Letters

Open letter to Cletus St Paul

Dear Colleague,

I have recently been informed of a series of alleged serious sexual assaults on women made against Cletus St. Paul, one of Prime Minister Keith Mitchell’s security detail, and I wish to state the following.

I have known Cletus for over 35 years. Firstly, in his role as a member of the late Prime Minister Maurice Bishop’s security detail, during the period when I served as UK and EEC Trade Officer for the People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG), and latterly in other roles.

Regarding these allegations I respectfully call upon everyone to allow for due process and for him to be treated fairly and considered innocent until, and if, proven guilty in a properly constituted court.

It must be remembered that St. Paul has been a loyal servant to the people of Grenada, covering several decades. Firstly, in his role as a member of Prime Minister Maurice Bishop’s security detail during the Grenada Revolution, from 1979 to 1983, and latterly in a similar role with PM Keith Mitchell.

However, I am aware, as he is, that it is alleged he committed perjury during the trial of Mitchell et al – v – The Queen, commonly referred to as the Grenada 17, following the US invasion of Grenada. His evidence, which contained a series of totally contradictory statements, led to death sentences being passed against 14 of the 17. It was only through the worldwide campaign that the judicial murders of these Grenadians and one Jamaican was prevented.

A number of current press reports from Grenada state that St. Paul provided the key piece of evidence that was used to convict former Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard and other members of the Central Committee of the New Jewel Movement (NJM) and People’s Revolutionary Army (PRA). They were charged with ordering the killing of Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and others, in an unconstitutional “court of necessity” established by the US invaders in Grenada.

St. Paul was the only witness called against them.

During this US orchestrated trial he claimed that he was arrested by the Revolution’s security forces and taken into custody on October 19th 1983. He was taken to Camp Fedon in Calivigny and then Fort Frederick, some 90 minutes after the arrival of the Central Committee members. He states that he witnessed the Central Committee of the NJM holding a meeting there and voting to execute Bishop.

This is absolutely incorrect, as is the “narrative” that the dispute within the NJM, then in the leadership of the People’s Revolutionary Government resulted in anyone giving orders for Prime Minister Bishop and others to be killed.

St. Paul gave a variety of statements to the US occupation forces, all of which contradicted the other. These were denied to the Seventeen and their defence team. He eventually gave a statement to the Americans, which they wanted, as it fitted their narrative, namely that Bishop was killed on the orders of a faction of the NJM. I do not know if St. Paul was tortured and/or given an inducement to make such a statement. However, Amnesty International confirmed.

“…The issue of the conflicting statements of St. Paul were scheduled to be examined by the Court of Appeal. The President of the Court, Justice Haynes, had stated that he intended to call St. Paul to appear before the Court to answer questions about his testimony. However, Justice Haynes died before the hearing took place…”

Further, a number of witnesses state that St. Paul could not have seen any Central Committee members convening at Fort Frederick as he was at Camp Fedon before being brought to Fort Frederick by a unit of the PRA led by W/O Conrad Mayers.

In particular, Errol George, also a member of Prime Minister Bishop’s security detail, was given the task of supervising St. Paul on the day in question. He stated in a sworn affidavit on the 1st August 1991 that he was with St. Paul from approximately 12:30 p.m. onwards on the 19th October 1983 at Fort Frederick. During that time he did not leave St. Paul’s presence.

Although George saw some members of the Central Committee at a distance on Fort Frederick from time to time, he did not see them in congregation with each other. The details of the events on that tragic day can be easily clarified with a phone call to the former PRA officers and soldiers who were on Fort Frederick on that day, many of whom are still alive and living in Grenada.

I call on my dear friend Cletus to renounce his testimonies given in the Grenada 17 trial. Were he to do so it will be several years overdue and is often said “justice delayed is justice denied”, nevertheless, it will bring partial closure to an unhappy chapter in Grenada’s history.

If Cletus recants his evidence he will state that although arrested, for spreading a false rumour that brought the country to a state of paralysis, he could not physically see what he claimed to have observed on Fort Frederick.

I say to Cletus please make a clean breast of this situation and clear your conscience. Now is the time to do so. Please do not go down in history with this falsehood against your name.

Yours truly
Dennis Bartholomew

Editor’s Note: The writer seems to know a lot about what happened on October 19, 1983 concerning the execution of Prime Minister Maurice Bishop. We welcome another letter from him giving us information on what really happened on the day and how the Prime Minister was actually killed on Fort Rupert.

General Hudson Austin and others have said it was during crossfire but many eyewitnesses saw Maurice Bishop coming out of the Operations Room alive after the army assault and firing on the fort had died down.

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