Report of the Duffus Commission of Inquiry into the Breakdown of Law & Order, and Police Brutality in Grenada

Part IV

Events Subsequent to November 18, 1973

Paragraph 160. - THE RIOT ON JANUARY 21, 1974 [PART 10] - The evidence of Nugent David

160. On January 21, 1974, just before noon, then ag. Commissioner David was on his way from Grand Anse in a vehicle driven by P.C. Stevens. He was stopped by another police vehicle - a C.I.D. car driven by P.C. Joseph who told him that Her Excellency the Governor Dame Hilda Bynoe wanted him at Government House. He went straight away to Government House where the Governor told him that she was leaving Grenada on that day and she requested that he should escort her to the airport at Pearl's.

The governor left Government House for the airport at 12:05 p.m. escorted by Mr. David. They arrived at the airport about 1.00 p.m. (13:00) and he remained with Her Excellency until her departure at 2:00 p.m. (14:00).

Thereafter he returned to St. George's and then heard there had been a riot on the Carenage.

Later in the afternoon he called in Asst. Supt. Adonis Francis and inquired as to what happened. He asked Francis if the Premier knew about it and he was told by Francis that the Premier had called him and he reported the incident to him.

The following day he forwarded to the Premier a report in writing. According to David, there was looting in the city and he gave instructions that anyone found looting should be arrested and charged; but so far as he knew no one was arrested and charged. Up to the time he left office, he "did not see any progress made on the inquiries or know whether any inquiries were made into the death of Mr. Rupert Bishop."

Q. When was that? You said up to when you left office?
A. On the 20th of February.
Q. You saw no progress made you say. Did you inquire why no progress was made?
A. No sir, I did not.
Q. Who had you asked to do these inquiries? What officers?
A. The C.I.D. should have done this. At the time when I spoke to the C.I.D. Mr. Francis was not there. I think I spoke to a senior constable there then.
Q. Did you speak to Asst. Supt. Francis and ask him to make enquiries at any time between January 22 and February?
A. I saw Inspector Francis but I don't remember asking him to make inquiries or if he was making inquiries.
Q. Did you learn that there was another Superintendent other than Francis at the Carenage on the 21st?
A. I heard Asst. Superintendent Christopher
Q. Did you speak to Christopher?
A. No, sir. I did not speak to him.
Q. Why did you not speak to him?
A. As a matter of fact, he was the officer in he Western Division and I called him down to Headquarters to assist in case there would have been any disturbance at Headquarters.
Q. I see. Well, why didn't you send for him and find out, because . . . Wasn't he present when the disturbances took place? Wasn't he the senior officer there?
A. What I was told, sir, is that he went down there with a batch of men but it appears to me that he did not take any positive action.
Q. Well, why didn't you send and speak to him? Have you up to now received any report from Mr. Christopher about this matter?
A. No, sir.
Q. You didn't see him and have an oral conversation just a talk with him?
A. What I thought then, sir, the matter needed investigation and it was the head of the C.I.D. to carry out the investigation.
Q. Mr. Francis was responsible then?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. I see. I understand from Mr. Francis that he thinks you were responsible.
A. Pardon me, sir.
Q. It wasn't your responsibility?
A. The thing is, sir, the practice in the force is that anytime a crime is committed, it is reported. It is reported to the C.I.D. and the C.I.D. immediately start investigation. It is not always necessary that the Commissioner should say investigate this matter or that matter or the other one.
Q. Did you hear that police rifles were used on that occasion?
A. Yes, sir. I heard so.
Q. Did you make inquiries to find out who issued the police rifles?
A. Who issued the police rifles?
Q. Yes, Whose orders were they issued on?
A. No, sir. Well the thing is at that time policemen going out on duty were being issued with rifles.
Q. But did you make inquiries into this?
A. No, sir. I did not make any inquiries on this.
Q. Did you know whether any police ammunition was used on this occasion?
A. I think it would be police ammunition if police rifles were used, sir.
Q. Well, did you make inquiries to find out how much ammunition was used?
A. No, sir.
Q. What about revolvers. Did you know if any of the policemen took revolvers with them or pistols?
A. To be honest, I do not know all the types of firearms that were issued to the men who went out.
Q. You made no inquiries what ever?
A. No, sir.
Q. Why now? Why didn't you call on your subordinate officer, A.S.P. Francis, for a report? Since he was the man you relied on to investigate the matter.
A. I may say, too, sir, from the day when I called A.S.P. Francis to give the instructions, he sometimes tells me that he had instructions which he was going to deal with.
Q. I see. Who did he tell you he had these instructions from?
A. Well, what he said was from the Premier.
Q. Mr. David, when you learned from Mr. Francis that he was acting on instructions from the Premier, did you speak to the Premier about this?
A. No, sir.
Q. Why not?
A. I did not speak to him, sir.
Q. Wasn't he the Minister directly responsible for the police force?
A. Yes, Sir.
Q. Well, why didn't you speak to him?
A. The Premier had several meetings with police officers, sir, and I was left out of those meetings.
Q. Well can you help us? what was the reason why you were left out of these meetings with your junior officers?
A. I don't know, sir.
Q. Did you forward any protest to the Minister.
A. No, sir. I did not forward any protests. I felt that if he had meetings and he didn't ant me to attend well, he doesn't want to see me so I did not go to see him. This is how I felt.
Q. So that up to when you went on leave, as far as you know, the unfortunate circumstances on the 21st were not investigated by the police?
A. As far as I know, no, sir.

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