Thousands at funeral of slain Police Officer By Shirley Thomas
Guyana Chronicle
September 13, 2002

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`Those who find pleasure in mentioning the names of members of the Force in a derogatory manner, particularly on television, cannot escape blame for what has been happening to our ranks, especially on this occasion' - Police Commissioner Floyd McDonald

THOUSANDS yesterday turned out to pay last respects to slain Police Chief Inspector, Leyland October who was last Friday night gunned down in cold blood at the corner of Russell and Sussex Streets, Georgetown.

Inspector October, the 10th Policeman to have been slain at the hands of bandits over the last six months, was greeted by a hail of gunfire as he was about to enter his car which was parked outside the popular `Duckie's Shop' in the area. The officer had gone there to buy ice cream for his granddaughter.

A deeply anguished Commissioner of Police, Mr. Floyd McDonald, as he delivered his tribute at the funeral ceremony at the St. Phillips Anglican Church, Georgetown, condemned the killing of the Police Officer.

"The Force is very much annoyed over this incident...We in the Force are very outraged over the brutal killing of this Inspector."

The Commissioner, on behalf of the Police Force, expressed profound condolences to the relatives and friends of the slain officer.

Noting that the Force had lost a very able and efficient officer, McDonald said that Mr. October's death only adds to the number of other deaths Policemen have suffered at the hands of bandits and those who support them. He said that any attack on any law enforcement officer is a direct attack on law and order, and that if not checked, there will be a breakdown in law and order - and confusion "will reign in our midst".

"That cannot be allowed to happen," he stressed.

To this end, the Commissioner sounded a clear warning that the Guyana Police Force stands ready and resolute as ever to deal with this situation.

"We cannot allow the deaths of our ranks, and injury suffered by others, to go in vain," he declared.

The top cop said that as a law enforcement agency the Force does not seek revenge, but seeks justice for its ranks. All of the perpetrators, when arrested, will face the courts, he warned.

The Commissioner admonished that this is a time for all to put emotions aside and face reality, for an attack on a law enforcement officer is a direct attack on law and order.

The Police Chief said that those who encourage the killing of members of the Force are as guilty as those who pull the trigger.

"Those who find pleasure in mentioning the names of members of the Force in a derogatory manner, particularly on television, cannot escape blame for what has been happening to our ranks, especially on this occasion."

Commenting on the recent upsurge of criminal activities and the wanton slaying of law enforcement officers, the Commissioner surmised that the next phase was anybody's guess. He said what was evident was that the entire society will suffer from the breakdown of law and order - even those who have been making misleading statements about the Guyana Police Force.

"We will all be consumed by unpleasant events if we do not take steps to change or correct this situation quickly", he warned.

Reflecting on the nature of the slain Chief Inspector, McDonald said: "We are very much saddened by the death of this outstanding Inspector."

He recalled that Mr. October was a very efficient and effective officer who was only doing his job, noting that he was very pleasant, but firm and was a very rounded Police Officer.

He was a trainer, Prosecutor, CID Officer and a General Duties Policeman. The entire Police Force has lost a very good Police Officer and an example of a dedicated Police rank, the Commissioner said.

McDonald, however, said that the Force was encouraged by the support of the general population in the efforts at ridding the society of those "parasites" who want to live on the blood, sweat and tears of hard working Guyanese by plundering their assets at will.

Indicating that the Force will always remember that Friday when Inspector October's life was snuffed out, he thanked the members of the public for their support during this difficult time.

The Commissioner concluded his tribute with the words from the Psalms: "Oh, how good and pleasant it is when brethren live together in unity. It is like fine oil upon the head, that runs down the beard."

Home Affairs Minister, Mr. Ronald Gajraj praised the contribution Inspector October made not only to the Guyana Police Force, but to the country as a whole. He remembered the fallen Police Officer as a very erstwhile Prosecutor - one whom, even though not a lawyer, had the ability to effectively use the law in presenting cases in court.

The minister recalled the Officer's creditable performance as a Prosecutor while he was a practising Attorney-at-Law.

He also echoed the sentiments of an uncle of the deceased, in an earlier tribute, that while paying tribute to Mr. October, "We must be cognisant of his contribution", the life that he has lived, adding that he was not only committed to the Police Force, but also found time to engage in other activities.

A relative, Ms. Desiree October who read the Eulogy, said Leyland October, 50, held very senior positions in Lodges of which he was a member - including the position of Grand Master.

The father of four served as a Member of the Guyana Defence Force before joining the Guyana Police Force in 1975. Having displayed a high degree of commitment, discipline and dedication to duty he moved upward through the ranks. He attended the University of Guyana and did various overseas courses related to his job.

He was appointed Chief inspector in 2001. "He was a man of extreme confidence, and had a presence wherever he went," she stated.

Meanwhile, in an invited comment, Georgetown Mayor Hamilton Green with whom Mr. October worked as a former Prime Ministerial bodyguard, said he had very fond and pleasant memories of the Officer. He described him as a very calm and efficient fellow.

"He was a young man I admired tremendously and I saw him grow up in the Police Force. I think this is a very sad thing. I think we need to analyse why he should have been shot...I think what we have coming out are the real worms of the system and we need to deal with it."

Officiating Pastor was Reverend Oscar Bazil.