Farewell to “The Colonel”

Police Superintendent Sylvester Louis spoke highly of former superintendent Jasper Merlie Watson

Hundreds packed the Western Light Church Of The Nazarene at Oxnards, St James yesterday morning to pay their final respects to late retired police superintendent Jasper Merlie Watson.

Accorded full military honours, Watson, 80, was described by Superintendent Sylvester Louis, as a colossus of policing. Louis delivered an appreciation for the Royal Barbados Police Force before mourners that included Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith, former commissioner Grantley Watson, former deputy commissioners Bertie Hinds and Keith Whittaker, numerous past and present gazetted officers and other officers past and present whom the man affectionately called “The Colonel” had mentored.

Louis recalled the impact which Watson had on generations of police officers, including his own sons who had served the Royal Barbados Police Force as well as in the United States. Louis described Watson as having many “sons” in the force who idolized him because of his brilliant intellect and readiness to pass on his knowledge of the law and investigative attributes.

Ronald Watson (right) described his father as a proud, stern and empathetic man during the eulogy

He recalled his contributions to Barbados as well as Grenada. Watson was the principal investigator into the murder of Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and members of his cabinet in 1983. Louis provided the captive audience with a number of anecdotes illustrating Watson’s attention to detail, his sense of humour and his ability to motivate others beyond their own expectations.

Delivery the eulogy, son and former detective Ronald Watson said his father was exceedingly proficient in the craft of criminal investigation because he treated it as an amalgamation of art and science. He noted Watson raised the bar several tiers to establish standards which catapulted the Royal Barbados Police Force, an organization he joined in 1955, into the modern era.

Watson, who excelled academically at The Alleyne School and was a school teacher before joining the force, was eulogized by his son as being “proud, yet not condescending; stern and strict at times, yet tolerant and empathetic”. Noting that teaching had always been his father’s first love, Watson recalled that many a detective was the victim of his infamous red ink pen. He said it was well known that if a report reached his desk and he came upon bad grammar, he would decorate it in red and return it for corrections.

He noted his father was fluent in French and Latin, was a competent mathematician, wrote volumes of poetry, short stories, educational and philosophical discourses, musical lyrics and was an avid painter. The late Watson wrote the theme hymn for the church at which his funeral service was held.

Police officers carrying the body of Jasper Watson out of the church

Watson ended the eulogy by noting his father’s spirituality and reading an expanded version of The Lord’s Prayer which his father had written in 1985.

“Our Father who art so kind to all, In Heaven is our eternal call, Hallowed be the hour when the saints are marching in, Thy Name alone shall free them from their sin. Thy Kingdom come with the call of the trumpet sound, Thy will be done and those who come be found, In earth as it is, they laboured for thy sake, In Heaven they found rest before it was too late. Give us this day the things we ask of thee, Our daily bread, one of our kindly plea, Forgive our thoughts if evil they glorify, Cleanse our souls so Your Holy Spirit may occupy. As we forgive them who trespass against us, Lead us not anywhere for us to lust, Temptation is the road we fear, but trod, Deliver us from evil O Eternal God. Thine is the Kingdom of unending life, Power and glory through our Lord Jesus Christ, Forever more with God the Father at the helm, In peace and bliss we’ll live in the Heavenly realm. (WG)

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