Alister Hughes P 0 Box 65 St. GeorQe's
14th March, 1975
THE GRENADA NEW5LETTER
For week ending March 15
DUFFUS REPORT PUBLI5HED
The Duffus Commission of Inquiry found that Assistant Superintendent t
of Police Innocent Belmar is "not a suitable person for the position he holds", and has recommended he be removed from office and be precluded from holding any office in the Public Service.
The Commissioners also found that two Magistrates, Mr Lloyd St.Louis and iir Irvin Duncan, "failed to discharge their judicial offices with fairness and competence" and the Commissioners suggest that the Judicial and Legal Services Commission enquire into their conduct with a view to determining whether the Governor General should be ndvised to remove them from office.
A similar suggestion has been made with reference to removing the Solicitor General, Mr Nolan Jacobs, from office. The Commissioners^found that, on his own evidence, Mr Jacobs demonstrated a lack of knowledge of the duties of a Law Officer of the Crown, and that he had acted with great impropriety.
Other recommendations made by the Commissioners are
(1) thct the Police Aids be disbanded and never again called into service.
(2) that the Police Force be reorganised and that there be a proper programme of training ^for both officers and men.
(3) that a "competent and experienced person of integrity' be appointed as Commissioner of Police and that the assistance of Commonwealth Caribbean Countries and other Commonwealth Countries be requested in securing the services of such a Commissioner as "it would seem that there is no such person in Grenada at the present time".
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(4) that the supervision of the Police Force and its administration, particularly the recruitment of personnel and the placement and transfer of its members ought to be left in the hands of the Commissioner as provided for in the Police Ordinance.
(5) that the conduct of Acting Inspector David Andrews should be inquired into because the Commissioners are satisfied that ,:his complicity with Assistant Superintendent Belmar was such as to render him unfit to hold the rank of a noncommissioned officer in the Police Force. ;i
(6) that the Government should set up a Commission of Enquiry to ascertain the "losses sustained by owners of stores, shops and vehicles which were damaged and looted by the Police Aids and others in the town of St. George's on January 21st 1974, with the. view to payment of compensation by the Government1'.
(7) that all criminal charges concerned with the various matters disclosed before the Commission, which are now pending in the Courts, be dealt with speedily.
The Duffus Report was made public last Friday (7th) when it was distributed to a specially invited number of persons summoned to the Prime Minister's office.
Religious Ceremony The Report was distributed by the Cabinet Secretary, Mr Godwin Brathwaite, who apologised for the absence of the Prime Minister. It is understood that Mr Gairy was unable to be present because of a committment to be at a Baptist religious ceremony held at the illuminated cross overlooking St. George's.
Among those present to receive copies of the Report were representatives of the Chamber of Commerce, Businessmen's Association, Public Service Commission,, Trade Union Council and
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The Grenada Newsletter
a section of the media. Also receiving copies of the Report
were Members of Cabinet including Mr George Hosten, Minister of Finance, Mr John Morris Minister of Education, Mr Uliver Raeburn, Minister of Agriculture and Mrs Cynthia Gairy, Minister of Social Affairs and wife of the Prime Minister, It was reported by a
reliable source that, prior to this distribution, the only persons who had seen the Report were the Governor General, Sir Leo de Gale, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet Secretary,
Apart from the appendices which take up some two dozen pages, the Report itself numbers 235 pages of which, the recommendations cover only six pages. The subject matter of the Report deals with
the investigations of the Commissioners in a very thorough and comprehensive manner, and, in several sections, produces comment
more relevant to the fundamental problems than the recommendation .
As an instance of this, 29 pages of the Report are devoted to
"The Royal Grenada Police Force and the Recruitment and Function of the Police Aids11. These pages carry evidence relative to
the breakdown of law and order and the Commissioners findings
are summed up in sections 73, 79 and 80.
"70. Much else that is condemnatory was said about the experience of police aids in Grenada between 1970 1973. Mo policemen,
including Assistant Superintendent Belmar, spoke with enthusiasm
about them. Theirs is an unhappy chapter in the history of
Grencdn. They were an unlawfully constituted body of men,
albeit pc.id from public funds, whose qualifications for service in many cases, particularly among the leaders, was their known disposition for violence and lawlessness. They committed acts
of violence and brutality and, at least on January 21st 1974, had so subverted discipline in the Police Force that, with the
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aid, encouragement and protection of a few only of the members of the Police Force, they effectively caused a breakdown of law and order in the state.
Personal Capacity "79. The responsibility for their establishment, recruitment and control was peculiarly that of Mr Gairy in his personal capacity and not as he stated, in his capacity as Minister for National Security, for the reason that the Minister of National Security has no legal authority to establish law enforcement agencies outside the provisions of the law of the 5tate. The evidence
disclosed the method of recruitment to be by radio announcement and by selection at Mount Royal by Mr Gairy who, as Minister of National Security, caused the facilities and personnel of the Police Force to be used to accommodate the police aids.
"80. Mr Gairy gave to the Commission the assurance that the police aids will never again be recalled for service similar to that which they hitherto performed. This assurance was at once
gratifying, but it seemed neutralised by the evidence of Acting Commissioner James who spoke about the establishment, since February 1974, of the Defence Force which is another arm of the Royal Grenada Police Force."
Amplifying this comment in section 204 of the Report, the Commissioners "seriously question the advisability or the necessity of the establishment of another arm of the regular Police Force -a so-called "Field Force" or "Defence Force", especially when it is known that former police aids are now members of this Defence Force".
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,\)o Creditable Evidence Later in the Report, dealing with incidents of November 18th 1973 when six members of the Jewel Movement were attacked by police aids, (three being severely beaten and held without medical attention for 24 hours), the Commissioners said, ''There is no creditable evidence to support the alleged rumour upon which police action was based to the effect that the six men or any one else had conspired to
take over the State of Grenada on Sunday November 18th 1973, ....."
11.....we are also satisfied that the Security Branch of the Police
Force, members of the Police Force and the Minister of National Security (Gairy) resolved to take action whether or not the rumour may have been well founded.'1
Dealing with Mr Gairy's attitude towards opposition, the Report says, "Mr Gairy was profoundly committed to political independence. He was unswervingly determined to achieve this in the way and at
the time he planned ......" i!...... Vie are, however, constrained to
take the view that the intensity of his feeling may have conditioned his choice of action in meeting what he may -enuinely have believed to be a threat to the timely achievement of the objective of political independence for Grenada. Vie fear that when he said
to us that he intended at about that time to achieve political independence 'at all costs', he may well have lapsed into the ideological plane where becomes rooted the belief that any opposition either to the Government or to the Government's plan for independence was inimical to the best interests of the State and therefore had to be vigorously crushed. If our fears are
justified, as the evidence indicates they are, it does not seem difficult to understand the course 'which marked the flow of events, nor is there any confusion as to their purpose and direction.11
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The Report continues, "We formed the impression from listening to some of the witnesses involved in the Police Force, in the affairs of national security, and in the administration of justice, that they held the belief that the Ministry of National Security, or even a policeman, possesses an inherent power to overlook and by-pass the provisions of the Constitution whenever it is thought that 'national security' warrants it. We fear also that such a
notion is the precursor of tyranny".
Concerning the incidents of "Bloody Monday", January 21st 1974, when police aids and regular uniformed Police attacked an anti-Government demonstration, and when Mr Rupert Bishop was murdered, the Report says that, notwithstanding his promise to disband them, the Prime Minister assumed the sole responsibility for recalling the police aids. The Commissioners expressed belief that the
demonstrations were "generally peaceful and offered no apparent threat to peace and good order". They also express belief
that "...... Mr Gairy resolved to recall the police aids in order
to curb the activity of the demonstrators. The reputation of
the police aids for violence was a matter of common knowledge. It was the excesses of brutality to which they indulged that was responsible for the appointment of the Commission. Mr Gairy
was aware of their record and of their propensities".
Gross Negligence Summing up the events of "Bloody Monday" in section 198 of the Report, the Commissioners say, "We are satisfied that Mr Gairy's failure to take proper or any steps to ascertain the real circumstances of the demonstration at 11.15 am and after, is evidence of a grave disregard for public order and public safety and was, at the very least, an ommission which, in our opinion,
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constitutes gross negligence. Vie cannot too strongly comment
on the improprieties involved in the action undertaken by Mr Gairy on his sole authority; firstly, of recalling police aids and secondly, of disregarding the obligation to seek the advice of responsible police officers as to whether it was safe for the police aids to enter the city when he was aware of the real possibility of a clash between themselves and the demonstrators. In our opinion, the
cause of the riot on the Carenage on Monday 21st January 1974 was the grass negligence of Mr Gairy in despatching the police aids at the time and in the circumstances he did without regard for considerations of public order and public safety, which ought to have been the subject of consultation and advice involving senior officers, of police whose knowledge of the facts should have constrained them to advise against such action1'.
The Commissioners found that Members of the Police Force did not take any steps to prevent the riot; and when the riot occurred, they did not adopt any effective measures to control the conduct of persons involved in tho riot. The Commissioners also found
that the use of rifle fire and tear gas worsened the situation, and that no proper departmental action has been taken by the Ministry of National Security or the Commissioner of Police to investigate the circumstances of the riot.
Local reaction to the Duffus Report has been limited by the fact that until yesterday (13th) no copies were available to the general public. Government has no copies for sale, but
yesterday, a local newspaper offered copies of the Report at EC 5.1)5.00 per copy and there was a heavy demand.
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Misinterpretation Meanwhile, in an exclusive interview with NEWSLETTER, Mr Nolan Jacobs, the Solicitor-General said the recommendation in the Report relative to himself "is based on a misinterpretation of a judgement given by Mr Justice Eric Bishop of Grenada's High Court". According to Mr Jacobs, this judgement relates to the granting of bail to members of the Jewel Movement in November 1973 and the issue in question relates to whether or not the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Solicitor-General (Jacobs) opposed the granting of bail to the Jewel members. "With due respect to
5ir Herbert Duffus and his colleagues", said Mr Jacobs, "the Commission of Inquiry misinterpreted the judgement given by Mr Justice Bishop. I have said before, and I want to say
emphatically now, that bail was not apposed before Mr Justice Bishop, and a careful study of Mr Bishop's judgement in this matter will prove mo correct".
Another parson who spoke to NEWSLETTER is Assistant Superintendent of Police Innocent Belmar of whom the ;-ieport recommends that he be removed from office in the Police Force. "As far as I am
concerned, Mr Belmar said, "I heard that a Report from the Duffus Commission came to Grenada. I heard this over radio stations,
and, as far as I am concerned, I have absolutely no comment to make in respect of the Report. I have not seen the Report,
it was not drawn to my attention and I know nothing about it.
I am still a Police Ufficer attached to the Eastern Police Division
and I shall carry out my duties until such time".