ERI Oral Statement – Grenada March, 2019

Mr. President,

Edmund Rice International would like to raise an ongoing human rights issue in Grenada.

On October 19, 1983, the then Prime Minister of Grenada was executed along with eight others by a firing squad at Fort Rupert. Under the cover of darkness around 11:00 p.m. the bodies were loaded onto a truck and taken to a military camp where they were unceremoniously burnt in a pit. To date, the remains have never been returned to the families.

On September 4, 2001, acting in accordance with the advice of Cabinet, His Excellency the Governor General, was pleased to appoint a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, directing it to inquire into and record certain political events which occurred in Grenada during the period Jan 1, 1976 to Dec 31, 1991.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in its report tabled before Parliament in 2006 recognized that the truth surrounding the disappearance of the bodies is important to the Grenadian people. The Commission also called for efforts to be made to find the bodies of those who died during the coup and US invasion, and to pay compensation to their families. 

Grenada accepted the recommendation made by a number of States including France, during the second cycle of their UPR to ratify the ICPPED–the Treaty for the Protection of all persons from Enforced Disappearance, which to date they are still to do.

On November 8, 1983, the US Army along with a Jamaican soldier went to the military camp and exhumed some burnt human remains.  The Jamaican soldier confirmed in an interview that he helped recover intact human skulls and clothes belonging to the Prime Minister and Jacklene Creft, the latter being the only female to be executed on October 19. (Commission’s report pages 39-40).  A US official, in an interview to a leading newspaper, confirmed that a woman was recovered in that pit.

The commission interviewed Dr. Robert Jordon, an anatomist who was called upon by the US Army to examine the remains recovered on November 8, 1983. He found fragments of skulls but no intact skulls. In his opinion, the remains were dynamited (Commission report page 57). 

Both these accounts contradict the US Consultation Report, published by the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology on December 12, 1983.

ERI on behalf of the families of Norris Bain and Fitzroy Bain who were also executed that day recommends that the Government of Grenada:

1. Ratify the ICPPED

2.  Reopen the investigation to deal specifically with the discrepancies in the US Consultation Report, published by the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology on December 12, 1983 and the Commission’s report.

3.  Erect a memorial plaque on the site at which the 9 bodies were burnt between 19-20, October, 1983.  This would help bring some measure of closure and peace to the families.

Thank you.