What don't meet you, don't say it pass you.*
Irie Bishop was last seen between 6:20-6:25 a.m. on Granby Street, St. George's, the morning of Tuesday 19 December 1978. He was 48 years old.
The Torchlight newspaper in Grenada took on the Irie Bishop disappearance story through January and February 1979, as did the New Jewel Movement.
In fact, at a NJM meeting in the market compound in Hillsborough, Carriacou on 3 Feb 1979, Bernard Coard told the people that if a "dog or a key is lost in Grenada this will be broadcasted over Radio Grenada". Coard said that Radio Grenada has not said a thing about Inspector Bishop's disappearance - from 19 December 1978 to 3 February 1979.
The editor of the Torchlight reprinted photographs of Irie Bishop in repeated issues, as well as issued updates about his disappearance, and complaints about the silence from the Police Department. The New Jewel Movement issued a poster which was titled "Where Is Our Father?" with photos of the three eldest children and Inspector Bishop, plus a description of their family's struggle with their missing father.
Below is a short timeline from printed information - mostly from the Torchlight newspaper:
SUNDAY AFTERNOON, 17 DECEMBER 1978
On Sunday afternoon, 17 December 1978, Inspector Irie Bishop, stationed at the Esplanade Police Station located on Melville Street, St. George's, was to control the crowd and ensuing traffic anticipated on Melville Street for the funeral of the late G.B.W. Otway.
Insp. Bishop had decided to rest before going on duty. He left instructions to be awakened at a certain time, but these instruction were not carried out; consequently Insp. Bishop overslept. He failed to turn up for duty; consequently, Insp. Bishop was upbraided by a senior officer. Not reporting for duty was an unusual occurrence for Bishop as he was "a rather disciplined officer unlikely to go absent without leave," according to a Torchlight report. The newspaper went on to print that Bishop "was castigated by a senior officer who threatened him with dismissal because the Inspector said, 'you are a damned GNP'."
MONDAY AFTERNOON, 18 DECEMBER 1978
On Monday, the 18 December , Irie Bishop attended the funeral of Keith Mancini with Superintendent Luckey Bernard. Afterwards, Irie Bishop was taken to the St. David's Parish doctor J.M. Patel because Sup. Luckey Bernard "thought the Inspector looked ill and was not coherent in his speech."
Word is that the doctor referred Bishop to a physician in St. George's for further examination. It is unknown whether Insp. Bishop saw the referred second doctor.
When the Parish doctor, Dr. Patel, was interviewed almost a week later he had difficulty remembering even whether or not he saw the Inspector at all. According to the Torchlight, "Dr. Patel said on Sunday that on that afternoon [Monday 18 December 1978], after the funeral of the late Keith Mancini, 'four persons came in a Datsun car to collect the death certificates [of Keith Mancini]' but could not say - even after looking at snapshots of Bernard and Bishop on in Sunday's Torchlight - if they were among the four."
"Said Patel: 'There were three men and a lady. Three of them waited in the car and one came into my office to get the certificate. I do not remember which one came in.' The Doctor had said earlier in the conversation that it was probably Insp. Bernard who came into the office, but later was dogmatic that he could not remember. When questioned on the report that Bishop was, on that very afternoon in December [Monday 18 December 1978] taken to him for observation by Insp. Bernard, Patel said that that too was hard to remember. 'I can't say for certain,' Patel said, 'Probably. If someone comes to me once, it's always hard to remember them'"
TUESDAY MORNING, 6:20-6:25 a.m., 19 DECEMBER 1978
Irie Bishop disappeared.
KNOWN FOLLOW-UP INVESTIGATION
The Torchlight reported that every home in Gouyave was searched because Insp. Bishop might have been receiving "clandestine treatment". Assuming this search was the result of a tip, nothing came of this search.
Raphael 'Santa' Stanisclaus, who worked in Special Investigations for the Gairy Police Force and later was a Commissioner of Police during the first PRG years, began an inquiry after the police report was issued in January 1979. Talk is that when the investigation by Stanisclaus was known, he was personally threatened. This piece of information about being threatened is repeatedly told.
Around 6 April 1979, the Missing Persons Bureau, under Gerald Date, Ag. Supt., was set up by the Grenada Police Force under the People's Revolutionary Government. Priority was given to the Investigation into the Irie Bishop matter.
The report* said:
During the Course of our Investigation, we were faced with numerous difficulties which appeared to have been conveniently arranged as a Cover-up in that particular matter.
Regarding the time factor, there is not a single written Statement from the so-called investigation made by Superintendent [Luckey] Bernard who according to Ex-Commissioner Osbert James under interrogation was instructed to investigate the matter. Medical Records at the General Hospital and Immigration records at Pearls Airport which should have been a source of help to us was not due to the fact that they were improperly kept.
The Status of the former Government Official and the Reputation of the Criminals who appeared to have been involved have a great effect on the free flow of information.
Nevertheless our investigation has unearthed a possible reason for the death of Irie Bishop. We have also discovered that Superintendent Bernard was slow-poisoned and one or two reasons for his poisoning.
We have reached as close as to the place where the poison may have been administered.
It would have been exciting to have Henry Bullen interrogated and confronted with certain Statements made by Osbert James.
At this stage we need some more time to consolidate the bits and pieces of evidence before venturing to interrogate any member of the Mongoose Gang which would obviously be our last resort and we cannot afford to fail at this point.
In the mean time the Bureau is looking into Fraud Cases at the Richmond Hill Prisons and the Central Water Commission while my Assistant # 27 Sgt. Cyril Joseph together with #210 D.C. Leroy Joseph will leave for Carriacou on Tuesday May 1st, 1979, to start the investigation into the Frigate Island Affair.
[Handwritten Signature, Ag. Supt.]
RUMOURS OF WHAT HAPPENED
The 25th February 1979 issue of ALERT, vol. 1, no. 1 [a NJM newspaper] reported on the Iri Bishop situation in two articles.
One concern frightened policemen. Quoting from the article:
Recently a policeman was heard singing to the music of Francine's popular calypso "Dog could run away, cow could run away . . . ". The words he was singing were as follows:
If Inspector could disappear
Then Sergeant could disappear
and Corporal could disappear
if day do dey job;
yes, Constable could disappear
All ah we could disappear
if we try to arrest those that
break and rob.
The accompanying article is titled PEOPLE ARE ASKING . . .
Is it true that Inspector Iri Bishop was taken on board the coast-guard ship 'The Rescuer' on its trip to Carriacou just before Christmas?
Is it true that he was set upon, beaten and stabbed to death on board that ship?
Was it to wash away the bloodstains of that terrible deed that 'The Rescuer' was conveniently sunk just before it reached the pier?
Is it true that in a desperate attempt to save his life Iri Bishop shot one of the criminals in the stomach? Is it true that that man was flown to Barbados for emergency treatment?
Is it true that the reason Iri Bishop had to die is that he filed a report with a leading officer stating the results of his investigations regarding the Kripalani's robbery? Is it true that these investigations pointed to the Mongoose Gang as the thieves?
Is it true that Inspector Bishop's report has disappeared, just like him?
The people are demanding to know! IS IT TRUE???
Old talk about the disappearance of Irie Bishop goes from one end of a story to the other.
The Torchlight continued its focus on the Irie Bishop disappearance by looking into the supposed poisoning of the Chief Investigator. From Torchlight 29 April 1979:
Anthony "Luckey" Bernard, the man who was commissioned to investigate the disappearance of his fellow officer Iri Bishop, may have been administered a poisonous tablet.
Bernard was admitted to a private clinic earlier this year and according to a very reliable source, was showing symptoms of slow poisoning. He was then transferred to the General Hospital where he made a very remarkable recovery under the care of an assigned doctor.
But the Superintendent has a permanent problem.
A confirmed report on Friday [April 27, 1979] stated that as far as the slow poisoning story went, that could have been so, as well as it may have been, but the poison had already worked its way out. It believed that the poison was administered when 'Luckey' Bernard came in contact with someone during his investigations, and was one of those used in the eradication of rodents.
Prior to being hospitalized, Bernard was said to have intimated to members of a well known gang that he knew how [Irie] Bishop disappeared in December last. Bernard is still a patient (as of 29 April 1979] at the General Hospital.
Anthony "Luckey" Bernard, the father of Callistus "Abdullah" Bernard, died in Texas hospital in mid-1983. He had also been shot in the head in 1980 when PRA soldiers did not recognize him during a time he was Deputy Commissioner of the Police Service.
Maurice Paterson comments about rumours in relation to the disappearance of Irie Bishop. He writes:
Fingers had begun to point right there in the Service when disgruntled police officers began to push for a more serious inquiry into the Inspector's disappearance.
Rumours, one after another, began a crab-race competing with each other.
That Irie Bishop had disappeared was the one indisputable fact.
(1) Bishop had been drinking in a downtown, well-known, bar where Mongoose members hung out. He was killed, with his body cut into small pieces to be fed to sharks, according to Paterson, "outside Point Salines from aboard the coast guard, because he was an undercover member of the NJM." In fact, Paterson elaborates that -
He had been killed for being an undercover agent of the communist Jewel, and he carried the same name of the Jewel leader - was why his body had been used in obeah sacrifice.
(2) Bishop was killed by the New Jewel Movement to disrupt the police force. The reasoning for this is Irie Bishop's disappearance followed on the heels of the assassination of Innocent Belmar on 4 January 1978.
(3) Bishop was fishing off Ross Point, the Carenage, when he tried to, again according to Paterson, "to intercept another fishing boat that was bringing arms for the NJM and then he was killed."
(4) Bishop disappeared, Paterson reports, "with only the civilian clothes on his back leaving his wallet and gun on his unmade bed."
(5) The speculation is Irie Bishop was a member of NJM, or a person who favored the New Jewel Movement [NJM].
(6) The owner of the Mongoose Bar had been detained with no charges laid.
(7) Later in February 1979, the Torchlight received three phone calls, all saying Bishop went to the Doctor and that he was still alive and though he was receiving medical treatment a specialist was needed.
(8) One theory had Irie going to Trinidad on secret business.
SIGNIFICANT AFTER EVENTS
The information above was reported in the Torchlight.
According to a usually reliable source Inspector [Irie] Bishop was taken by a woman to see a doctor on the morning of 20 December last. Since then he has not been seen nor heard from. At the same time he was carrying his service revolver and a few rounds of ammunition.
In a mid-February 1979 Torchlight article, by Criminologist, reported that after 57 days, no doctor on Grenada had confirmed treating him, and no pharmacy [all checked] had any requests for medication related to him.
His friends and family searched and searched for him in Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique.
'Criminologist' investigated and found no announcement in Force Orders or elsewhere of Bishop's being missing. The [Grenada Government] Gazette had not reported him as having been away on leave or without leave. There was no massive organized search initiated by the Gairy Police Force.
Superintendent of Police Anthony 'Luckey' Bernard was admitted to the private block of St. George's General Hospital Monday afternoon 12 February 1979. There was no additional information except that the Superintendent had recently been rapidly losing weight. Later, shortly after 13 March 1979, Bernard was shot in head. He continued with the police force until 1980. Luckey Bernard died in a Texas hospital in the spring of 1983 supposedly from complications of the after-effects from the poisoning which hospitalized him 12 February 1979.e
Inspector Bishop's December salary of $481.00 was paid to his eldest daughter by a senior police officer after she sought information about her father. Later the daughter went to Insp. Bishop's office at the Esplanade Police Station on Melville Street and took away her father's passport, his Visa to the U.S., and other passports and Via applications concerning the children. After that December salary, the family in Carriacou did not have the $300.00 per month their father had sent them regularly.
The Inspector, the January police report said, had been contemplating retirement from the Force. He had given about twenty-five years of service rising to the rank of Inspector in the last two years.
He was described as a police officer who could not be bought, or used by others. A quiet man, Irie Bishop was known, according to a Torchlight reporter, to be frustrated because he could not perform his duties efficiently. Sources close to the police disclosed Bishop had submitted a Report to his superiors in connection with the breaking of the Kirpalani store on Melville Street--The store is not far from the station he commanded. Since that report, 'Bish', as he was popularly called, was the victim of taunts and threats from a group of known criminals.
ABOUT IRIE BISHOP AND HIS FAMILY
Irie Bishop was known as a good husband and a family man.
Inspector [Irie] Bishop was planning to move to the United States sometime in December 1978, when his body vanished. His wife was in the United States, and his children lived on Carriacou. His wife, Adina Coy was from Carriacou. Their home was in Hillsborough, Carriacou.
Irie Bishop had 13 children. Eight offspring with Adina were, at the time of his disappearance, a 21-year-old daughter Urva, employed; a 20-year-old son Kennedy, employed; Wilbur, 19, was employed at the same Esplanade Police Station when Irie disappeared; a 15-year-old son Derek/Derrick; a 14-year-old daughter Annette; a 13-year-old daughter Sharon; a 10-year-old Floyd Peter; and a 6-year-old Irie Jr.
Law enforcement work was the employment chosen by Irie's children. Three of Irie's kids with Adina served in the RGPF at the time of Irie's disappearance. At that every same Esplanade Police Station, when they were grown, Annette joined the RGPF at 19-years-old, and later also Floyd Peter.
Adina's brother Benjamin Coy and her sister Mary David provided support for the youngsters in the family, as did the greater community of Hillsborough and the entire parish of Carriacou look after them all.
* NOTE: From a Letter to the Editor of the 14 February 1979 issue of Torchlight from a Danny Williams concerning the disappearance of Irie Bishop.
** ADDITIONAL NOTE: From a microfiche copy housed at the US National Archives, College Park, MD.
If you have any information regarding the disappearance of Irie Bishop, please notify the webmaster at the email address below, and your email will be forwarded to one of Irie Bishop's children.