Seventeen Police Officers, both from the Regular and Fire Department were awarded Meritorious Service Medals by the Police Administration for their bravery and heroic acts; whilst performing duties on the sister isle Barbuda, during the passage of dangerous hurricane Irma.
Assistant Superintendent of Police Roland Cuffy, Sergeant James Thomas, Sergeant Neil George, Corporals Clinkton Richards, Orlando Michael, Carla Teague, Philbert George, Michael Marcelin, along with Constables Deslair Joseph, Kareem Silcott, Stefan Jacobs, Justin Griffin, Oteen Beazer, Denzil Rodney, Kellysha Blair, Miguel George and Vancito Versailles all form part of the “Brave Seventeen”, who was greeted with thunderous applause from their colleagues in a packed room at Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium on Friday. The gathering is one of many regular meetings held by Commissioner Robinson to address matters concerning the organization and the country on a whole.
Acting Prime Minister, Honourable Attorney General and Minister of Public Safety, Steadroy Cutie Benjamin was present and addressed the men and women in uniform. Minister Benjamin in his remarks thanked the officers for their selfless and heroic acts, having to put their lives on the line to rescue Barbudans from dangerous Category-5 Hurricane Irma. He said, “The Honourable Prime Minister Gaston Browne and the people of Antigua and Barbuda owe a debt of gratitude to you, and is proud of all of you and what you have done, under such frightening and life-threatening conditions.” He encouraged the entire police force to keep up the hard work, and remain focused.
Commissioner of Police, Wendel Robinson commended the men and women under his command for their continued commitment and dedication to duty. He said when policemen and women, in life-threatening situations, put aside self and family to serve humanity, it must never go unnoticed. Commissioner Robinson said, “These are officers who would have lost almost everything, except for the clothes that remained on their backs during the passage of hurricane Irma; however, it never hindered them or dampened their spirits from going out there to render service to those in need.” He further stated that maybe if it was not for their fearlessness and bravery, the situation on the ground could have turned out differently. He particularly singled out the female officers and expressed his satisfaction on their overall performances. He ended by encouraging every member of the police force to always give of their best in service to the nation and people of Antigua and Barbuda. Apostle Clifton Francois of Barbuda was also present at the meeting and offered prayers on behalf of the men and women in the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda.
A Meritorious Service Medal is one of the highest awards that can be presented to a member of the Police Force, who would have gone beyond the call of duty to perform such acts of meritorious service, in risking lives or limbs in extreme or extraordinary circumstances.