BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, September 15, 2018 (PLP PR Media Inc.) — Hundreds defied an afternoon and early evening downpour Friday September 14 as they joined in the celebration of the life of the Late Sergeant Leon ‘Shabba’ Powell which took place at the Newton Ground Recreation Ground, and at the St. Paul’s Methodist Church Cemetery.
The colourful but solemn state funeral of the former police officer who was in charge of the Stapleton Police Station and who was gunned down at his business place in his home town, Newton Ground, on Saturday August 18, was fully funded by the Government. Leading the Nation at the funeral were Governor General His Excellency Sir Tapley Seaton, GCMG, CVO, QC, JP, and Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr the Hon Timothy Harris.
Officiating at the funeral service, which was held under a massive tent on the Newton Ground Recreation Ground, was Pastor Curtley W.A. Mills Sr. of the Church of God of Prophecy in Newton Ground, who was assisted by Forces Chaplain Pastor Ericson Cumberbatch. Special tributes were made by among others, Commissioner of Police Mr Ian Queeley, and the late sergeant’s brother Mr Sheldon Powell who spoke on behalf of their father, Mr Clinton Powell of Miami USA, who was present.
“I would like, on behalf of the Government and people of St. Kitts and Nevis, to extend condolences to the family, friends, loved ones, and the members of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force, as we all mourn the tragic passing of Sergeant Leon Eric Dasent Powell,” said Prime Minister Dr the Hon Timothy Harris, as he prepared to present the first scripture reading at the service. “I want to read from Romans 8 verses 31-39, and to pray that the word of God would bring comfort to those who grieve.”
The sermon was delivered Mr Clinton Powell Jr., a brother of the deceased who said it was both his pleasure and honour to share at his brother’s home-going celebration. He noted that while some may say ‘funeral’, he chose to use the word ‘celebration’ because they were celebrating the life of his brother, “your fellow officer, your friend, your colleague. Can we celebrate Leon today?”
On behalf of the entire Powell family and friends, he extended their heartfelt gratitude for the outpouring of calls, texts, tributes, and prayers as they not only mourned but also celebrated the life of Leon, who was better known as Shabba. The Late Sergeant Powell is survived by his children – Tahj, Alleon-J, and Leoniyah Powell.
Acknowledging the distinguished delegates and guests present, Mr Clinton Powell Jr. said: “First and foremost Governor General Sir Tapley Seaton, thank you for your attendance. The Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis the Hon Dr Timothy Harris, thank you for your presence and your participation in today’s ceremony – it is truly an honour. To the Commissioner of Police Mr Ian Queeley, thank you so much for your leadership, love and support throughout this heart-breaking ordeal.”
He concluded the acknowledgements by saying “last but certainly not least, a special thank you to all the men and women that serve in the Royal St. Kitts and Nevis Police Force. Thank you more for your dedicated service to the Federation, the individual communities you serve, and the lives you have sworn to protect and serve. I pray for protection and many blessings to you and your families. Thank you all once again for your attendance as you can see there is not enough chairs for people who want to celebrate the life of Leon.”
After the service, and under a heavy downpour, members of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force and the St. Kitts and Nevis Defence Force marched ahead of the open gun carriage with the casket of their fallen colleague all the way to St. Paul’s Methodist Church Cemetery for the interment, arriving there shortly after 6:00 pm drenched to the skin.
Many people remained in their vehicles and buses that had ferried them to the burial ground. However, a number of those who had ventured to come out ended up taking shelter in the chapel at the burial ground. Only a few who held umbrellas witnessed the actual interment. The ceremony was accompanied by a two volley of gun salute that startled some of those who were sheltering in the chapel.
According to Senior Meteorological Officer, Mr Elmo Burke, residual moisture and instability that followed Tropical Storm Isaac triggered some moderate to heavy downpours on Friday in St. Kitts. St. Paul’s area was certainly hit by heavy downpours which many said were blessings for the departed soul of Sergeant Leon ‘Shabba’ Powell.