Glenroy Sinclair, Assignment Coordinator
He celebrated his 69th birthday last Thursday, then buried one of his uncles in Clarendon on Saturday. Less than 24 hours later, his relatives, some of whom had travelled from overseas, were plunged into deeper mourning when the news began spreading like 'wildfire' that retired Senior Superintendent of Police Anthony 'Tony' Hewitt's life was cut short by a gunman's bullet.
His death has pushed the number of persons murdered since January to more than 800. According to police records, between January 1 and September 15 of this year, there were 795 reported cases of homicide. In comparison, it was 776 for the corresponding period last year.
Hewitt, who grew up in the Johns Hall district of Clarendon, had been the darling of hundreds of Corporate Area residents since he joined the police force on August 21, 1963. During his tenure, he spent most of his time dismantling gangs and apprehending their members. Ironically, he is believed to have been killed by members of a notorious gang in St Andrew North, a terrain he policed for more than a decade.
"He was well loved," commented Calvin Benjamin, a retired senior superintendent, who was with him during a deadly gun battle with criminals along Deanery Road, Kingston 3, on November 6, 1981. Two policemen were killed in that incident.
Early in his working life, Hewitt left the postal service and got enrolled in the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF). Among his first assignments were duties at the Patrol Division. His hard work and dedication later arrested the attention of the top brass of what was then the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).
The fearless investigator then climbed up the ranks of the CID, which was later renamed the Criminal Investigation Bureau. As his investigative skills improved, so too did his popularity, which enhanced his capability in gathering first-class information, which was later processed into intelligence.
Apart from his local training in the JCF, he was also trained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States.
"He served this country well," said retired Assistant Commissioner Garnet Daley, who was his immediate supervisor at one stage while at the elite squad, the Special Anti-Crime Task Force.