The Guyana Police Force (GPF) on Sunday held a wreath-laying ceremony to honour the 67 policemen and women who lost their lives in the line of duty.
The ceremony, which is part of GPF’s 184th-anniversary celebrations, was held at the Monument for Fallen Heroes in the Police Officers’ Mess Compound, Eve Leary, Georgetown.
In his address, Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn sympathised with the relatives of the brave fallen heroes.
He noted that the Police Force’s level of sacrifice made is to ensure peace in the country.
“Blessed are the peacemakers,” Minister Benn remarked.
The Home Affairs Minister urged Police ranks to rise to the optimum level of professional training as increasing the peace in Guyana relies on quality engagement and a partnership approach between members of the GPF and the public.
Minister Benn commended Commissioner of Police (ag) Clifton Hicken and the entire Force for the progress made as an organisation and in the upliftment of ranks.
“We need not another hero but heroic service; thereby, solace can be sought within the members of the Force itself,” Minister Benn posited.
In his remarks, Commissioner Hicken emphasised that safety and security are precious gifts that benefit all of us. He noted that we often give little thought to the price we pay for them.
In 2002, the Guyana Police Force, under the tenure of then Commissioner of Police Laurie Lewis, established the Monument of Fallen Heroes, which is dedicated to the memory of members of the Force killed in the line of duty.
Commissioner Hicken noted that “the monument serves as a place of reflection, honour, tribute, and communal gathering for the family, friends, colleagues, and the nation of the fallen.”
This, he lamented, is in light of the fact that Police Officers are frequently exposed to life-threatening situations, not only to themselves but also to the grieving relatives of the deceased.
“Moreover, we frequently lose fellow officers to on-duty deaths and lasting, career-ending injuries, which can negatively impact our health and well-being.
Henceforth, being a Police Officer takes commitment as we must be able to maintain mental and moral strength to resist opposition and fairness of mind to protect the nation in the line of fire and must stand by our fellow officers in the face of danger or extreme difficulty,” Hicken said.
The Top Cop noted that the “Guyana Police Force recognises the importance of honouring our fallen heroes through its Fallen Heroes Foundation Inc., which was established in 2015 in collaboration with the Cops and Faith Community Network.”
The Foundation provides benefits to families whose members have died in the line of duty. Such benefits include welfare support, financial assistance and educational assistance.
Hicken noted that “through our gratitude and respect for our fallen members, the Guyana Police Force will continue to provide ‘benevolent benefits’ to the immediate family of deceased ranks; take responsibility for the wake of deceased ranks and take responsibility for the funeral for deceased ranks.
As we pay tribute to the fallen heroes, let us also rededicate ourselves to upholding the passion and purpose they so bravely fought for and died for, so that others might live. Let us keep faith with their service and sacrifice by renewing our own commitment to the Guyana Police Force motto, Service and Protection.”
Members of the GPF and senior government officials attended the ceremony.