Mechanics Order loses grand master
Six bullets hit October - police
By Kim Lucas
September 8, 2002
Today is Mechanics Day, but instead of seven Grand Masters leading the procession to the Guyana National Service Sports Complex on Carifesta Avenue, there will only be six. Missing today will be Police Inspector Leyland October, who was gunned down on Friday night just after purchasing ice cream for his children at a shop at Russell and Sussex Streets, Georgetown.
October had apparently gone to his Middle Road, La Penitence home and dropped off his suit for the Mechanics Day celebration when he realised that he had not purchased the dessert as promised, one of his close friends disclosed yesterday.
It was some minutes before eight on Friday night, while exiting the shop, that October was shot.
The police yesterday said they had launched an investigation into October’s killing and they again issued wanted bulletins for Romel Sylvester Reman, Shawn Marco Gittens, Michael Hanoman Singh called ‘Black and Shines’ or ‘Mickey’, as well as Premium Sukraj, popularly known as ‘Inspector Gadget’. According to a press release, the men are wanted for a series of robberies and the murder of October.
“Investigations revealed that Inspector October, who was stationed at CID Brickdam, left office at about 19:45 hrs along with a male relative, in his car PHH 6059 en route to his home. While on their way, they both exited the car to purchase ice cream. According to the relative - who was some distance behind October - as they were returning to the vehicle, they heard shots [and he later] discovered the Inspector lying on the road in a pool of blood,” the police said in the statement.
October was rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation where he was pronounced dead on arrival. The police said six bullets were evident in the slain officer’s body, and according to a doctor who examined him, there was evidence of an inflammable substance on his face.
Stabroek News understands that October’s assailants might have sprayed him in the face with a noxious substance before shooting him.
“Enquiries also revealed that the gunmen, upon killing October, walked south along Russell Street, then proceeded east into Sussex Street and disappeared,” the police said.
But contrary to the police’s report, a female relative of October yesterday told Stabroek News that to the best of her knowledge, the late officer was alone at the time of the attack. She said he was not wearing the police’s regulatory uniform when he was shot.
The woman was unable to say whether October was threatened in his job, or had expressed any fears for his safety. She, however, declined to comment on October, the individual. But Stabroek News yesterday caught up with members of the lodge fraternity at the GNS sports complex, where preparations for the grand day were in progress.
Bro Winston Clarke, now acting for October as Grand Master of Preston Unity, told this newspaper that the policeman’s passing “will affect most members.”
Clarke will now read October’s prepared speech at the ceremony today.
He described the dead officer as a very friendly person, who at the same time, was strict regarding his performance in the Order. The same sentiment was echoed by another close friend, Bro Charles Wilkinson.
“He was a very disciplined person. He loved discipline and he strived for discipline... you don’t have that, then chaos will follow. Personally, [his death] will be a blow to all of us. We will miss him because he was versed in ritualistic work in the organisation and I will miss him for that,” Wilkinson stated.
October reportedly joined the Guyana Defence Force around 1967, where he spent about three years before joining the ranks of the Guyana Police Force. About the same time, on January 2, 1971, October was initiated into the Order of Mechanics. He rose to the rank of Master three years later, and in 1985, became a Worshipful Master. Nine years later, in 1994, October attained the Priesthood and in 2000, became the Grand Master of Preston Unity. At the time of his death, he was also the acting deputy District Grand Master of the Masonic Lodge.
The late inspector, a father of four, was the tenth of 11 policemen and the second highest rank to be killed since April. Less than 24 hours after he was killed, another rank took his own life in the compound of State House yesterday.
(See other story on page 2) October’s death, too, followed closely on the heels of the August 27 murder of Detective Constable Feroze Bashir outside his pregnant girlfriend’s home at Buxton, East Coast Demerara, and that of Deputy Head of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit, Vibert Inniss.
A former court prosecutor, October served in several precincts, including at the Providence and Grove Police Stations on the East Bank Demerara, before recently returning to the Brickdam Station. Shortly after the incident on Friday night, residents claimed to have heard four shots before October fell. The injured cop was quickly bundled into his own car and rushed to the hospital, where they pronounced him dead.
Policemen have become targets ever since five men broke out of the Camp Street jail on February 23. That, coupled with the recent upsurge in other criminal activities, prompted the government to announce that it was procuring more protective gear and weaponry for members of the force.
Deputy Commissioner Winston Felix recently returned from overseas after expediting the purchases of the equipment.
Below are the descriptions of the four men wanted for October’s murder:
**Romel Sylvester Re-man, 21, is 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighing about 120 pounds and has black hair. The police said he has a scar on his left arm and is of medium build. His last known addresses were 49 Princes Street, Wortmanville and 22 Durban Street, Lodge - both in the city.
** Shawn Marco Gittens, 23, is 167.5 cm tall, with black hair and brown eyes.
The police said he has a scar on the left shoulder and last lived at 49 Norton Street, Lodge, Georgetown. The police did not state his race.
** Michael Hanoman Singh also known as ‘Black and Shines’ and ‘Mickey’, 36, is 162 cm in height, slim built and weighing about 116 pounds. The police said he has black hair and surgical marks above and below the left knee. He last lived at Thomas and Lamaha Streets, Georgetown.
** Premium Sukhraj called ‘Inspector Gadget’, 22, a fisherman from 35 Grovenville Pasture, West Coast Demerara and of Buxton, East Coast Demerara, is brown in complexion and about 5 feet 8 inches tall.
Anyone knowing the whereabouts of these men is asked to contact the nearest police station or the undermentioned telephone numbers: 226-7530, 225-3061, 226-1326, 226-6978, 225-3650.