Slain ex-detective's funeral live-streamed to Canada, UK, US

Slain ex-detective's funeral live-streamed to Canada, UK, US

Executive Editor – special assignment

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

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TO the slew of modern innovations at funerals, add live-streaming.

Hundreds of mourners, many of whom flew in from the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada, packed and overflowed Highgate Gospel Chapel in Highgate, St Mary, to pay final tribute to slain ex-police Detective Corporal Rickie Bailey.

The former crime-fighter was gunned down in the early hours of January 1, apparently the first murder of 2020, as he left a New Year's Eve party in the vicinity of Sabina Park, Kingston. He was in the island on his annual visit from Canada where he resided.

Relatives and good friends of Bailey who could not make the trip to Jamaica got together to pay for the live-streaming of the funeral service to Canada, UK and the US, underlining the popularity of the murdered former cop.

Two other equally well-attended memorial events were staged in St Mary and Portland on February 2 and 7, respectively. Among the top brass at Saturday's funeral service were Assistant Commissioner of Police Clinton Laing, Deputy Superintendent Heston Boothe and Detective Inspector Claudette Hepburn.

In death, Bailey stirred controversy over his hard policing.

Known as a cop who took the fight to gunmen, he left Jamaica 18 years ago for Canada after learning that he was marked for death, said his father Harold Bailey, the New York correspondent for the Jamaica Observer.

Police investigating gunshots in the vicinity of the Sabina Park cricket stadium in east Kingston found the ex-cop suffering from multiple gunshot wounds about 5:00 am New Year's Day on Melbourne Road. He was pronounced dead at hospital, police confirmed. He was not robbed of his valuables or his car.

Investigators probing the ex-policeman's murder rebutted claims on social media that Bailey was a rogue cop, adding that: “It seems as if this was a ploy to throw off investigators.”

At the funeral service, close friend and businessman Lascell Evans eulogised Bailey as “one of the most courageous and compassionate crime-fighters to have served this country”.

“He was someone who would make you laugh even in your most depressed state of mind, and someone who never forgot where he came from,” Evans said.

Glowing tributes were also paid to the ex-cop by members of the St Andrew South Police Elite Squad, who described Bailey as someone “who dedicated himself to making his country a safe place”.

United Church of Jamaica Pastor Wendell McKoy described the slain cop as “one of those people who commanded respect and made the district of Mt Regale, where he grew up, proud”.

The former policeman was remembered by his father Harold as “the spark of the family. The one who lit up the room with his signature laughter which became contagious”.

“He was kind-hearted and showed compassion even to those bad elements who would seek to hurt him,” the senior Bailey said.

He also remembered the eldest of his three sons as one who used humour “to defuse serious situations”.

Delivering the sermon, Pastor Paul Hemmings urged mourners not to “turn a blind eye or be foolish about the evil” around them.

Former co-workers Carlos Bell, Zaccheus Roye, Clifford Cameron, Byron McKenzie, Carl Morrison, and a cousin Damion Thompson acted as pall-bearers.

In St Mary on February 2, ace music selector Rickie Trooper — in a return to his roots and on the very spot where the house in which he was born once stood — delivered a scintillating performance in memory of his friend CB, the moniker the slain ex-cop was best known by.

In Berrydale, Portland, on February 7 an equally large crowd turned out for the memorial event which was headlined by the artiste Singing Melody, backed by the band of the same name.

Bailey, who would have turned 54 the day after he was killed, was buried in the White Hall/Heywood Hall cemetery in St Mary.

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