Joseph Ewart Layne responds to false allegations printed in The New Today

Mr. George Worme
The New Today

Dear Sir,

My name is Joseph Ewart Layne. It has been drawn to my attention that commencing on 5th October 2018 or thereabout, and continuing up to 5th November 2018 thus far, your newspaper has carried a series of articles focused on my quest to obtain a licence to practice the profession of law in Grenada. Indeed, my attention was triggered by information sent to me from someone in England who accessed one of your articles, dated 5th November, from your website.

I have now had the opportunity to read the series of articles. I note the negative content and vicious tone of your articles, including scurrilous ‘information’ contained in them. I know that when you refer to me as a “Bishop Killer” that you are taking refuge in the convictions recorded against me in a trial process that has been condemned internationally, inter alia, as

“A Travesty of Justice”; a trial process that was upheld on appeal yet the appeal judges to this day, 27 years later, have not produced a written judgment. However, it is not my intention to address all the negative issues raised in the series of articles. I am confident that in the fullness of time all issues including that of the convictions will be adequately addressed.
But I wish to respond to the allegation, repeated on several occasions in your articles that I participated personally in the physical torture of one Winston Simon. My response, at this time, is for the record, since, in the absence of a response, the unsuspecting reader may be taken in by the Goebbels style technique employed by your newspaper of regularly repeating a lie so that appears true.

I wish to state that I categorically deny the allegations against me outlined in your articles and emphatically assert that they are false. I wish to also state the following to give context and subtext as to these allegations:

* The allegation against me first surfaced in early 1984, after the US-led invasion of Grenada.

*It arose following a complaint that I made in writing, to the Governor General, in November 1983, after I was tortured over a period of 16 hours at the hands of police officers attached to the invading forces. This torture was in an effort to extract a false confession from me regarding the events of October 19th 1983.

* The charges which you refer to were brought by the same foreign police officers against whom I made the complaint. These charges were ultimately dismissed by the Court.

*Winston Simon was indeed a detainee of the People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG). He was arrested in 1980 shortly after the Queen’s Park bombing on June 19th of that year. The bombing was a clear attempt to assassinate the leaders of the PRG. The bomb was placed under a podium occupied by the PRG leaders at a mass rally. The PRG leaders escaped but the blast killed three innocent Grenadians and injured scores of others.

* Winston Simon was arrested on suspicion that he had harboured and was assisting those who were suspected of carrying out the bombing. The said suspects were later captured on an offshore island of Grenada pursuant to information provided by Winston Simon.

* I commanded the operation leading to the capture of those suspected of the bombing. As a military commander, I was not involved in interrogating prisoners or suspects and I did not so do.

* The bombers were tried and convicted of murder for the Queen’s Park killings. At the time of the US invasion they were on death row awaiting their appeal. Following the US invasion, they were pardoned by the Governor General and released from Prison.

* The actions of the invaders in bringing charges against me was part of the effort to destroy my name, character and reputation as the youngest leader of the Grenada Revolution. The charges were also in retaliation for complaints made by me, and other of my colleagues, about being tortured. The charges were further calculated to sanitize those responsible for the Queen’s Park killings and to cast them in the role of victims. In this regard, it is of significance that one of those convicted of the bombing, shortly after he was pardoned and released, took up a diplomatic position in the United States with the government of Grenada.

However, quite apart from my denial, on your newspaper’s admission, I have never been convicted in relation to these allegations regarding the torture of Winston Simon. As you, your advisors and collaborators are well aware, as a matter of constitutional law, I am presumed to be innocent; and I am entitled to be so treated. Yet, in an act of unmitigated gutter journalism, you have printed these allegations, to be circulated around the world, as if they have been proven to be true: without giving me or anyone acting on my behalf an opportunity to respond or comment on them. Your deep seated hatred of the Grenada Revolution and of revolutionaries, and the jealousy generated within you and your cohorts by any positive achievement by any of them (myself in this instance), have caused you to ketch journalistic rabies at the thought that I may succeed in my quest to obtain a licence to practice law.

In closing, I call on you to print this response in full in the next issue of your newspaper and on your website. However, I ask that when you print it, so as to empower your readers to exercise judgment as to whether the contents of your newspaper can be trusted, please disclose, in a preamble or postscript, whether or not the editor of the New Today was criminally convicted within the last three years for an offence involving dishonesty committed within the last seven years, when he was a mature man in his late fifties. And if the answer is yes, please explain why such an event was never covered, not to mention featured, within the pages of your newspaper. I’m sure we will agree on at least one thing: it is in the public interest to be aware of the answer to the questions in the two immediately preceding paragraphs, given the stance you and your newspaper adopt as a paragon of honesty, integrity and truth; and given the prerogative you have arrogated onto yourself to pronounce guilt in the absence of a determination by a court.

Please be advised that I reserve all my rights regarding the matters addressed herein.

Joseph Ewart Layne

Cc: Trinidad Express Newspapers Limited

Editor’s Note: Can Mr. Ewart Layne inform the people of Grenada truthfully whether the New Jewel Movement (NJM) which was the ruling party in the Grenada Revolution did or did not sanction him along with another top army officer for the said incident involving Winston “Broko” Simon? We are willing to also publish his response to this very question now being asked of him.
I was never criminally convicted for murder; my hands are clean and have no blood on it.

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