Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams said following the killing of one of his officers and the wounding of another during two separate robberies, his officers are not afraid and will continue to put their lives on the line for the country’s security.
Speaking after the funeral service of Richard Babwah who was murdered as he attempted to foil a robbery on Monday night, Williams said policing is a calling.
“Policing is a calling so when you join the Police Service you know for a fact there is a high risk and that risk involves the ultimate, that your life can be on the line. So if a police officer is shot and killed, a police officer is shot and injured, it goes within the domain of what you do. So, if an incident like this occurs, it’s not about being frightened. At the very onset of this incident, the police officers were hunting the criminals. So it’s not about going into fear. So we have to understand the profession, so when we stand on the outside we don’t understand the profession. It’s being on the inside you understand that you go out there fearless and you put your life on the line. So, anybody talking about ‘police in fear,’ police not in fear. Police put their lives on the line on a daily basis, that’s what the job is about,” Williams said.
Williams added that policing is a challenging profession and there is a need for assistance from the public. Referring to the sermon delivered by Apostle Andrew Ramjattan, Williams said there is also a critical role for the church.
During the funeral service, which was attended by National Security Minister Edmund Dillon, Ramjattan said that the church has failed the community and needed to do more about the crime scourge in the country. Ramjattan said he is willing to partner with the Police Service in achieving a better society and called on the congregation to reach out to the criminals and criminal minded to offer them hope in times of despair.
Ramjattan spoke at the Faith Assembly Church, Arouca, just across the street from where Babwah worked as a homicide officer. Ramjattan said he knew Babwah growing up and the father of two girls wanted to make the world a better place and so joined the Police Service. He said when a police officer is killed it highlights the vulnerability of the country.
Ramjattan added that in four days time Babwah’s mother, Arlene, will celebrate her birthday, but it will not be a joyous one.
Speaking on behalf of his officers, Supt Windel Flaviney said Babwah was a shining example of what a police officer should be. The Special Reserve Police officer had four years service and his dedication to the job made the Homicide Bureau seek him out. Flaviney said he spoke with Babwah one hour before he was killed and the next call he received concerning him was that he died.
During the eulogy, Babwah’s cousin Xavio Julien, said his cousin earned the nickname “Popey” because of his regular attendance at church in his childhood days. Like all those who spoke of Babwah, Julien said the 40-year-old was a family oriented man. He added that Babwah loved protecting people and he did this up until his last breath. Julien said Babwah lived for his daughters and encouraged those who cared for him to honour that and create an atmosphere that they will be raised in that will make Babwah proud.
Babwah was killed by one of two bandits who tried to rob a Chinese restaurant in Arouca. He wounded one of the bandits during a shoot-out in the restaurant, but all three suspects were subsequently apprehended.
Four days later, PC Anand Ram, who is attached to the Gasparillo Police Station, was shot in the abdomen when he responded to a robbery.
Isaac Simmons, a 15-year-old Form Two student was killed by police during a shoot-out. Two other suspects, including a 17-year-old, was apprehended following the robbery.