Thirty-five years after the collapse of the ill-fated Grenada Revolution, evidence is emerging that two former army Captains were often used by the People’s Revolutionary Army (PRA) to detain opponents of the regime.
Ex-New Jewel movement (NJM) member, Teddy Victor identified Captains Peter David and Lester “Goat” Redhead as two of the army chiefs present when he was taken into custody months after the revolutionaries seized power on March 13, 1979 in a coup d’etat against the elected Eric Gairy government.
Victor identified the two in his recently released book named “Deception on Conception”.
Over this weekend, long-standing barrister-at-law, Eamon De Frietas told THE NEW TODAY newspaper that David, now an attorney-at-law himself, and Redhead who was convicted for the 1983 bloody murder of left-leaning Prime Minister Maurice Bishop were the ones who took him into custody in 1979.
De Frietas, now 76 years old, along with late medical doctors, Jensen Otway and Dr. Rupert Japal were detained by the Security Forces amidst allegations that they were engaged in a plot to remove Bishop’s People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) from power.
In a telephone conversation with THE NEW TODAY, De Frietas who was visiting the island for the funeral of late QC, Carol Bristol said that both David and Redhead swooped down on his home around 2.00 a.m to take him into custody over the alleged coup plot.
He said he was whisked away from his wife who weeks earlier had just given birth to a baby girl for him.
De Frietas spoke of being blindfolded by Captains David and Redhead and bundled into a vehicle in which Dr. Japal was already seated since he was already captured and taken away from his home in St. Mark’s.
According to De Frietas the two army captains “did all sorts of things to him” but he did not elaborate.
However, he said that on the ride to Fort George where they were put into cells both Captains David and Redhead tried to get him to beat up Dr. Japal.
“They were saying to me that it was Japal who squealed on me and that I should now hit him for doing that. I did not bother with them”, said DeFrietas.
The attorney who had a thriving practice on Church Street was kept in custody for about five weeks until he was sent into exile by the PRG leaders.
DeFrietas was the only Grenadian known to be thrown out of his own country by the Grenada Revolution and forced into exile.
He spoke of being given 12 days to leave Grenada as part of thecondition to release him from custody as a political detainee.
He said he fled the island in 8 days and was taken to the airport to leave Grenada by Bristol, a former Grenada Chief Justice who was aclose friend.
Speculation is rife that Bristol was among Grenadian and Caribbean attorneys who pleaded with the PRG to release DeFrietas from custody.
DeFrietas who makes regular visits to the island of his birth recalled that the last time he saw his friend Dr. Japal alive he was a virtual cripple from the scars allegedly left behind on his body by torture at the hands of PRA elements.
Several former detainees claimed that during his incarceration at the fort, the head of Dr. Japal was repeatedly put into a toilet bowl which was then flushed several times as part of the PRG torture chamber.
DeFrietas took refuge in Dominica which was then ruled by Prime Minister, Dame Eugenia Charles, a fierce critic of Bishop’s Marxist experiment in the Spice Isle.
During Bristol’s funeral, De Frietas was seen engaged in deep conversation with former Prime Minister Tillman Thomas who had agreed to engage David and some other leading revolutionaries into frontline politics with the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
After the engagement, Thomas confirmed to THE NEW TODAY that De Frietas gave him a broadside for engaging David politically since he viewed him as “a dangerous person”.
David who is now associated with the ruling New National Patty (NNP) of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell played a significant role in the in-fighting that engulfed the Congress government which ruled the island between 2008 and 2013.
Another prominent attorney-at-law, the late Robert “Soca Boca” Grant had named David as the person who came to his home at St. Paul’s around 4.00 a.m one morning in the early 1980’s to deliver a serious warning to him.
Grant had given an interview with George Worme, then a correspondent for the Montserrat-based Radio Antilles and the Caribbean News Agency (CANA) in which he gave reasons for resigning from a top legal position with the PRG and go into private practice.
He said he had disagreements with then Secretary for Information, Phyllis Coard, wife of Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard who wanted him to draft a law to give the State greater control on the lives of children in the country.
According to Grant, in the wee hours after the story was reported by the regional media there was a knocking on his door.
“I got up to open the door but I was frightened like hell. I thought to myself that they come to take me now. It was Peter David who was knocking the door. I opened and he (David) told me that I had spoken with George Worme and I should not speak with him again”, he said.
The British-trained attorney-at-law told David that he did not speak with the journalist but David just repeated the warning to him and vanished into the dark night and to a waiting vehicle in which he sped
A year later Grant confirmed to the then Editor-in-Chief of CANA, Harry Mayers that he did speak the truth in the interview with the journalist but had to lie to David in order to save his skin since he was fearful for his life under the PRG.
David did not answer calls made by this newspaper to his cell phone number to respond to those allegations made against him by a fellow attorney-at-law.