Innocent Belmar

BELMAR3

Innocent Belmar minister of agriculture in the GULP government became the first minister of             government to be assassinated in Grenada. He was gun down at the Bamboo Bar Restaurant in Adelphi, St. Andrew’s on the night of January 3, 1978 and died at the General Hospital in St. George’s on January 4, 1978.

Belmar was at the restaurant with several of his friends celebrating the long New Year’s holiday, when two gun men entered shooting Belmar in the chest.

Mr. Belmar served Grenada through the ranks of the Royal Grenada Police Force, up the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP).  Belmar was elected to the House of Representative in December 1976 easily winning the rural constituency of St. Andrew’s North West by over 75% of the votes cast.

Belmar was a very controversial figure, he was accused by the opposition parties of police             brutality.  Belmar resigned his position as ASP in 1975 after the Dufus Commission cited him for several violations.

Two men Kennedy Budhall and Lauristan Wilson were charged with the murder, but in a trial influenced by politics, both men were acquitted on all charges.  At the end of the trial Chief Justice Archibald Nedd asked that the members of the jury be excused from future jury duties.

Addressing Parliament a few days after the murder, Kenrick Radix shocked Grenadians. in his tribute to Belmar, Radix referred to him as a good man, he said that Belmar saved his life  together with Maurice Bishop and other members of the New Jewel Movement (NJM) from an angry crowd in Grenville on Bloody Sunday. 

Thousands of Grenadians filled the Birchgrove  Roman Catholic Church for the   State Funeral on Sunday January 8th.  Belmar was laid to rest at the Adelphi Cemetery.

Belmar was loved by many and hated by many.  Regardless of  one’s opinion, Innocent Belmar will always remain a part of our history.

by TL Neckles December 31, 2002

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