As the troubled Caribbean island of Grenada achieved its independence at midnight on Wednesday, Premier Eric Gairy's volunteer police force were armed and marching through the streets.
GV Volunteer police outside police station
SV Volunteers outside station including man with large baton
GV Armed volunteers along street (3 shots)
SV Volunteer interviewed
BOYD: "You have never beaten up anybody or hit them?"
VOLUNTEER: "No. Never. But I intend to as soon as they misbehave. I intend to at any time."
BOYD: "You don't think that Jewel have much support?"
VOLUNTEER: "They have a little but we have to sacrifice their life to protect the country."
Initials BB/2019 RS/CD/BB/2028
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Background: As the troubled Caribbean island of Grenada achieved its independence at midnight on Wednesday, Premier Eric Gairy's volunteer police force were armed and marching through the streets.
Hours before the Union Jack was lowered and replaced by the red, green and gold flag of the new republic, police arrested the leader of the opposition New Jewel movement, Mr. Maurice Bishop.
The New Jewel Movement and other opposition groups fear Premier Gairy will run the island dictatorially with the aid of strong arm aides.
The future behavior of the police volunteers, who have the title of Volunteers for the Protection of Fundamental Human Rights, will according to many Grenadians, greatly influence the future character of the Republic of Grenada.
For many years Mr. Gairy has been supported by an armed band known in the island as the "secret police". Many have criminal records because as Mr. Gairy once said: "It takes a thief to catch a thief."
The Premier says he has now disbanded the "secret police" after an outcry about alleged brutality last November. He says the new body -- the Volunteers have no connection with the old secret police.
But some Grenadians have told journalists that the Volunteers are modelled on the late President Duvalier's notorous Tonton Macute in Haiti.
It has been alleged that it was the volunteers who broke up a recent demonstration against Mr. Gairy and the opposition are convinced that it was the Volunteers who started the looting which has left almost every shop in the island empty and boarded up.
The commentary on this film is for guidance only. Part of an interview between reporter Bill Boyd and a police volunteer is used. Other parts of the interview are unintelligible.