Truth and Reconciliation Report
The Grenada Truth and Reconciliation Commission began gathering information 4 September 2001. The Commission was headed by Donald A.B. Trotman, former Senior Law Tutor at the Norman Manley Law School; practising attorney-at-law; author of Human Rights in Grenada; former High Court judge. Justice Trotman was appointed Chairman by Sir Daniel Williams.
Covering the period 1 January 1976 through 31 December 1991, the TRC Report is in three parts. Volume I is the Report itself. Volume II consists of references and supplemental material. Volume III are source copies of letters and statements and other documents presented to the Commission, at times in lieu of a personal appearance.
On 29 March 2006, the completed TRC Report was sent to the Governor-General's Office of Sir Daniel Williams.
The TRC Report was tabled in Parliament the end of June, 2006.
One hundred or so copies were released to Members of Parliament and others on Tuesday, 27 June 2006.
The document was scheduled to be sold to the public at the Government Printery for $75EC the first week of July 2006. Unfortunately as of July 5, the report was not available, ostensibly because it had not been signed by a third minister of government.
By September confirmation is received that the TRC Report is for sale at the printery. Volumes One and Two of the TRC Report were received by this web administrator 27 September 2006 via FEDEX.These two volumes were purchased and mailed to the web administrator thanks to a private Grenadian citizen.
In the spirit of broadcasting the TRC Report [as was indicated by the Commissioners] this web administrator began a series of communications to the Governor-General's office the end of March and the Grenada Government Press Office repeatedly in the ensuing months for a copy [reimbursement paid] so that the bulk of the TRC Report could be placed online for many to view. No copy was received from any Grenada government source.
As a non-profit, education web site on the history of Grenada taken from printed sources during the period covered by the TRC Report, the web administrator has included this document on this site. Check TRC Report
The Grenada Truth and Reconciliation Report attempts to be in keeping with the spirit of other national reconciliation efforts. The Grenada TRC Report is a written report, and not a vehicle for the confrontation of conflicting parties working towards resolution.
Snap Shot of the TRC Report
"Redeeming the past: A time for healing" -
Volume I, p. 39
But the "Grenada 17" are not on trial before the Commission and in any event the Commission cannot lawfully presume or does not want to embark upon any excursion into the deeds or misdeeds of the "Grenada 17". To do so would be to enter into the preserve of the judiciary and to usurp the powers of forensic functionaries.
However, the Commission cannot be disregarding and dismissive of their representations made to it in the memorandum of 20th May 2002, submitted and presented to it by legal counsel Mr. Scotland. In particular, their persuasive complaint that their guilt and conviction were determined on the basis of an unfair trial.
Legal counsel may take weighty submissions about the fairness or unfairness of a trial; learned judges may pronounce with equal gravity upon these submissions. But when all is said and done, the crucial test of a fair trial is whether the man or woman condemned at the end of the trial is satisfied that he or she has no good reason to cry foul; that justice was not only done and seem to be done, but also felt by him or her to have been done.
It is in the context of this perspective, therefore, and having regard to the need for both victims of wrong doing and the alleged wrong doers to feel satisfied that justice is done to their respective causes for reconciliation to take place, that the Commission would prefer to see the State provide an appropriate opportunity for the "Grenada 17" to access existing or established Courts within the legal system and which would studiously ensure the process of fair trial, regardless of the outcome.
THE CONTINUED ABSENCE OF THE REMAINS OF THOSE WHO WERE EXECUTED ON FORT RUPERT ON OCTOBER 19TH 1983.
The general trend among the majority of persons with whom the Commission interacted, for example:
- Those who came to give evidence and testimony before the T.R.C.;
- Those who attended the public outreach/public hearings of the Commission in different parts of the island;
- Those who sent in memoranda and letters;
- Loved ones and close relatives of those who were killed in the tragedy on Fort Rupert on October 19th 1983, as well as the relatives and loved ones of those who died as a result of the tragedy of October 19th 1983 whom the members of the T.R.C. visited;
- Some prominent citizens who were politically involved in the past, and on whom the members of the T.R.C. paid courtesy calls. Although they would have like to do so, unfortunately, the Commissioners were unable to meet with any relatives of the former P.R.G. and P.R.A. officials who are presently incarcerated at the Richmond Hill Prison.
The T.R.C. therefore recommends that those in authority should persistently make serious public appeals, and take some seriously relevant actions nationally, regionally, and internationally to ascertain from those who may know where those remains are, or what may have happened to them, with the hope that such persons may - even anonymously - divulge what they know. The families of the missing have a right to the remains of their loved ones.
THE CONTINUED INCARCERATION OF THE FORMER LEADERS OF THE P.R.G. AND THE P.R.A. (ALSO KNOWN AS THE GRENADA 17)
Based on information gathered from many different sources, the continued incarceration of the "Grenada 17" continues to be a major cause of division among Grenadians, as well as a barrier to reconciliation.
There continues to be a lot of controversy however, surrounding the issue of the "Grenada 17", especially the circumstances surrounding their trial and appeal. While some maintain that they should remain imprisoned, many others maintain that they should be freed if there is to be genuine healing and reconciliation in the nation. The Commission recognises that the ultimate fate of the "Grenada 17" is a matter for the Court and the Legal System, since the main objective of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is to deal with the healing and reconciliation process. The T.R.C. was not set up to be a Court of Law or to find anyone guilty or innocent for that matter.
The T.R.C. recommends, however, that as far as it is possible and in the interest of national healing and reconciliation, arrangements could be made, and proper security structures to be put in place so that the families of those who died on the Fort, or as a result of that tragedy, as well as living victims of the P.R.G. regime, can confront the "Grenada 17" in an open hearing.
Such a meeting, if it were to take place, will be difficult and painful experience for many on both sides. However, such face-to-face encounter can be cathartic. Family members of those who were executed, as well as living victims of the P.R.G. regime should have an opportunity to meet face-to-face with those who allegedly executed their loved ones, tortured and brutalized others, and ask them questions about the tragedy. It is their right to know exactly what happened and why, and they should not be denied such an opportunity. The truth did not die with those who died. A lot of truth remains alive with many of the living. The truth must be known.
Part 10, courtesy of the Grenadian Voice of 1 April 2006:
This enquiry has been concluded on the premise that Grenadians need to know the truth about the past in order to be reconciled presently and for the future. Knowing the truth for the purpose of reconciliation is not an option, but a must.
Much appreciation to M. Bascombe for keying in the above sections of the TRC Report on Talkshop, a public Grenada discussion site, and to the Grenadian Voice for the concluding paragraph.