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

Part III

The Royal Grenada Police Force and the Recruitment and Function of Police Aides

Paragraphs 48 thru 50. - A Critical Examination of the Police Ordinance 1966 (Part B)

48. It is clearly evident from the foregoing that the Police Ordinance 1966 constituted three groups of men in whom would vest the responsibility, as circumstances might demand, for the preservation of peace and good order in Grenada. Firstly, the Royal Grenada Police Force which was the successor of the Royal Grenada Police Force established by previous legislation; secondly, the Grenada Volunteer Constabulary which by the provision of the Ordinance superceded the Special Reserve Police, established by previous legislation and deemed to have become the Grenada Volunteer Constabulary; and thirdly, Rural Constables.

With regard to the numbers of men who may be recruited into any of the three groups, the provisions of the Ordinance are such that, with the exception of members of the Police Force, the Commissioner has the unrestricted power to appoint to the Grenada Volunteer Constabulary and to the Rural Constabulary, any number of men, he may in his discretion, consider necessary to aid the Police Force in the performance of its functions. On the other hand, with regard to the Police Force, it is provided that it shall consist of such number of police officers as may from time to time be ordered by the Administrator in Council and enrolled in the Police Force.

49. There cannot be any doubt that the Police Ordinance contemplated the existence of a lawfully constituted force, supplemented if necessary, by lawfully constituted auxiliary forces, bound by oath to serve the territory of Grenada under the Rule of Law in the maintenance of law and order and in the discharge of the other functions prescribed for the Force by its section 5. It is the only legislation which deals with the establishment of forces, armed and otherwise, for the maintenance of law and order.

Some other of its provisions are worth considering in the light of the circumstances which led ultimately to the events of November 18, 1973 and on dates afterwards. Section 5 contemplates the carriage of arms by police officers in accordance with regulations made under the Ordinance; consequently, it might be reasonable inferred that police officers would be issued with fire arms.

Section 6 provides that in the case of war or other emergency, the Administrator in Council may employ the Police Force to serve with Her Majesty's Armed Forces or otherwise in defence of Grenada. There is however, an important proviso, which underscores the measure of overall authority intended by the law to be conferred on the Commissioner in his duty to command and superintend forces constituted by the Ordinance. The proviso to section 6 stipulates that any part of the Police Force employed in the case of war or other emergency shall continue to be under the command of the Commissioner or such other police officer as the Commissioner may appoint for that purpose.

Section 57 authorises the issue of a baton to members of the Grenada Volunteer Constabulary; and it may be observed that the omission in the law to provide for the issue of firearms to this group is not without significance when it is realised that Section 72 omits to mention a baton as being among the facilities specified for the use of Rural Constables.

50. We are satisfied that the Police Ordinance provides adequately for the establishment, training, command and supervision of such forces as may have been necessary in 1970, or in the years following, for the maintenance of law and order and for the preservation of peace in Grenada.

The Ordinance did not contemplate the exercise by any minister or by any member of the executive, of the authority and power conferred upon the Commissioner and, as will be discerned, much that has occurred in the matters being investigated by the Commission, stemmed from a progressive disregard for the law and for the Constitution under which the law is administered in recognition of the Rule of Law.

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