Oct 31, 2015 News
A full military salute from the Guyana Police Force, grief-stricken relatives and a curious band of onlookers, greeted the flag-draped coffin of slain New York Police Department (NYPD) Officer Randolph Holder, when it arrived in Guyana on
The casket and Holder’s relatives were transported to Guyana via a Fly Jamaica Aircraft, while a large number of NYPD ranks arrived on a Caribbean Airlines flight shortly after.
The way in which local officers and airport officials operated pre-arrival, was as if royalty was about to land for a special visit to the local shores. NYPD officer, Randolph Holder Junior, will be laid to rest in Le Repentir Cemetery today.
Last night the casket draped in white, green and navy blue with white stars arrived in Guyana at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA).
The smartly dressed men in blue who slow marched carried the casket in ceremonial fashion from the Fly Jamaica Airways aircraft to a waiting Merriman’s Funeral Home hearse.
Many of the NYPD ranks who came are Guyanese who migrated to the USA or are of Guyanese heritage. For them it was a case of coming to Guyana after years to see their fallen colleague off. Leading the group for this mission is Guyana-born New York based NYPD Inspector Clint McPherson of the 17th Precinct who was briefed by senior Commander Clifton Hicken.
Amongst those at the airport were Holder’s maternal grandmother, Elizabeth Lovell in whose care Holder was entrusted after his mother passed away 19 years ago. She was his shoulder to lean on and her pension was his main support during his years at the Dolphin Secondary and ultimately Christ Church Secondary.
Also present was his aunt, Maureen Lovell and younger brother, Kellon, his main playmate when they resided at lot 17 D’Urban Street, and ultimately South Ruimveldt after fire destroyed their home.
As part of the somber prelude to the general salute, members of the Guyana Police Force Band led by Assistant Commissioner Cecil Bovell MS, marched onto the airport tarmac while rendering the hymn ‘Abide with me’.
Shortly after, on the command of a female NYPD rank, six NYPD colleagues hoisted the flag draped casket to their shoulders then marched in tandem stopping only for the general salute from all officers as the band delivered the last post.
Relatives and friends were moved to tears as the six smartly dressed NYPD ranks did the honour of carrying the casket to the hearse that was backed up on the tarmac of Cheddi Jagan International Airport.
Finally, the band marched off in slow time while delivering their rendition of the ‘Supreme Sacrifice,’ followed by the black hearse. That was but the beginning of the welcome home of Holder’s remains.
In the capital city at Lime and Bent Streets, ranks of the NYPD advance party were greeted by yet another crowd gathered for a candlelight vigil outside the Merriman’s Funeral Home where his casket was carried and deposited in even more ceremonial fashion.
A wake was held last night at the 1763 Monument which Mayor Hamilton Green confirmed was specially cleaned and cleared as part of wishes of the relatives of Holder who once enjoyed his childhood days in the same environs.
Today the body will be at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, Brickdam from 09:00hrs to 10:00hrs for viewing, while the funeral service is scheduled to begin promptly at 10:00hrs.
Traffic will be monitored around the area. After the service, the body will be taken to the Square of the Revolution once again for public viewing thence to Le Repentir Cemetery for burial.
The final rites will be performed by members of the NYPD.
While he did not arrive on the flight, Guyanese social activist Mark Benschop has been praised by relatives for his on the ground mobilization in New York.
They also expressed much thanks to Captain Paul Ronald Reece and Roxanne Reece, the owners of Fly Jamaica and staff for ensuring that the body of the late NYPD Detective was flown home in time for his funeral.
The airline delivered on its promise to present Mr. and Mrs. Holder (father and step-mother) with two complimentary First Class round trip tickets, First Class seats for the NYPD casket bearers, and between 50% and 75% off for dozens of family members and NYPD officers. (Additional reportage by Jarryl Bryan)
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