Police Force remembers fallen officers

Police Force remembers fallen officers

As scattered showers blew over Georgetown on Sunday morning, members of the Guyana Police Force gathered at the Police Monument site at Eve Leary, Georgetown to remember those officers who were killed in the line of duty.

According to the Guyana Police Force, since 1913, sixty policemen have been killed in the line of duty. The sixty officers would have been those killed in the firing line.

Policemen like Constable Dorwin Pitman who collapsed and died from a heart attack in June, 2013 while chasing a prison escapee are not named among those to have died in the line of duty. Assistant Police Commissioner George Vyphuis on Sunday said the Force would have to look at a category for those ranks who died in the line of duty but not under violent or criminal circumstances.

The first Policeman killed in the line of duty was Corporal James Ramsey. In 1913, he was killed at Plantation Rose Hall in Canje, Berbice by armed strikers. The last policeman to have been killed in the line of duty was Corporal Romain Cleto who was gunned down by suspected criminals on April 27, 2013 at Avenue of the Republic in Georgetown.DSC04656

The Cleto murder remains an unsolved mystery. Two men were initially fingered and charged for his murder, but the case against both of them were withdrawn for lack of evidence. His killers remain at large.

There was a spike in police killings in 2002 and 2003 during the crime wave. Twenty two police officers were gunned down during that period. Many of those cases also remain unsolved.

Police Commissioner Leroy Brumell on Sunday said the Guyana Police Force remains committed to solving those cases and ensuring justice for all the officers who were killed in the line of duty. He told relatives gathered for the wreath laying and memorial ceremony that the Guyana Police Force will never forget the contributions of those who died.

“What I can tell you is that those lives that were snuffed out of those ranks, they made us as members of the Force and the Joint Services as a whole to be security conscious of our surroundings as we continue to uphold law and order in this country”, the Commissioner said.

Brumell said the Force will do its “utmost” to ensure that those persons who are still on the run for police killings are brought to justice. He said the Force would like the families of the decease to know that “while we cannot restore the lives of those ranks who died, I want to let you know that we continue to share in your bereavement”.

The Guyana Police Force is currently celebrating its 174th Anniversary and the wreath laying ceremony for fallen heroes is ¬†one of the activities to mark the milestone. The event was added to the Force’s calendar 11 years ago and the Commissioner said he knows Police Commissioners after him will continue the observance.

Guyana’s Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee who has been severely criticised by the political opposition for his “lack of leadership” of the security sector, offered words of comfort to the relatives and friends of the fallen heroes of the Guyana Police Force.

DSC04655The Minister quoted lines from the National Anthem to offer praise to the fallen policemen. He said “to dedicate one’s energies towards the happiness and the prosperity of their country is indeed a noble and honourable cause.”

He added that the Government of Guyana was pleased to stand in respect of those who would have given their lives for their country since “to give your life for the homeland must be recognised by those of us who still breathe and who are alive”

According to Rohee, a look at the ranks of the policemen killed in the line of duty shows that there is a certain category of policemen who are exposed more to danger. The majority of policemen killed in the line of duty were constables and corporals. The Home Affairs Minister issued a warning to criminals, that the same way that policemen are being targeted, they should know that criminals themselves continue to be targeted by the police force.

The Sunday morning ceremony was a very solemn one. Senior members of the Police Force joined the Home Affairs Minister and family members of the fallen ranks in laying floral tributes at the monument site in honour of those who ranks who died.

(Filed 14th July, 2013)

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