Curtain call: Laurie Lewis calls it a day
Stabroek News
September 4, 2001

It was a glorious afternoon of mixed emotions - sadness and a sense of satisfaction - when the Guyana Police Force held a grand farewell parade in honour of Commissioner of Police, Laurie Lewis, who has been at its helm for 11 long years.

Attired in his ceremonial uniform, which was free of all creases, Commissioner Lewis went out in fine style, witnessed by several officials including, President Bharrat Jagdeo, Prime Minister Sam Hinds, Leader of the Opposition, Desmond Hoyte, Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, Brigadier Michael Atherly, Chancellor Desiree Bernard, Home Affairs Minister Ronald Gajraj and Commissioner Floyd McDonald, who took over the mantle from Lewis.

Under the sunny sky, the police band soothed the ears as Lewis, standing in the back of a van which was draped in the police colours, inspected the police ranks, well dressed in their uniforms and standing in a circle on the Police Sports Club Ground, Eve Leary.

The afternoon's proceedings would have been totally solemn with ranks attempting to hide their tears, were it not for the hilarity of Assistant Commissioner Ovid Glasgow.

Glasgow was given the task of chairing the afternoon's proceedings and he did more than that as he had all those present in an uproar at his jokes. As he rightly said he was trying to "lighten" up the programme.

Called to the podium to make his last public speech as commissioner of the Guyana Police Force, Lewis publicly admitted that the dark shades he was wearing at the time was to shield the fact that he was in tears.

Lewis described yesterday's parade as one of the best he has ever seen. "I was touched with a lot of emotion," Lewis told the hundreds who turned up to wish him farewell. He went down memory lane giving brief descriptions of the 40 years he spent in the force.

He gave the large gathering a concise list of all his accomplishments commenting that since no one would blow his trumpet he might as well do it himself. He spoke of his years before and after joining the force and mentioning his dream of a medical career which went "overboard" because his commitment to the force.

Lewis described his 11 years as commissioner as the "hardest years of his life." Lewis noted that he has worked under five presidents and disclosed that the transition periods were very "painful."

"But I did not do it alone," he said, referring to the more than adequate support he received from his ranks. He told the gathering that "we are in good hands in terms of preparation," referring no doubt to the fact the McDonald would stand in his shoes.

Lewis, who has been the second longest serving commissioner in the country's history, asked the ranks present to gave McDonald the full support they had given him over the years.

This must be funny: Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon (right) and Mayor Hamilton Green are seen sharing a joke during the farewell parade held in honour of departing police commissioner Laurie Lewis at the Police Sports Ground, Eve Leary yesterday. (Ken Moore photo)

On another note Lewis said he could not leave without publicly announcing the names of two of the best ministers he had ever worked with. He singled out former president, Janet Jagan, in her capacity as minister of Health and Mayor Hamilton Green in his capacity as minister of Public Works. He also thanked former president Hoyte for appointing him commissioner.

Two touching poems performed by Marissa Brutus and Melissa Lynch added something extra to the afternoon's proceedings. One of the poems entitled 'Goodbye Laurie' spoke about the commissioner giving up his soul for the protection of all and the other, 'Memories of you' spoke about how Lewis was a daddy who would surely be missed by all because he has always heard the cries of children.

The blaring of the sirens from the traffic motorcycles and cars, which were part of the march past and the solo rendition of "My Way" brought the curtains down on the afternoon's proceeding.

"The record shows I took the blows and did it my way," words of the song will stay in the minds of many for a very long time.