I missed Fraser's funeral Frankly Speaking...
By A.A. Fenty
Stabroek News
April 12, 2002

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Perhaps at some degree of risk, I've chosen to offer a perspective or two on the demise of the late Head of the Target Special Squad of the Police Force's Anti-Crime Unit, Leon Fraser.

Actually, I suppose I'm going to record herein what I discovered about the doughty fearless crime-fighter, then will please the pro-crime elements by mentioning the rich rumour-mongering surrounding his death.

I think I can attribute my missing Superintendent Fraser's funeral last Saturday morning to another temporary "victory" for the forces of criminal and political evil. The funeral arrangements and venue(s) seemed to have been kept relatively hush-hush and shrouded in last-minute notification. I missed the early Saturday newspaper and eventually missed out on attending the Georgetown component of Fraser's Farewell. I suspect the authorities and family wished to minimise any expected lawlessness from the more gross of the pro-crime evil-doers who welcomed his passing.

I had wanted badly - to go pay my final respects to someone who enforced the law aggressively. Who epitomised courage and bravery which I can only dream of, or witness in the movies. When I listened, via live television, to Fraser's taunting and baiting of Blackie the Bandit during the Eccles siege, I concluded that that cop knew no fear; cared little for self. Because he would have known that the Robber/Desperado London was as good a shot as he Fraser was. But that morning, with a bravado born of determination, Fraser molested the criminal to distraction even as he knew that the outlaw had nearly killed a young soldier, shooting him through the eye, a short time before.

I first became aware of Police Death Squads as they operated in neighbouring Brazil since the late sixties. Those impatient or aggressive cops were initially fed up with the intricacies of the law letting go known, guilty criminals. The Brazilian lawmen then established little units which dispensed fatal final justice when the courts failed them and the wider society. Of course, that sort of dispensation soon gets out of hand, spawning real rogue cops who, invariably, become institutionalised, greedy and willing to divert from their original intent to rid the society of evil-doers, outside of constitutional and judicial systems.

However, I know for sure that the country's professional gangsters - whether undercover as Big Businessmen, Politicians and Professionals or the known Ghetto-based criminals - respected and feared Fraser and his squad. They knew and know that he knew them and their modus operandi inside out. He was relentless in the pursuit of them. That is why I, and thousands of others who are scared to go public with their praise and thanks, felt a little more secure. If even and only psychologically! One knew there was a tough hardened group of selfless policemen out there willing to tangle with law-breakers, perhaps from time to time using manner and methods not unlike the criminals?

Criminals and their sponsors would never be comfortable with the existence of such a Crime-Fighting swat squad as Laurie Lewis once explained to me publicly.

But who was Fraser?

I can't say I was a "Fraser person" - knowing him only from media images or to nod a greeting to him in his vehicle or when "hanging" on Regent Street. But I know fellows who worked with him from his days in the Mounted Branch of the Police Force and as a "Squaddy" in the Army's Cadet Corps. Then I heard the funeral-service tribute by his buddy Harold Hopkinson.

It turns out that this lawman was no dumb merely-tough-guy brainless cop. Hopkinson reports that Fraser gained eleven passes at the College of Preceptors exams, six with distinctions; five passes at the GCE in English, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics. Could this guy ever be a dolt? But wait. He then passed, at the same St Roses High, the Hinterland Project Studies Course; He gained a Guysuco Cadetship in 1981, proceeded to Trinidad's Institute of Agriculture and Forestry where he gained a Credit Diploma in Agricultural Science and a Proficiency Award in Farm Practicals. He later worked with Guysuco briefly.

In April 1985 - seventeen years ago - he joined the Police Force. Swiftly, his excellence was recognised, so he was sent to the GDF Standard Officer Cadet Course. His achievements on that course, as recorded by his squaddies and instructors are too many to detail here - suffice to say that even cop-cop ants gave up on him during field exercises, during the Escape and Evasion components. Again, then as a Police Assistant Superintendent, he was successful at a Junior Officers Course in 1988. In July 1989 he successfully completed the US Coast Guard Course in Maritime Law Enforcement. In 1991 he received certification for the "English Course for Officers". What a cop to lose!

I outline just some of Fraser's scholastic achievements to illustrate the fact that this policeman could have been an "Academic" or in some other field of endeavour besides crime-fighting. But the Top Shot of the Guyana National Rifle Association, after actually leaving the Police Force in 1993, succumbed to the Force's pleadings in 1996, returning "to help stem the tide of criminal activity."

Harold Hopkinson describes his late pal as "a well-rounded officer who led from the front". "He walked through many valleys - of death - laced with gunfire in the still of the night, or during the light of day. When the criminal element tried to make various parts of Guyana their haven, he routed them out ..." and when he was forced to employ appropriate methods, similar to the roughneck criminals', he was demonised by the Forces of Evil, for their own specific reasons.

How did he die? Speculation...

I last saw Mr Fraser alive on the night of Holy Saturday, March 30 last. As I was deciding just where to view the `Sixhead' Fight, Clem David, former Prime Ministerial candidate and current tele-activist was standing close to the Superintendent "hanging out" on Regent Street. In the Spirit of Easter, I accepted a bottle of beer from "PM Clem". People greeted the fearless, friendly - but - reserved cop all the time. He died not three days afterwards.

When current PNC chairman Robert H.O. Corbin was accused of a very naughty crime, some years ago, and offered Mr Hoyte his resignation, I was close to him then. As a few comrade-colleagues subtly abandoned him socially, I compiled a list of some thirty-six (36) rumours, subsidiary to, but supportive of the main allegation against him. I suppose I was one of the few not to believe the charge levelled against the then Deputy Prime Minister (Agriculture). Now surrounding Leon Fraser's death, there is a rich body of similar rumours.

There is in this politically-charged society, wherein centrally organised crime has become entrenched too, a group of dedicated rumour-mongering operatives who, to their dubious credit, have raised the technique of rumour-mongering to new levels, new heights. Mind you, I don't dismiss certain rumours easily. There may be truths lurking within. There might be people really in the know. But I "respect" today's professional - sometimes political - rumour-mongers for their skills, techniques and creativity as I'm bombarded with accounts of Fraser being "shot by his own (kind?) at Ogle"; about the "wealth" he has left; about certain alleged activities that brought about his demise at the hands of certain "business contacts" - from "within".

Whew! Poor me, I'm overwhelmed. However the man did die, I view his death as a severe loss to the nation's crime-fighting and security community. You can judge as to the types who will "celebrate" his passing.

Take care ...

1) See how the focus has shifted from the five jail-break escapees? Great Stuff fellas.

2) Appreciate the media treatment of Crime-Fighter Fraser's death? The images preferred by one TV Newscast nightly; the use of "portraits" of cops by one newspaper which benefits from apparent Police leaks, replete with fake "apologies."

3) The questions posed by Stabroek News regarding the Yarrowkabra Shoot-out, but not answered?

3b) Whatever happened to the Indo-Guyanese fellow who was shot seriously at the same time Donna McKinnon was shot fatally one year ago? Where is he? Suppose he had died too?

4) Because I have a space constraint which precludes me from having a whole page like some letter-writers to this 'paper, I just have to postpone my pieces on ACDA's Afro-centric orientation, the PNC's position on loans to Guyana and the response to Mr Deryck Bernard, once more.

5) Sticking my neck out on cricket: Parochial like hell, I predict that, because of Captain Hooper, Sarwan and Chanderpaul, the West Indies will beat India in this series!!

'Til next week!