P 0 Box 65
THE GRENADA NEWSLETTER
Volume 6 Number 14
Por The Week Ending July 29th 1978
6th Year Of Publication - 178th Issue
ACCUSED IN BELMAR MURDER TRIAL FREED
The two accused in the murder trill'of the Acting Minister of
Agriculture, Innocent Belmar, have been found not.guilty. The
verdict came at 2.00pm on Tuesday (25th) and the freed men left
the Court carried along by a jubilant crowd of some 300.
Belmar was shot on the evening of January 4th last at the little
village of 1delphi about 10 miles from St.George#s, 'he same
evening, one of the accused, Lauriston Wilson,23, was arrested at
a cafe about a mile from the scene of the murder. The other
accused, Kennedy Budhlall, 24, was picked up by the Police the
following day at his father's estate. A third man, Lloyd John,
was arrested several days later but was freed after the
preliminary hearing in the Magistrate's Court.
This murder trial, conducted before Mr Justice Archibald Nedd and
a jury of eight men and four women, is said to be the longest in
the island's history. It began on June 20th sad, foon. the
outset, assumed a highly political flavour. Several factors
contributed to this, the principal one being the immediate past
history of the murdered man.
Eight years ago, Belmar was a member of the Grenada Police Force
and, at that time, the then Premier of Grenada, Mr Eric Gairy,
announced that he had recruited "some of the toughest and
roughest of roughnecks". These thugs would be used, he said,
"in the defence of my Government and the maintenance of law and
order." Paid by the State, this gang of criminaLa was placed
under the command of Innocent Belmar and became known as the
In the years that followed, and until 1973, the w tivities of this
gang against persons opposed to the Government became more and
more blatant until, in November 1973, they performed an act which
THE GRENADA NEWSLETTER week Ending 297.778
shocked the island into action.
Under Belmar's direction, the "mongoose gang" made an unprovoked
attack on six members of the Opposition New Jewel Movement (NJM).
Three of these NJM members were severely beaten and the six were
looked in a Police cell, denied medical attention, and all efforts
by family, friends and the clergy to see'them were denied.
On the following day, when the incident became known, there was
great public indignation. There was a general strike and a
group known as the "Committee of 22" was formed. Led by the
Heads of the Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Anglican and Methodist
Churches, this group had wide representation and included
delegates from trade unions, employer organizations, service
clubs and organizations of the medical and legal professions.
the "Committee of 22" called on Mr Gairy to suspend Belmar, to
disband and disarm the "mongoose gang", bring the guilty to
justice and appoint a commission of inquiry into police brutality
and the breakdown of law and order. Mr Gairy agreed to do
these things and the strike was called off but, when the only
thing done was the appointment of the Commission of Inquiry,
the strike was resumed, business places closed, the port was
shut and there were daily mass street demonstrations.
The climax came after three weeks. Five hundred of the
"mongoose gang" backed by armed detachments of the regular
Police, attacked some 6000 demonstrators assembled to hear anti-
Government speeches. One man was killed, several received
rifle shot wounds and many were severely beaten.
Anti-Government resistance was broken at this point, but the
Report of the Commission of Inquiry has bearing on the political
nature of the murder trial. It highlights the connection
between Prime Minister Gairy, the "mongoose gang" and the
The Commissioners pronounced that the "mongoose gang" (or Police
Aids as they were called officially) was an illegally
coantituted,state-paid, undisciplined body of men "...whose
THE GRENADA NEWSLETTER Week Ending 29.7.78
qualification for service in many cases ... was their known
disposition for violence and lawlessness". 'his gang, the
Commissioners found, "inflicted unspeakable atrocities" on many
Grenadians and, of Belmar who commanded them, the Report of the
Commissioners says, "we have come to the conclusion that his acts
were those of a megalomaniac."
Connecting the "mongoose gang" with the Prime Minister, the
Commissioners said, "the responsibility for their establishment,
recruitment and control was peculiarly that of Mr Gairy in his
Among their recommendations, the Commissioners said that Belmar
should be fired and not allowed to hold any post in the public
service. Mr Gairy, however, did not share this opinion and,
in a national broadcast in March 1975, said he considered Belmar
"to be the best policeman Urenada has seen and known fbr a long
The Prime Minister said then that Belmar had told him "he might
get involved in service to the people through the Trade Union
Movement. Shortly after, Belmar was "retired in the public
interest" and became an official of Mr Gairy's Grenada Manual
Maritime & Intellectual Workers Union. He was also appointed
to manage Government acquired agricultural estates in St.Andrews
In the General Elections of December 1976, Belmar entered politics.
He was a candidate on the ticket of Mr Gairy'a Grenada United
Labour Party and won the St.Andrews North-West seat. Immediately
after the elections (which were won by Mr Gairy's Party) he was
made a Minister of State with no attachment to a Ministry and,
seven months later, was assigned to the Ministry of Agriculture
Forestry and Fisheries.
There were reports, however, of growing friction between Belmar
and Prime Minister Gairy. This friction is said to have been
based on Belmar's dissatisfaction with the level of official
recognition given him, and evidence of this disharmony was given
THE GRENADA NEWSLTTER Week Ending 29.7.78
at the murder trial by Belmor's mother, Mrs Eileen Belmar.
Mrs Belmar told the Court her son was concerned over growing
harassment by the Government. He told her that when he
attended Parliament or the Party's headquarters, his person
was searched for guns.
On the day he was murdered, Belmar was tdade Acting Minister of
Agriculture Forestry & Fisheries. Evidence before the Court
was that a party was organised at the "Bamboo Bar", a short
way from Belmar's home, to celebrate the event and it was
shortly after he arrived at the party that he was shot. Taken
to the General Hospital in St.Georges, he died a short time later
in the early hours of January 5th.
"he case for the prosecution was that the two accused, Kennedy
Sidhlall and Lauriston Wilson, conspired to kill Belmar. It
-as alleged that Wilson drove Budhlall to the vicinity of the
"Bamboo Bar" and that Budhlall, standing in the yard of the
bar had shot Belmar who was then sitting on a rail at the top
of a flight of steps leading to the entrance to the bar.
ihe prosecution called 29 witnesses, throe of which testified
to being eye-witnesses to the crime. Another Prosecution
witness was Dr John Holgate, Surgeon Specialist at the General
:isplital, who performed an emergency operation on Belmar
after the shooting.
Dr Holgate's evidence did not support the Prosecution's
case against the accused. According to the Surgeon
Specialist, the gun was fired at
close range from a position to Path Of Bullet
According To According To
the right of Belmar and pointing Dr. Holgate Prosecution
downwards. According to the
Prosecution, the gun was fired
by Budhlall standing to the left
cf Belmar and at a lower level,
t. i hon having to be pointing
THE GRENADA NEWSLETTER Week Ending 29.7.78
A point believed to have had considerable influence on the auy.
were the many inconsistencies in the evidence of Prosecution
witnesses, both in their own evidence and in their evidence
compared with that of other Prosecution witnesses. 'his was
particularly so with the evidence of the thiee alleged eye-
At the time of the shooting, the principal eye-witness, Police
Corporal Cecil Gittens said he was standing at the foot of the
A. Belmar seated at this point talking with friends
B. Prosecution alleges Budhlall fired from this point
C. Police Corporal Cecil Gittens places himself hare
D. Lntrance to "BaMboo Bar"
flight of three steps leading to where Bolmar was sitting on a
rail talking with friends. Gittens said he saw Budhlall
approach, saw him shoot Belmar and saw him run away., Gittens
says he gave chase but failed to catch Budhlall.
The second eye-witness, Nerry Lee, told the Court he was on the
Sketch of murder scene
THE GRENADA NEWSLETTER Ne-k Ending 29.7.78
other side of the rod ro the "Bamboo Bar" a l
other side of the road from the "Bamboo Bar8" where ho had a Ilefr
view of the entrance.
saw the policeman go into
t.he shooting, Gittens had
not cnme back out.
The third eye witness, 01o
Simon, places herself,at
the time of the shooting,
in the road outside the
bar. She places
Gittens at the foot of
the steps (where Gittena
himself says he was) but
she did not see Nerry
another factor which
increased the political
Atmosphere of the trial
was that the accused,
3udhlall, was defended
t7 Mr Maurise Bishop.
Mr Biahop, a prominent
Lee saw Gittens arrive, he said, and he
the "Bamboo Bar" and, up to the time of
Layout Of Murder Scene
A. alma location---
member of the New Jewel Movement, was one of the three persons
severely beaten by the "mongoose gang" under Blmsr's command in
hle second accused, Welson, was defended by Mr Kenrick Radix,
also a prominent NJM memmebr, and one of the six jailed by Belmar
in November 1973 and denied contact with family, friends, priest
or l1gal Counsel for 24 hours. Associated with Mr Bishop in
the Defence was Mr Lloyd Noel, another NJM member, and Mro n
Jones, Deputy Political Leader of the Grenada National Party,
now part of an Opposition "alliance" with NJM in the house of
The Trial Judge began his summing up of the evidence on the
Morning of Monday 24th and completed it about 1i.00am on
THE GRENADA NEWSLITTER.- Week aJDding 29.7.78
Tuesday (25th). The jury retired immediately and, having had
lunch, returned at 2.00pm with a verdict of "not guilty".
Together with Defence Counsel and accompanied by a large crowd,
the freed men went to the near-by offices of Messrs Bishop and
Radix, and NEWSLETTER was present to witness what was described
later as "a security exercise".
The street door of the office was closed when a car drew up
outside. The street door was then opened and two hooded male
figures dashed into the car and were driven away rapidly. Within
a few minutes, another car stopped outside the closed door. The
door was opened and two more hooded male figures rushed into the
car and were driven away in another direction from that taken by
the first car. It was impossible to tell whether Budhlall
and/or Wilson had boarded the first or second car or, indeed,
whether either of the two men had left in tbhar olfthbe' ars.
In an exclusive interview with HEWSLUTTER later, Mr Bishop said
this "security exercise" had been necessary because of what he
called "very serious acts on the part of some supporters of the
Government, attempting to intimidate the witnesses and the jurors".
Mr Bishop referred to the fact that Mr Ben Jones, one of the
Defence lawyers, had had his produce warehouse destroyed by fire
in suspicious circumstances during the trial. He also referred
to the attempt made to burn the dwelling house of Mr Lloyd John,
one of the Defence witnesses, and to the destruction of
plantations owned by persons known to be anti-Government.
"What makes all of this worse", Mr Bishop said, "is that, in the
last few days, we have received numerous threats that Budhlall amd
Wilson were going to be shot, regardless". Mr Bishop said
threats als-had been received that the accused men would be
attacked wim cutlasses and maimed. "That is why we have had
to undertake this security exercise and resort to this subterfuge",
he said, and we can only hope that it will be successful and that,
by this time, they are well on their way".
The Prosecution was conducted by Trinidadian barrister, Mr
Nathaniel King, who acted for the Attorney General, Mr Ernest
THE GRENADA NEWSLETTER Week Ending 2947.78
John. The Defence was assisted by lawyers from other
Westindian countries who interest themselves in cases which
may involve violation of human rights. From Dominica, therp
was Mr Bryan Alleyne, from Trinidad, Mr Frank Solomon and
Mr Alan Alexander, and from Guyana, Mr Doodnauth Singh.
Amnesty International sent a lawyer froif the United States of
America, Mr Herb Semmel, to observe for a part of the trial.
FLOUR MILL FOR GRENADA
A multi-million dollar flour mill is to be established in
Grenada and construction of the plant is due to commence on
This was disclosed to NEWSLETTER today (28th) by Mr Richard
Menezes, Managing Director of Messrs Geo F Huggins & Co Ltd.
ir Menezes said the operation is being undertaken by his
Company "with a North American partner", but he declined to
name that partner. "We will be issuing a joint release
shortly", he said, "and the wording and timing must be agreed
before I can say anything."
Prom another source, NEWSLETTER understands that the mill will
produce flour, biscuits, animal feeds, cereals and processed
corn. The name of the Company will be Caribbean Agro-
Industries Limited, and the enterprise is expected to go into
production on January 1st 1980.
This enterprise is the first to benefit under the Qualified
Enterprises Act passed earlier this year. Under that Act,
the Minister responsible for industry may make a "tax stabilization
order" under which "the taxes, duties and imposts payable by a
Qualified Enterprise shall not exceed the rate of tax existing
at the time the order was made." Caribbean Agro-Industries
will enjoy this stabilisationn" from January jst 1980 for a
period of 15 years.
Th' Company will also be exempt for 15 years from the payment of
twt-ume tax and from the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Tax
THE GRENADA NEWaLETTER Week Binding 29.7.78
applicable to transactions involving foreign exchange.
Tenders for the supply of machinery for the mill close on Monday
July 31st. Mr Menezea said advertisements have been put out
worldwide, and responses are expected from several countries
including the USA, Germany, Britain and Ecquador.
Mr Menezes could not say how well the products of the new Company
will be received in the Caribbean Community, but he expected there
would be exports to the East Caribbean Common Market (ECCM).
"It was more or less decided by the ECOM authorities that
St.Vinoent was to have a flour mill and supply the market",
Mr Menezes said, "but a mill has been put up in St.Lucis so we
are not creating a precedent here". He said the St.Lucia mill
has been producing for about 9 months and the St.Vincent mill
since July 1977.
ST LUCIAN JOURNALIST ASSIST PPA
Mr Matthew Roberts, 24, Deputy Editor of the "Voice of St.Lucis",
has undertaken a six weeks attachment to the Youth Information
Centre of the Grenada Planned Parenthood Association.
Recently completing a one-year course in Mass Communications at
the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies, Mr Robert's
attachment is in the nature of an internship and, in an exclusive
interview with NEWSL~ETTR on Thursday (27th), he said he hoped to
share his skills with the Centre's educators.
"At the end of this exercise I hope the youth educators will have
a better appreciation of their role as communicators", he said,
"nQt just as people showing film-shows by road-sides or in
community centres, but also as people who must embark on an
effective course of communication with a people, so that their
work as youth educators can be achieved".
Mr Roberts will work with four persons employed full time at the
PPA Youth Education Centre and, in addition, he estimated that he
would have contact with some 50 part-time workers.
THE GRENADA NEWSLETTER week Ending 29.7.78
Mr Roberts entered journalism as a part-time tireelane in 1972
when he was studying at the St.Luoia Teachers Training College,
and joined the staff of the '"Vice of St.Luoia" in 1974. He
will return to the "Voice" on August 26th after his Grenada
assignment, and will also resume his duties as a part-time
mathematics teacher attached to the evening programme of the
Castries Comprehensive Secondary School.
TRIBUNAL MAKES LIAT/TAWU AWARD
Employees of LIAT (1974) Limited are to receive a 20% salary
increase with effect from January 1st 1978, and pay-packets
will go up by another 15 on January 1st 1979.
This is the award of the Arbitration Tribunal set up by Government
to break the deadlock which arose when the airline and the
Technical & Allied Workers Union (TAWU) failed to reach agreement.
TAWU had demanded a 75% increase over two years while LIAT offered
a 5% increase in each of three years.
Wages was one of nine heads under which LIAT and TAWU differed
in negotiations for a new Industrial Agreement to replace the one
which expired on 31st December 1977. Negotiations began on
February 28th and, when agreement could not be reached, the matter
went, first, before the Labour Commissioner and then before the
Minister for Labour.
When this official intervention failed to resolve the matter,
LIAT being an "essential service" under the law, it was automatic
that the dispute should go to arbitration and, under the
chairmanship of Mr Adrian Date, retired Puisne Judge, a Tribunal
was set up by Government to resolve the dispute. Other
members of the Tribunal were Mr George Brizen, economist,
nominated by the Union, and Mr Elvin St.Bernard, retired Puisne
Judge, nominated by the airline.
The Tribunal met in June and, after taking evidence, made
awards on the matters of wages, allowances, uniforms, a pension
scheme, sick and maternity leave, retrenchment and lay-off,
THE GRENADA NEWSLETTER Week Ending 29.7.78
severance pay and the duration of the AgreeBent.
DOCK WORKERS LAND WAGE INCREASE
The Grenada Shipping Agents (GSA) have agreed to pay dock workers
increased wages with effect from January O0th last.
Mr Eric Pierre, Secretary General of the Seamen & Waterfront
Workers Union (SWWU) told NEWSLETTER today (28th) that wages
(including cost of living allowances) will go up, for different
categories of workers, from 13.5% to 28% in the first year. In
the following two years, there will be across-the-board increases
of 77. for all workers.
These increases come as a result of negotiations for a new
Industrial Agreement, and Mr Pierre said the emphasis of his.
union had been on securing fringe benefits rather than high wage
increases. "Wage increases mean more income tax payments", he
said, "while fringe benefits bring tax free gains to the workers."
In this connection, the Secretary-General said the Union's
negotiating team had fought for and gained an increase in the
contributions to the Pension Scheme. Under the old Agreement,
workers paid 5% and GSA paid 7)J calculated on the workers'
earnings. The new Agreement has increased these rates to 7T%
and 10% respectively, and this takes effect from October 1st.
Several new clauses have been added to the new Agreement and
Mr Pierre said the document is now being put into proper form.
He expected it wpuld be signed by the end of August.
CLUSTER PACKS FOR WINBAN BANANBS V
Windward Island bananas are to be presented to the British
market in a new type of packing. Known as "cluster packs",
this packing is said to reduce fruit-to-fruit damage and is
expected to save considerable loss.
Until 1971, the Windward Islands shipped bananas in bunches as
they came from the tree, the fruit being protected by a covering
THE GRENADA NEWSLETTER Week Ending 29.7.78
of paper and diothene. At that time the Ma tetng Agents,
Geest Industries Ltd, had the responsibility of demanding the
bunches before distribution.
In 1971, the boxing of bananas was introduced and this method
is still used. The system used, known as "hand-pack", involves
demanding the fruit, washing and treating with fungicide and
packing in 301b cartons.
Studies by the Windward Islands Banana Association (WINBAN) show
that "hand-pack" bananas suffer from fruit-to-fruit bruising and,
for the past five years, studies of alternative packing methods
have been made. According to a WINBAN release, in all of
these studies, 'clusters' were produced by cutting up hands to
provide smaller units of fruit.
The advantage of cluster packing is that smaller units of fruit
can be uniformly positioned in the carton thus resulting in less
fruit-to-fruit damage. It was found, however, that some
features of the cluster packing used in other countries made
them unsuitable for Geest's marketing systems., and it has been
decided that a modification of the present WINBAN cr ton to
accommodate cluster packing offers the greatest promise.
The carton was modified and market testing of the new cluster
packs began late in 1977. WINBAN says reports from Geest
indicate that the tests are successful and have produced a
marked improvement in the quality of the ffuit.
TORCHLIGHTT" MJAES SMALL PROFIT .
Grenada's only independent newspaper, the "Torchlight", made a
net profit of EC$13,706 last year as compared with a loss of
B0523,308 in 1976.
These figures are disclosed in the recently published Report
of the Directors of the Company, Grenada Publishers Ltd, which
recommends that no dividends he paid "owing to outstanding
debts to the Bank and other liabilities."
THE GRENADA NEWSLhTTER Week Ending 29.7.78
The Income Statement of the Company for 1977 shows a dramatic
increase in gross profit made by its Newspaper Department. This
profit rose from EC$16,40i in6 1
1,976 to ECq54,997 in 1977.
Comparing these two years, the
Figur es in r j
Printing Department showed a WI 000
small gross profit increase
from EC#30,383 to EC035,262. '
Overhead expenses in 1977 rose
by nearly 9iv over the 1976
figure of EC71,765 to
EC078,203, the greatest
increase being in staff
rose from EC425,477 to
In 1977, as compared with 1976 .
there were reductions under
the heads of Subsistence & / Overhead Expenses
Entertainment and Travelling,
I Gross Profit
but considerable increases in
bad debts and Sundries. os
No payment is. shown for Rent Profit
in 1977 which Head appears as
EC$1,008 in 1976, In 11976, the unrelieved losses of the
Company carried forward were EC4182,723 and, with the improved
position in 1977, this figure has been reduced to EG$175,915.
The Company has an authorized share capital of EC1i million in
EC$5 shares, of which EC$170,540 has been fully paid up.
Outstanding long-term loans with two Commercial BankA total
EC496,607 (reduced from EC$105,782 in 1976), and the Net Assets
of the Company, including "goodwill" at the Directors' valuation
of EC$14,400, is EcG65,667.
Two efforts to hold the Annual General Meeting last year failed
THE GRENADA NEWSLETTER Week Ending 29.7.78
for want of a quorum. Notices have been sent out for a
General Meeting to be held on August 10th to consider the
accounts for 1977, to elect Directors and appoint Auditors.
QUARANTW RLSiRICTIONS TIGHTENED I
Following reports of an outbreak of yellow fever in Colombia,
the Ministry of Health has tightened restrictions for persons
arriving in Grenada from that country.
Mr Winston Thomas, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health,
told NEWSLETTER today (28th) that port officials are being
careful to ensure that persons who have been in Colombia within
the last 14 days before arriving hare, must have proper certificates
1r Thomas said the Government of Colombia has been advised that,
until further notice, Grenada will enforce strictly all the
World Health Organisation (WHO) regulations as far as ships,
aircraft and individuals coming from Colombia are concerned.
NEWSLETTER st advised that the outbreak is in an isolated area
and is' now reported to be on the wane.
GRENADA RATIFIES HUMAN RIGHTS CONVENTION V
A report in the Grenada "Torchlight" newspaper says that, on
July 18th, Mr Fabian Redhead, Grenada's Ambassador to the
Organisation of American Btates (OAS), deposited the island's
instrument of ratification of the American Convention of Human
MrjRedhead, who is said to have signed the instrument on
July 14th, deposited it with the OAS Secretary-General,
Mr Alejandro Orfilia, at the OAS General Secretariat in
e Alister Hughes
THE GRENADA NEWSLETTER Week Ending 29.7.78
PRIKE MINISTER IN PAR EAST J
Prime Minister Gairy is reported to have left the island last
week-end on a visit to India, Taiwan and other countries of the
In addition to two security officers, Mr Gairy is said to have
been accompanied by the Minister of education Dr Wellington
Friday, Cabinet Secretary Miss Gloria Payne, and Mr Gairyts
daughter, Marcelle, who is attached to the Prime Minister's
The purpose of the visit has not been announced.
The S 8 "Geestcrest" sailed on July 25th with 16,1139 boxes of
bananas weighing 513,185 lbs. There were 505 boxes of rejected
fruit. The Grenada Banana Cooperative society (GBCS) paid
producers EC 1.4 per pound on the weight received at the boxing
plants, but this weight is not yet available, he price paid
by Geest Industries Ltd to GBOS is not yet available either.
On the shipment of 682,710 Ibs shipped by "Geestland" on July 18th,
Geest paid GBCS EC 33.095 per pound.
c CRUISE LINER CALLS
Three cruise liners called at Grenada during the week ending July
22nd. The "Angelina Lauro" and "Cunard Countess" both arrived
on July 18th with 767 and 751 passengers respectively. he
"Carla C" berthed on Wednesday 19th with 911 passengers.
With reference to statistics for the week ending July 15th, in
NLlSmLETTER's issue for the week ending July 22nd, the number of
passengers on the "Angelina Lauro" of July 11th was not yet
available. This figure has now been advised as 644.
sistere r Hughes
28th July 1978