centre for Arab Gulf Studies in Iraq and Kuwait. Research attachments to the UN Human Rights Division .and the Europe Commission for Human Rights.
The Rt. Rev. Bishop Sehon Goodridge - Anglican Bishop - Diocese of the Windward Islands. Former teacher at GBSS. Chaplain at UWI, Mona Campus. Principal of Theological Seminary Codrington College, Barbados. Warden Student Counsellor, UWI Cave Hill, Barbados. Principal of Cyrene Theological Institution, London.
The Rev'd Fr. Mark Haynes - OBE Grenadian, local Roman Catholic Priest. Presently, Cathedral Administrator, St. George's.
Profile of Secretaries to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Ms. Claudette Joseph - Former Secretary to the Commission, LL.B. Attorney-at-Law, former Deputy Registrar of the Supreme court and former in-house lawyer with Legal Aid and Counselling Clinic.
Mrs. Eleanor Glasgow, B.A. Former Secretary to the Commission.
Ms. Annette Henry - Present Secretary to the Commission, LL.B. Attorney-At-Law, Crown Counsel, Ministry of Legal Affairs, Grenada.