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

Paragraphs 165 thru 169. - THE RIOT ON JANUARY 21, 1974 [PART 15] - The evidence of Randolph Myers

165. When he gave evidence, Randolph Myers was a police constable attached to the Sauteurs Police Station. He was called as a witness by the Commission in connection with the incident involving Garfield Brathwaite, but it turned out, he gave helpful evidence on other issues with a spontaneity that aided the pursuit of the truth.

On January 21, 1974, he was attached to the Sans Souci police sub-station which is near to the entrance of Mount Royal. He was the driver of the station landrover. He left the station with the landrover with a number of policemen to have a view of the demonstration on the Carenage. The policemen were on patrol duty with the landrover.

In the party were Sgt. Joseph, P.C. Whyte and three other constables at the back. He drove the vehicle "along by the Fire Station" and he saw a number of men - "the New Jewel Movement which were usually demonstrating" - standing in front of Otway House. Myers said that "another set of men about 300 in number came from the direction of Tyrrel Street, Lucas Street, Tyrrel Street into the Carenage. They got between them, as least there was an entrance made for them to pass.

In passing through I do not know ho or what cause some little fight there which lead on to bottle throwing from both sides; and I also heard some shots firing, but I am not in a position to say whether it was the men - the so-called S.R.P.'s or the people from the building who were firing the shots. But I was hearing the gun shots firing." He also saw bottles being thrown by both sides. At that time the landrover was parked and Myers was standing in the vehicle looking down to the Carenage - to Otway's direction. The other policemen were in the landrover.

At some stage he saw a coca-cola bottle with a wick being thrown from the direction of the Otway building. He recovered the bottle which had a lighted wick. He smothered the wick. The bottle contained gasolene but he could not say whether it was thrown from behind or from inside the Otway building.

166. It may be convenient at this point to refer to the evidence in connection with which Constable Myers was called as a witness by the Commission before dealing with the disclosures which arose from his cross-examination.

About 12:30 p.m. he was in Tyrrel Street. He came from the bottom road and reached the junction when he saw P.C. 314 Roberts running towards him. At that time he saw a man lying on the road at a point between himself and Roberts. The man, Garfield Brathwaite, was bout 7 yards from Roberts. They both reached Brathwaite from opposite directions and stopped. They were both armed; Roberts had a .303 rifle.

Myers asked Roberts what was "the real cause of this shot man on the ground," Roberts did not answer; "he just turned back."

Myers asked Brathwaite what was wrong. Brathwaite said he was just going to take lunch to his uncle at the hospital and "that some policemen shot him." Myers saw the basket with some lunch on the road. Myers observed that his legs were badly damaged, in front and behind.

He took up Brathwaite, stopped a passing car and asked the driver "to take him to the hospital for me. I offered to pay him he said no he will drop him free; and I sent the man to the hospital."

Myers said he did not see when Brathwaite was shot, nor did Brathwaite tell him who shot him and he did not hear him say to Roberts or any other constable "you shot me like that."

He reported the matter to the N.C.O. at San Souci police sub-station but he did not know whether the incident was investigated. Shortly after Myers and Roberts assisted a Mrs. Buckmire to get to her home from the Carenage.

167. We return to the disclosures made by constable Myers during the course of his cross-examination bearing in mind that he had no previous intimation of the nature of the evidence he was likely to give about the circumstances of the riot. He was obviously unprepared for the experience.

He said while he was at the Sans Souci sub-station that morning he saw a crowd of men going to Mount Royal. They arrived in trucks owned by the Public Works Department and by the Grenada Nutmeg Association. There were about 8 or 9 trucks.

The police vehicle of which he was the driver left for St. George's before the men at Mount Royal. When he saw the men coming from Mount Royal his vehicle was parked in front of the Fire Station with 3 policemen (including the Sergeant) in front and 4 behind. The men came from Hughes Street, turned left toward Otway House.

At that time there was a meeting in progress and he could hear speaking over a microphone although he could not hear the exact words.

168. Myers said that as the men approached Otway House and before anything happened, somebody spoke through the microphone asking the police to come to their assistance. He thought the request was made because trouble was anticipated.

The police did not then go to their assistance.

"The crowd of men passed through the demonstrators and then something started."

When this occurred Myers said he started the landrover and drove "down to the crowd." He stopped in front of Otway House. Lester De Souza, whom he knew well, said to him: "Why not go down and stop the men throwing stones at us?"

Myers then drove the landrover to where the men were "but there were so much bottles or so come towards my direction and where I was driving I had to keep swinging off so I could not steer in the middle; I had to go behind them. On reaching behind them I dropped off some of the men with firearms there and I went to Central. I collected Mr. Christopher and other constables and came back there."

According to Myers, it took him about 5 minutes to go to Central Station and return. Before he dropped the men and left for Central Station, he heard small arms firing, but no rifles up to that time.

Myers said he reported to a corporal at Central Station. He told him there was a clash "between the S.R.P.'s and the New Jewel demonstrators." About 8 or 10 policemen with firearms (rifles) joined the landrover; he brought them to the Carenage and dropped them in front of the Pressey Cold Store building behind the police aides who had by then advanced up to Otway House.

According to Myers it was at that stage that he first heard rifle fire.

He parked the vehicle at that point and "got through the crowd of men and went into Otway House." Myers had a Mark Four rifle. Before entering Otway House, he saw two armed policemen wearing respirators.

Asked about a constable whose alias is 'Darkie' he said he last saw him "around that junction of Young Street and the Carenage junction there."

He saw Inspector Raymond some distance away. When Myers entered Otway House, he saw no policeman there, but he met Mr. Alister Hughes standing on the first floor. He also met a Mrs. Chateau and a number of high school girls trying to hide themselves away. Then I told them they can pass out; but the smoke was against them so they were all trying to get off at the back window and I told them not to."

There was at the time parked outside Otway House a maroon car, also a maroon Cortina car, a Hunter and a Station wagon. Myers did not see Mr. Rupert Bishop. He left upstairs with Mrs. Chateau preceding him while he held a little girl by the hand. Someone lashed the little girl and so he gave her to a man whom he knew from St. Paul's (the owner of the maroon Cortina car) and asked him to take the girl "to the hospital let she get some oxygen or something."

Mr. Alister Hughes walked towards the Telephone company helped by a police officer. Myers continued by saying - "and I couldn't help Mrs. Chateau from a bust head again for because she had her head already bust."

He also helped Mrs. Buckmire from Otway House to Tyrrel Street while other people jumped through the windows.

After he helped Garfield Brathwaite by sending him to hospital, Myers returned to Otway House to render such further assistance as he could.

169. Without here examining in detail the merits of Randolph Myers' evidence we record complimentary appreciation for his sense of humanity and public service which stood apart like a hopeful light in the darkness of unconcern for public safety which engulfed this colleagues in the Police Force.

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