Show of Force for retired cop’s funeral

Family, friends and former colleagues bade farewell this afternoon to a retired Deputy Commissioner of Police, Lionel “Dick” Thompson, who was said to have left a lasting legacy during his more than 40 years in the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF).

Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police Erwin Boyce described Thompson, 79, as an individual who left police officers with a blueprint for the delivery of service characterized, among other things, by a commitment to excellence, professionalism, and an unrelenting desire to achieve constant self-improvement.

The wife of the late Lionel “Dick” Thompson, Norine laying a wreath on his grave.
The wife of the late Lionel “Dick” Thompson, Norine laying a wreath on his grave.

Boyce was speaking at the Garden Church of God, The Garden, St James where a large contingent of police officers led by Acting Commissioner Tyrone Griffith gathered for the military funeral service of Thompson, who died on August 9 at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Thompson, who joined the RBPF in 1956, served as a frontline police officer before transitioning upon promotion to the role of supervisor, middle manager and ultimately, being a part of the senior command team.

“For over 40 years, he dedicated his energies towards making Barbados safer through his commitment to policing. For that span of time, he also dedicated himself to the search constant improvement in the standards of local and regional policing,” Boyce said.

“As police officers, we can all seek to frame his legacy in perpetuity through a personal commitment to emulating those professional points of reference he freely shared through personal example,” Boyce added.

The senior office noted that while climbing the ladder of success, the deceased was humble, caring, always willing to lend a helping hand to the hopeless and the helpless, while steadfastly holding to principles to which he subscribed.

“He always communicated with a sense of empathy, a willingness to help, to provide good counsel and to provide a sense of direction. His eloquence and ability to effectively communicate through prose are legendary and unsurpassed by few,” the senior cop said.

Other prominent public figures in attendance at the funeral included Director of Public Prosecution Charles Leacock, Principal of the University of the West Indies Eudine Barriteau, Ombudsman Valton Bend, Magistrate Wanda Blair and Registrar of the Supreme Court Barbara Cooke-Alleyne.

Member of Parliament for St James North, Edmund Hinkson, and Senator Harry Husbands, also attended.

Three-round gun salute in honour of retired Deputy Commissioner of Police Lionel “Dick” Thompson at his gravesite.
Three-round gun salute in honour of retired Deputy Commissioner of Police Lionel “Dick” Thompson at his gravesite.

Family members said Thompson, who played a role in planning his own funeral, requested not to have a eulogy read. However, in addition to the commendable remarks made by Assistant Commissioner Boyce, numerous tributes were paid.

His longstanding friend Berkeley Greenidge, who frequently joined Thompson at his “home away from home”, the John Moore Bar at Weston, St James, spoke of the community spirit of the former policeman that touched many lives.

Greenidge said at the “office”, their name for the John Moore Bar, his friend “Dick” acted as a lawyer, immigration consultant completing passport applications and even a tax adviser at times. “Dick was a strict disciplinarian not wanting any form of bad behaviour,” Greenidge said. “All he had to do was appear and all inappropriate language or action ceased.”

“Beneath that hard shell of a strict disciplinarian, Dick was a soft hearted person. I remember when his grandson died tragically several years ago, Dick was broken,” Greenidge said.

Delivering the sermon, Canon Henderson Guy of the St Christopher Anglican Church remarked that Thompson, who was his cousin, was prepared for death. Guy said he visited the deceased in the hospital before he passed and gave him his last communion.

He called on those gathered to not only emulate the good qualities Thompson possessed, but also to review their walk with God and their spiritual growth.

“Because Lionel prepared for his passing, he knew his Papa in heaven and was prepared to have peace from God and peace with God. We thank Almighty God for his work, his worship and his goodness,” the Canon said.

Thompson was buried at the St James Cemetery.

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