Final rest

Late prison officer hailed as one of island’s best

Prison Chief Lieutenant-Colonel John Nurse Wednesday led rank and file members of the Barbados Prison Service in a rousing send off for one of their own – 50-year-old Roger Tosh McIntosh who collapsed and died unexpectedly on his way to work on January 7.

His two-hour long funeral service at St Luke’s Anglican Church, St George ended Wednesday afternoon in a tribute march by prison officers – from the church to the nearby skills training centre – in honour of the former Prison Officer 1.

Prison Officer Samuel Solomon leads the bearers’ party to the gravesite.

There was also musical tribute in the form of the Last Post, signifying that Tosh, who served for ten years with the Barbados Defence Force before joining the prison service 22 years ago, had gone to his final rest.

During today’s moving farewell, family members and friends also hailed Tosh as a devoted father, son and friend.

Sitting at top of the church was his 96-year-old father, who uttered nary a word, but could barely sit still as the afternoon drew on. His face bore the obvious grief of a father confronted with the arduous task of burying a son — particularly one he loved and who readily took care of everyone, especially his dad. As he was assisted in walking past his son’s flag-draped, wooden casket, the elderly man simply shook his head as if still in disbelief over Tosh’s passing.

It was equally an emotional time for his 21-year-old daughter Chloe, who in a written tribute shared by eulogists Natalie Inniss and Nigel Hall, said: “On the 7th of January, 2017, the world froze. I was left standing around in an orbit of sadness, tears and loss. Flashes of life’s moments seemed to dangle before me. As I closed my eyes, I could see my dad’s face – see his smile and hear his voice.”

She also recalled that her dad was never absent when she was growing up and always encouraged her to be the best that she could be.

Tosh’s partner Kera Rogers said he was a loving man. She also shared details of a dream he had two days before his death, of him picking up gold from the ground, and Rogers said he died quite mystified about what it all meant.

Roger McIntosh’s partner Kera Rogers leading his coffin into the church. Next to her is his nephew Matthew McIntosh.

However, it could all have been part of God’s great plan for the former Drax Hall Tenantry, St George resident who turned 50 on December 10, and was also described as a jack-of-all-trades, who engaged in masonry, tiling, carpentry, auto valet services, among other things.

Anglican priest Davidson Bowen suggested as much in his sermon in which he indicated that “God’s children do not die”.

“God has a plan and we need to believe in that plan and this is where our faith comes into play . . . we must simply trust our God who knows all,” he told the packed gathering of mourners, including residents of the close-knit Drax Hall and Bydes Mill communities, to whom Tosh’s death came as a total surprise.

In a moving appreciation delivered on behalf of Her Majesty’s Prison Service, Assistant Chief Officer Jeffrey Hoyte said Tosh, who was also affectionately known by his colleagues as Serge was “one of the best officers of our time”.

“We can still hear his mild mannered voice at the gate or wherever he was assigned. Face never with a frown, an appropriate response always at the ready, a genuine force of nature, in support of officers’ rights or The Barbados Prison Service. And yet, while his causes may become deeply personal, his disagreements never did.

Roger McIntosh’s nephew Kemo being consoled by his girlfriend at the gravesite.

“He was a product of an age when the joy and nobility of work prevented individuals from becoming barriers to cooperation and mutual respect – a time when adversaries still saw each other as comrades.

“Roger McIntosh became one of the best officers of our time. He did it by sticking to principle, and also seeking compromise and common cause – through friendship and kindness, and humour,” he added.

It was a glowing tribute delivered by a colleague who clearly admired Tosh and for who he was “a mentor [but] above all a friend”.

‘I remember the first time we toured [the former prison] Glendairy; the class of 95, one officer looked at Roger and said, ‘at least I will not be at the end of the line anymore; a man shorter than me has come.’” Hoyte said, evoking some laughter.

However, he was quick to add that though short in stature, Tosh, who joined the prison service on July 3, 1995, was “tall in determination”.

He also said Tosh, who had risen through the ranks to the level of Prison Officer 1 or sergeant, wore his uniform with pride and had taken several challenging assignments during his tenure, including “sleeping in cane fields all hours of the night, unfortunately without success” during the search for now deceased infamous prisoner Winston Hall.

Wednesday’s funeral service was a celebration of the life of the late officer  who recently received a Medal of Honour for his 22 productive years of service.

Apart from his dad, Tosh is also survived by nine siblings, but was pre-deceased by his younger brother Oneal and his mother Eileen.

13 Responses to Final rest

  1. Hal Austin January 26, 2017 at 7:35 am

    Condolences to the family and colleagues. But why do we militarise the funerals of former police and prison officers? These are civilian jobs. It is one thing attending dressed in uniforms, but another giving a military send off.

    Reply
    • Miche January 28, 2017 at 12:23 pm

      You Jackass

      Reply
  2. Helicopter(8P) January 26, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    Hal these post are para military and is the norm of our British heritage! Any how! No more Arch Hall to Ciffton Hall and no more searching Drax Hall for escapees ! To our dear and beloved brother. May he rest in peace! Condolences to the family.

    Reply
  3. angela evelyn January 27, 2017 at 12:12 am

    Rest in peace and rise in Glory uncle Roger i would miss you always , still cannot believe you gone. Love always uncle.

    Reply
  4. Patty Cake January 27, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    May he rest in eternal peace.

    Reply
  5. Eric R. Henry (Supt of HMP-Antigua/Barbuda 1985-1995) and 2006-2009 January 27, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    Well done, you good and faithful servant. You have served, and served well. Now you are called to higher SERVICE… May your soul, and the souls of all departed in the Lord…continue to Rest In Eternal Peace…. On behalf of the Officres and Staff of The Antigua/Barbuda Prison Service, and on my own behalf…I send profound condolences, to his immediate family, and all others whom he has left to mourn.

    Reply
  6. Mechelle Pilgrim January 28, 2017 at 12:17 am

    Rest in peace my friend and former classmate(parkinson memorial school)Class 1984.

    Reply
  7. Stephen Miller January 28, 2017 at 1:10 am

    Service above self …

    Rest in peace, rise in Glory! Condolence to the immediate family as well as work colleagues.

    Reply
  8. Gerard Prescod January 28, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    Hal Austin how many times must i tell you to speak about what you know and understand and leave that to which you have no clue for the experts. Didn’t you read that the good officer and gentleman spent 10 good years in the Defence Force, or are you opposed to that too? You really need to change your name to Hal Trump. Just saying

    Reply
  9. Hal Austin January 29, 2017 at 8:39 am

    Gerard,

    When he died he was not in the defence force. He had retired. He was a civilian. By the way, I do believe we should get rid of the defence force, yes, and employ more police and coastguards.
    The defence force is cosmetic.

    Reply
    • Miche January 31, 2017 at 10:53 pm

      Hal,you continue to display your asinine propensities for all the world to see..I told you once to make sure that that thing you call a brain is switched on,before you put that trap of a mouth in gear. you said that ” I do believe we should get rid of the defence force, yes, and employ more police and coastguards”,( By the way,,Coast guard is singular). Is the Coast guard not the Naval arm of the Defence Force ?so what you are actually saying is that you would get the rid of the Defence force ,,But ??????????…….. once again like so many times before,, you showed that you want to box ,outside of your weight…… ,,so allow me to entertain you at the level to which you belong,,, Say after me,,,,,Aaa Be Abb,,,catch a crab,,,,, Gee Ohoo go,, let him.,
      go…….. Good little boy,,,,,, Or would me prefer to talk about St Lawrence Gap

      Reply
  10. Hal Austin January 29, 2017 at 8:43 am

    Helicopter,

    British prison officers do not get military-type send offs. Bajans like the military show, that is why we had the landship. We got to grow up in a modern world. By the way, people in my family and in-laws have served in the British police, military and prison service. I cannot remember even seeing a picture of any in uniform, far less plans for a military-type send off..

    Reply
    • Miche January 31, 2017 at 10:58 pm

      Which of your family,,, Donald? ( Trump ) He didn’t go to a bonafide military academy,,,,,,,His parents sent him to a Private ,,military type ( Boot Camp) to discipline him.. which by the way is where they should have sent you instead of the school in St John,,, ,,,,,Gotch yuh

      Reply

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