The Events of November 18, 1973
Paragraphs 130 thru 131. - An Examination in Detail [Part 31] - THE COMMISSIONER'S FINDINGS on the Nine Questions asked in para. 89 [Part D]
130. After the most careful consideration of all the evidence on the issue of the search of the two motor cars and the finding of the rifle and ammunition, we are satisfied that the evidence of both Asst. Supt. Belmar and Insp. Andrews is not true.
They alleged that one .303 rifle and 5 rounds of .303 ammunition were found in the car of Hudson Austin and that 15 rounds of .32 ammunition were found in the car of Maurice Bishop. We are satisfied that only Hudson Austin's car was searched in the presence of Austin, Daniel and Radix and H.M. Bhola after they descended the steps of Bhola's home. Anthony Waldron was also there. We are satisfied that Austin delivered to Belmar the keys of his car; that Belmar cause the car to be opened and searched; and that, apart from issues of the New Jewel Newspaper, no firearm or ammunition were found.
We are also satisfied that the car of Maurice Bishop was not then searched because he had the key which was then in his possession in the Grenville police station. We are satisfied that this allegation about the possession of a firearm and ammunition was fabricated. The reasonable inference we draw is that it was fabricated by Belmar although we are not able to say that he was alone responsible for it. Insp. Andrews is clearly an accomplice. We are deeply conscious of the implications inherent in this finding of fact.
We are aware that the articles allegedly found are the subject of indictable charges before the Supreme Court; but we do not consider that the issue was avoidable having regard to our Commission which, among other things, enjoins us to enquire into the circumstances of the arrest of the Six men and the charges brought against them on November 18.
We are constrained to hold that they were unlawfully detained; that all of them were unlawfully assaulted by the cutting of their hair; that three of them, viz. Maurice bishop, Unison Whiteman and Selwyn Strachan, were cruelly beaten and that these acts were done in the presence of an/or with the authority of Asst. Supt. Innocent Belmar and Insp. David Andrews and were committed by other persons named and unnamed. We are satisfied also that none of the Six men was informed of the reason or his detention and that the intimation of the charges against them was for the first time made about 8:00 a.m. in the morning of Monday, November 19, 1973.
131. We now briefly state our answers to the nine questions having regard to the findings of fact made in the paragraphs immediately proceding:-
- The Six members of the New Jewel Movement visited Grenville only for the purpose of attending the meeting of businessmen;
- The meeting was called for the purpose of discussing the participation by the business community at Grenville in the General Strike proposed by the New Jewel Movement in its publication on November 9, 1973;
- There was no intention by the Six members of the New Jewel Movement to seize control of the Grenville police station by armed attack or otherwise;
- There were no reasonable grounds for apprehending the possibility of such an attack;
- There were no reasonable ground for Asst. Supt. Belmar to apprehend a dangerous attack on his person or on the Grenville police station by the Six men;
- There is no credible evidence to support the allegation that a rifle and ammunition were found in the possession of the Six men;
- The action taken by the police was not justifiable.
- The action taken by the police was in all the circumstances a breach of the Constitutional rights of each of the Six men;
- the action taken by members of the Police Force was not genuinely designed as a counter measure taken by the Government to meet any reliable allegation of a threat to the security of the State by the New Jewel Movement or any of its members; but was, instead, forcible action taken to suppress political opposition which was genuinely believed to be likely to retard the progress of Grenada towards political independence.