Slain cop buried with full military honours
McDonald concerned at praise for bandits By Daniel DaCosta
Stabroek News
June 2, 2002

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An atmosphere of gloom covered the Bethel New Testament Church of God in Mt. Sinai, New Amsterdam yesterday as hundreds of mourners, members of the Guyana Police Force and curious Berbicians swarmed the sanctum and its environs to pay their last respects to slain Police Constable Sherwin Alleyne.

Alleyne, who hails from Angoy Avenue - a stone's throw from the church - died on May 27 at the Georgetown Hospital after being shot by armed bandits a few days earlier. He was buried with full military honours at the Stanleytown cemetery as dusk fell on a quiet Sunday afternoon.

The funeral service which began shortly after 3 pm saw a number of tributes being made by relatives, friends and colleagues. Earlier members of the force and the church choir kept those packed in the building and those outside occupied with a number of lively renditions. Minister of Home Affairs, Ronald Gajraj addressing the gathering, extended sympathy on his behalf and the government to the bereaved relatives saying that it is a time when the force is "bleeding." In the last few months, four policemen have been slain in separate incidents and several others injured. He expressed the hope that Alleyne's life will be an inspiration to other members of the force and Guyanese at large to stay on the side of the law and not to allow criminals to seek refuge among them. He recalled that Alleyne reportedly told his colleagues who were on patrol with him the day he was shot and who were about to change their shift...."let's make another spin."

Referring to the perception that the government was weak and not doing enough to capture the five escapees, the minister said "we must ensure that certain procedures and courses are pursued." He said the government is trying to incorporate others in the fight against crime pointing out that it is resolved in its efforts to deal with the situation. He also referred to what he described as the "deafening silence" today from those who are usually quick to condemn the police whenever a criminal is shot, echoing a similar lamentation by Commissioner of Police Floyd McDonald. Earlier, McDonald had told the gathering that "the Guyana Police Force is saddened at the brutal slaying of another policeman while serving his nation. For too long and too often members of the force have been taken for granted and it appears that little premium is being placed on the lives of the members of the Force."

According to the top cop "the force is concerned over the praise being showered on bandits today and this has emboldened them and their recent acts testify to this." He called on law abiding Guyanese to stand up against crime and not to allow banditry to take hold of society.

McDonald extended his sympathy to the relatives of the slain cop reassuring that the force will not "disintegrate but will continue to fight for the maintenance of law and order." He was also critical of those who "have a lot to say when a criminal is killed but have little to say when a policeman is killed."

A large number of police ranks and officers including some members of the Tactical Services Unit surrounded the church, some in ceremonial uniform while vehicles which formed part of the cortege created a traffic jam along the narrow access road. Scores of people lined sections of the roadway as they approached the cemetery to get a glimpse of the military procession. Among those paying tribute to the slain constable, who was born on January 14, 1976, was his father while the eulogy was read by Conrade Fraser. The officiating Pastor was Raymond Persaud.