Tue | Dec 1, 2020

‘He treated me like a queen’

Published:Monday | July 20, 2020 | 12:16 AMRuddy Mathison/Gleaner Writer
Pall-bearers carry the body of Detective Corporal Dane Biggs  during a service of thanksgiving at the Evangel Temple Deliverance Centre,  St Catherine, on Saturday, July 18.
Pall-bearers carry the body of Detective Corporal Dane Biggs during a service of thanksgiving at the Evangel Temple Deliverance Centre, St Catherine, on Saturday, July 18.

“On June 11 we spent the entire day together,” recalled Shamir Biggs, widow of Detective Corporal Dane Biggs. “I prepared one of his favourite dishes, ackee and salt fish with dasheen, soft yam and boiled banana. When he finished eating, I asked him if he enjoyed his meal, he looked at me with a smile and said, ‘Babe, it was great’.”

Little did Shamir know that this would be the last meal with her husband.

Detective Corporal Biggs was shot and killed during an operation to apprehend a suspect on June 12 in Horizon Park, Spanish Town.

Shamir , whose pre-recorded remembrance was played at her late husband’s funeral held at the Evangel Temple Deliverance Centre in Portmore, St Catherine, described him as a “gift sent to her from God”.

“On June 12, he kissed me and left for work. After hearing what had transpired, I prayed that God would bring him back even with a missing limb.

It finally hit me that he was never coming back, Dane was gone. That day he said goodbye not with words but with a kiss, he will always be in my heart,” the heartbroken widow said.

She chronicled his fine attributes in a perfect love story that began when she was a teenager getting ready to begin nursing school, and he was a promising young man in his early 20s, getting ready to enter the police academy.

She recounted some intimate moments.

“We did everything together. When he bought his first car he taught me how to drive, he always stood by me, even helping me with my studies,” she said.

“We spent 10 years together, three of those years we were married. We were preparing for a family, to have Dane Jr running around the house. I think God smiled on our marriage. Dane was the type of husband who took pride in caring for our home,” she said. They bought the house together in 2016, just before they got married.

Good Samaritan

Shamir described her late husband, a second-year degree student at the Caribbean Maritime University, as a soft-spoken good Samaritan who loved gardening and people, taking pride in offering provisions from their backyard garden to the neighbours.

“He treated me like a queen, he was such a gentleman,” she said, adding that he got baptised after they started dating, a move he told her was inspired by her Christian life.

The remains of Detective Corporal Dane Biggs were laid to rest at the family plot in Manchester on Saturday after the protracted funeral service.

The Jamaican flag-draped casket of the officer was carried into the church by uniformed officers from the St Catherine North Police Station, who also mounted a guard of honour. Only a limited number of persons were allowed inside the building because of the COVID-19 protocols. However, hundreds of people were on the outside trying to get a glimpse of the activities going on inside.

This prompted Police Federation Chairman Patrae Rowe, during his tribute, to take a swipe at the authorities for giving the green light for parties and social gathering of up to 280 people, but only allowed 50 persons for what he said was an important service to honour a fallen crime-fighter, who had paid the ultimate price.

The service was presided over by force chaplain Dr Gary Buddoo, who delivered the sermon in which he proclaimed that there will be a resurrection of the dead, referencing the biblical story of Lazarus in St John 11, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.

Other members of the Constabulary Force included Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson, who read the first lesson.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness virtually delivered his tribute, in which he praised the work of the deceased officer as an example to those who will come after him.

National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang and his opposition counterpart, Fitz Jackson, lauded the professionalism of the late police officer. Chang said Biggs paid the ultimate price for keeping the country safe, while alluding to his goodness and commitment to crime-fighting. Jackson said that the funeral was for a man who loved his work and gave up his life for the State.

Chairman of Police Officers Association Wayne Cameron, in his tribute, said the dreaded event is a reminder of the great dangers that police officers have to confront daily in order to keep the citizens of Jamaica safe.

“Detective Corporal Dane Biggs was at the forefront of a crime-fighting revolution that brought change to Spanish Town,” he said.

Other tributes were paid by Custos of St Catherine Jeffrey McKenzie, the batch of 94 which Biggs was a part of, former classmates at the Cross Keys Comprehensive High School, co-workers at the St Catherine North Police Division, and other rank-and-file officers. Selections also came from the Jamaica Constabulary Force band and the police choir.

A plaque was presented to Shamir Biggs by general secretary of the Police Federation of Jamaica, Detective Constable Tameca Thomas.

Dane Biggs, the only child for his mother, Joan Blair, and fourth for his father, Patrick Biggs, died at age 31 after serving the police force for 10 years. He was promoted to detective corporal in 2019. Before joining the Constabulary Force he attended the Cross Keys Comprehensive High School in Manchester. He is survived by his wife, mother, father and four siblings.