There wasn’t enough space in the Merriman Funeral Home to hold the hundreds of mourners who turned out to pay their final respects to the late Clifford Peters, former Chief Security Officer of the Guyana Power and Light Inc. and former Senior Superintendent of Police.
Family members were overwhelmed and close friends could not hold back their tears as they set eyes on Peters’ body which was dressed in a black two-piece suit.
From his former colleagues at the power company, to officers and ranks of the Police Force as well as other prominent individuals, all reflected with shock how Peters met his demise.
On Monday May 4, the entire nation was plunged into shock as news of the gunning down of Peters was circulated.
Peters was shot dead while carrying out works with a crew from the company in Lamaha Park.
Peters, 59, a Retired Senior Superintendent of Police was shot several times in his head and chest and died on the spot.
His licensed firearm was taken by the gunmen who fled into a bushy area aback of Lamaha Park, an area called Plum Park.
At the time of the incident, Peters and three other employees of the GPL Loss Reduction Field Service team were in the area removing illegal connections.
Yesterday, Peters’ daughter, Lisa, and his sister, Cleopatra Mondasir, were both overcome with grief and had to be consoled and restrained by other relatives.
Former Commissioner of Police, Floyd McDonald, who viewed the body at the parlour, said that he was overseas and was shocked when he got word of Peters’s death.
McDonald told this newspaper that he and the late Clifford Peters were high school mates in Berbice and they both joined the Police Force and served in the Finance Department together. He described Peters as a dedicated worker.
Also viewing the body at the Merriman’s Funeral Home, were former Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, Brigadier General Joe Singh, former Assistant Commissioner of Police Larry George, former Army Colonel Frankie Bishpam and Assistant Commissioner of Police, Gavin Primo among other dignitaries.
Police have since charged a bodybuilder with Peters’s murder.
While there is speculations that the gunmen had targeted Peters for the jewellery he normally wears, family members and GPL official are almost convinced that he was killed because of the work he was doing.
Recalling the incident, one of the employees who witnessed the incident from the GPL vehicle that was parked some distance away, told the media that a technician had already disconnected several wires from a GPL pole and they were gathering them together when the gunmen struck.
Peters and another employee Allan Savory were standing near the pole when they were approached by two men. One of the men ordered savory to the ground while his accomplice confronted the burly Peters.
“… I see savory lying down. He collar Mr. Peters and the two ah dem struggling…Mr. Peters struggling going back. Now the next thing I know I see Mr. Peters, like he foot go in one of them cow hole and he fell. The one who was standing over savory turn and went to the assistance of the other one. From the time he go deh, I hear three shots,” the employee said.
He said that Savory then took the opportunity to run away.
“I was going in they direction but at the same time the guy point the gun at me and I turn and go back the vehicle,” the employee said.
He said that the men appeared to be struggling to get the gold rings from Peters’ fingers but encountered difficulties and eventually fled, firing several shots to ward off any attempt to pursue them.
Peters was picked up and taken to the nearby Davis Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
A women who lives nearby said that she heard the gunshots and upon peering out saw Savory running towards her yard.
She said that he related that there was some shooting and she immediately contacted the police.
From all indications, the men were monitoring the movements of the GPL crew since they appeared to know exactly where they would stop to execute their duties.
Another resident of the area related that before the GPL crew arrived, the two gunmen were with two other persons sitting under a tree a short distance from where the disconnection took place.
“Is four ah dem but two ah dem go to de man. They come and ask a girl fuh water and by the time she go in fuh de water, we hear de bullets start firing,” the resident said.
The woman said that the men are not from the Lamaha Park area. A tearful Eileen Peters, broke down at the Lyken Funeral Home where the body was subsequently taken.
The dead man’s wife who is a nurse at a city hospital told media representatives at her home that her husband’s death was the last thing that she expected o experience at this time. She said that her sister-in-law telephoned her and enquired if she had heard anything about her husband.
According to Mrs. Peters, the relative told her that her husband was shot but at that time she never suspected that he was dead.
“I was saying well if he got shot, probably it was in his legs to injure him but not serious,” Mrs. Peters said.
Eventually, her worst fears were confirmed when her son in law informed her that her husband was dead.
“When I taking my lunch at midday, to get a message like that? She asked.
She said that she had always been fearful for her husband whose job entailed encounters with hostile persons from time to time.
Mrs. Peters explained that she sometimes enquired from her husband if he normally work alone with the disconnection crew and he would assure her that he would be accompanied by other security personnel.
“He would say, ‘Me, as an old policemen? I take back up’. He will carry ex-policemen with him when they are carrying out raids. But today with what I learnt, he went down there and there was nobody to go with him and he took it on his own and went with the crew,” Mrs. Peters explained.
“He told me that when people are aggressive when they are carrying out their work he would tell his guys to leave the area,” she added.
According to Mrs. Peters her husband was always doing his job even when he was not officially on duty.
She explained that last on Sunday he had passed the area where he was shot and after observing some illegal connections he had pointed out to her that he would have to do some work there.
GPL’s Senior Director of Finance Ash Deonarine described Peters’ killing as a despicable act of the lowest nature. He said that Peters was carrying out his duty, helping to reduce the company losses, for everybody’s benefit.
“We condemn this act to the strongest possible point. I want to say that the company will stand behind this and will not let his death go in vain and will put every cent and whatever it costs to bring the perpetrators to justice.” Deonarine told Kaieteur News.
He said that he expects that in the short term the staff of the Loss Reduction Unit will certainly be apprehensive in carrying out their duties.
“But I guess after they recuperate and we rethink strategies going forward, we’ll fight it even harder so that Mr. Peters’ death do not go down in vain,” the GPL Finance Director said.
Last Thursday at a press conference led by Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, the issue of electricity theft was highlighted. At that press conference, GPL Chairman Winston Brassington reported that for 2008/2008 over 23,000 illegal connections were identified and removed by the GPL Loss reduction crew during raids.
A release from the power company said that during the same period over 370 raids were carried out.
It said that today’s raid during which Peters was killed in the line of duty, was one of the many raids led by him. Investigators have questioned several persons in connection with the murder but no arrests have been made so far.
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