THE lesson to be learnt from the death of police sergeant Hayden Manwaring, killed in the line of duty last week, is that it is not only up to the police, but to every citizen to ensure that Trinidad and Tobago is a better place to live.
This was the message from acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams as he spoke at the funeral service of Manwaring yesterday at the First Church of the Open Bible at San Fernando.
Williams said: "If Sergeant Manwaring's death could make a difference for us let it make a difference in jolting us into the reality that every single citizen has a part to play. Do not stand on the side and be overwhelmed by fear and say if I say something, some bandit will come and snuff out my life".
In attendance at the funeral were Minister of National Security Jack Warner, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, Minister of Justice Christlyn Moore, and Minister of National Diversity and Social Integration Clifton DeCoteau.
Hundreds of police officers from all the police divisions turned out, as well as members from the Fire Service, Coast Guard, traffic wardens, Prison Service and Air Guard.
The acting CoP said that with the upsurge in violence and crime, citizens ought not to "sit back and ask the Police Service to make a difference".
He said, "Our country is hurting and everyone of us will feel the hurt and pain as young men continue to lose focus and appreciation for their brother and sister in this land."
He said, "There are so many ways we can make Trinidad and Tobago a better place. We need to start to do some introspection. Introspection to recognise that the people causing us pain and hurt in Trinidad and Tobago are the sons, the brothers, the cousins, of law-abiding citizens in this land."
Williams assured Manwaring's wife, Kim Manwaring, that she and her two children, Keddeal and Kyla, would be given all the necessary support from the TTPS.
Officiant of the service Pastor Clive Dottin echoed Williams' sentiments.
Dottin said, "We cannot continue like this in our dear and noble land. We cannot have savages taking over this country. It is unfair and it is ungodly and it represents a certain spinelessness in this society. That people who just want to mash up the place can have that kind of free rein."
Manwaring was eulogised by his sister, Nadine Thomassian, and Senior Superintendent of Police of the Southern Division Cecil Santana.
Santana delivered an emotional speech as he told the congregation that Manwaring, fondly called "Mannie" by his colleagues, was an astute criminal investigator in the Southern Police Division during his eight years there.
"He earned the respect of his juniors and seniors alike," said Santana.
"He was an officer who never shirked his responsibilities and earned the respect of everyone he interfaced with. Even the persons he arrested and charged had nothing adverse to say about him. He was recognised as a humble, compassionate and reliable officer with integrity. He was favoured by all."
Santana said Manwaring gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country with his life.
"He wanted Trinidad and Tobago to be a safe place not only for his family and friends but for all of us," said Santana.
Santana said Manwaring had an excellent understanding of the laws of Trinidad and Tobago, and this was evident as the person he charged under the Anti-Gang legislation was the only surviving case from over 400 people charged during the 2011 State of Emergency.
Thomassian remembered her older brother as a loving and caring sibling, who as a child loved to fly kites and to sing extempo. She said he was an avid marathon runner, and was often referred to as the "Red Dragon", by his competitors.
Manwaring died after being shot in the abdomen by a robbery suspect in San Fernando last Tuesday. Four suspects, who were detained shortly after the incident, remain in police custody.
Manwaring was buried at the Tableland Public Cemetery near the graves of his parents.