Manchester police honour 16 retired cops

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Police here recently honoured 16 retired members for their sterling contribution to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and service that, when combined, amounted to more than 500 years.

Head of the Manchester police, Superintendent Gary Francis, lauded the retirees at a virtual awards ceremony on March 25.

“They would have served at the lower end 16 years and the highest 42 years, a cumulative total of 503 years of service which is commendable, given the VUCA [volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous] environment that we operate in,” he told the Jamaica Observer last week.

“The service they gave to the people of Jamaica, the least we could do is to recognise them. Given the COVID pandemic, where no gathering could be held, we had to utilise a virtual method for the ceremony,” said Francis.

“We thank them for their years of service and encourage them to continue to impact society in a positive way,” he added.

The honourees were inspectors Llewlyn Woodburn, Gaston Cameron, and Victor Henry; sergeants Jacqueline Wright and Veryl Davis; corporals Cleston Robinson and Doreen Wiggan; district constables Michael Bryan, Joan Frazer, Beveta Morgan, Felix Mitchell, Dennis Sawyers, Assad Swaby, Michael Edwards, Curtis Dixon, and Roy Griffiths.

Cameron, who retired after 42 years of service, recalled his short time as a cadet before he joined the police force.

“I was in the cadet crew for about two months and then I joined the [force] on March 26, 1979 and from there I spent 42 years. I decided to join the force because of employment and a desire to serve my country,” he said.

“There are so many memorable moments, but whenever I was able to help citizens, by charity or on the job, I knew that I did something good,” he added.

The country’s crime wave pains the retired cop who served in Manchester, Kingston, Clarendon, St Elizabeth, and Westmoreland. He called for harsher sentences.

“What I am seeing now with the crime situation, it really pains me to know that the crime is so high at this time, but I was always saying that since it’s almost taken from the hands of the police to fight the crime monster, I would like to see the Government put it in the hands of the court. We don’t manufacture guns in Jamaica, so why should somebody be caught with a gun and be given a slap on the wrist?” he asked.

“Nobody should be getting three years with gun crimes so prevalent in Jamaica. People should get at least 30 years, just catching you with the gun alone. If you use that gun to commit a crime like robbery, [add] another 10 years and if is murder, [add] another 10, make it 50,” he insisted.

“Until Jamaica reaches that stage, people will just keep killing others without hesitation, because it is like the law doesn’t have any teeth,” he added.

Another retiree, Joan Frazer, who served 27 years as a district constable in Portland and Manchester, reflected on her tenure.

“[It] allowed me to interact with both young and older people. The young ones were my priority, they would become the next generation and needed guidance. The JCF afforded me the opportunity, of which I am grateful and proud today, of hearing most of them say mommy, though I am not their birth mother,” she said.

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