Hundreds at funeral of cop killed in ambush By Jeune Bailey Van-Keric
Guyana Chronicle
June 4, 2002

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`The time has come for sober thinking Guyanese to support the Guyana Police Force...and to root out banditry with vigour. The Force will not disintegrate, but will keep fighting' - Police Commissioner Floyd McDonald
HUNDREDS of people from all sections of society Sunday paid their final respects to slain Police Constable 18521 Sherwin Martin Allen, who was in a patrol that was shot at by men in an ambush on May 25 last aback of Coldingen Industrial Estate, East Coast Demerara.

Three other Policemen were wounded in the attack which has been linked to the five dangerous criminals who escaped from the Georgetown Prison on February 23.

The funeral service for the murdered Constable was held at the Bethel New Testament Church of God, Mount Sinai, West Canje, Berbice.

The church was packed with scores spilling into the yard, lining the streets and under nearby houses.

Members of the Police Force in attendance put on a moving ceremonial display in honour of their fallen colleague.

Many glowing tributes revealed that though his life was short, it had touched and illuminated the lives of many.

His friend Conrade Fraser in his eulogy said, "He was always ready to transform one's sorrow into joy."

Along with a passion for music, his love for people allowed him to seek employment within the Force where he dedicated himself to make Guyana a secure place, he said.

Fraser noted that Allen, 26, would be remembered for his courage, strength and selfless sacrifice for his fellow man.

Commissioner of Police, Mr. Floyd McDonald said the entire Guyana Police Force was saddened at the brutal slaying of Allen, "who was shot on duty at the hands of rogues, bandits and criminals."

"For too long members of the Force have been taken for granted...Policemen and women are not expendable", he said.

He noted that were it not for the training the ranks had received, other lives would have been lost in the ambush.

McDonald was critical of a section of society, which he said gave criminals national prominence after they are killed by ranks of the law enforcement agency.

"Even international bodies are highly critical over what they describe as the use of force in ridding the country of banditry, but when an officer succumbs at the hands of these hardened criminals, there is a deafening silence", he stressed.

He noted that the Police Force did not mind criticism, but strongly condemned statements showered in support of the criminals, which cause them to react boldly.

"The time has come for sober thinking Guyanese to support the Guyana Police Force...and to root out banditry with vigour. The Force will not disintegrate, but will keep fighting", he declared.

Home Affairs Minister, Mr. Ronald Gajraj condemned acts of a section of the society who utter blaring cries when a criminal is shot by a Police Officer and was critical of those who make claims without knowing the facts.

"No one condemns the acts of cruelty against a member of the Guyana Police Force (and) persons believe they can support these criminals", the minister told the congregation.

"We are paying an expensive price, but we will not sacrifice the lives of our Policemen at the expense of thieves", he stressed.

Referring to sanctions previously imposed by the United States on the issue of deportees from that country, which caused non-immigrant visas to be withheld from Government employees and their immediate relatives, Gajraj said the public was highly critical about the Government's stand, but noted that due to the acceptance of the deportees "we are reaping from it now".

He condemned the hostile press that the Police have to withstand and was critical of persons who file private criminal charges for murder when the Police take action, but do nothing when a criminal kills a Policeman.

Gajraj encouraged the bereaved to stand on the side of the law.
Constable Sherwin Allen was enlisted in the Force on July 13, 2000 and on completing the required training with distinction was posted to 'C' Division where he volunteered to become a member of a special unit.

On the evening he was shot, Allen was heard saying, "Let's make another spin in the area", although he would have completed his shift.

Gajraj noted that the Constable had acquitted himself with distinction and showed promise of being a well-respected and knowledgeable officer.

Following a very moving, but impressive and orderly funeral service, the body was conveyed to the Stanleytown Cemetery by ranks of the Police Force where it was buried with full military honours. Allen was accorded a 21-gun salute.

Among others at the service were Commander 'C' Division, Assistant Commissioner Mohamed Jameer, Commander 'B' Division Paul Slowe and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ms. Angela Johnson.

Officiating Pastor was Raymond Persaud.