Former police officer laid to rest

The conkies that the family of former Assistant Commissioner of Police Mervyn Holder was planning to make with him no longer assume any importance this Independence.

Holder, who passed away on October 31, was laid to rest Tuesday on the grounds of the St Philip Parish Church as grief-stricken family members, friends, former colleagues and well-wishers bade their final farewell.

The body of the late Mervyn Holder being carried from the church to the gravesite by his former colleagues in the RBPF.
The body of the late Mervyn Holder being carried from the church to the gravesite by his former colleagues in the RBPF.

Delivering the eulogy, Claude Holder described his father as a stalwart, and a strong, spirited and loyal man, who grew up in humble circumstances and enjoyed cooking, photography and woodwork.

“He always reminisced of times spent by his mother’s side preparing simple meals for the family. Could you imagine that we were just in the process of collecting all the ingredients needed to make conkies around this time?

“My father held firm to his ideals and he would be as respectful of your belief as much as you were respectful of his own,” Claude said.

In his sermon, which focused on love and principle, Reverend Trevor O’Neale urged the family to remain strong and faithful to God and each other.

He also called on the congregation to live by good principles, whether or not people liked, or agreed with them.

And calling on members of the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) to lead by example, O’Neale said while it was good to “arrest situations and individuals”, it was better to help people.

“You can tell someone something and they will hear for a while, but when you demonstrate it they will see what they need to do and they will follow,” he said.

“One of the things I find in our society today is how we look on what is wrong and call it right,” said O’Neale, adding that authorities no longer seemed interested in holding people accountable for “unrighteous” and “unjust” acts.

However, he lauded members of the RBPF, saying they had a tough job of “protecting the rights and freedoms we have not just as individuals, but as a country”.

O’Neale called on Barbadians to continue to persevere and to stay committed to their principles and values despite challenges they might encountere.

Following the sombre church service, the St Philip Parish Church choir and members of the RBPF band led the congregation in a slow march to the gravesite, where they joined their voices in hymns as the casket was lowered into the ground.

Mervyn Holder was sent off with a three-volley salute.

With sorrow etched on their faces, family members gathered under a tent at the gravesite, could not hold back the tears as they came to grips with the thought that their beloved relative was now in his final resting place.

Born on August 14, 1932, Holder, a lover of golf, was a specialist in forensic science. He focused on ballistics, fingerprinting and handwriting. After retirement Holder continued to give of his service both locally and regionally.

Holder leaves to mourn his wife Theresa, along with his children and grand-children.

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