Sat | Dec 9, 2023

‘He spoke up when it was too late’

Published:Thursday | November 28, 2019 | 12:00 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer
Sherene Gayle and her daughter, Shanoya Burton, at the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) luncheon for children of fallen officers at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Tuesday. The event was part of Police Week.

There is only one piece of information Sherene Gayle wished the father of her child had not kept a secret.

She still does not know how long he suffered from poor circulation in his legs but said, “he started to speak up when it was way too late.”

Constable Duwyane Burton of the Kingston Central division served in the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) for 13 years and is one of 43 officers who died since November 2018.

His daughter Shanoya Burton was honoured at the JCF Commissioner’s Luncheon for Children of Fallen Officers, held at the Port Antonio Suite, Jamaica Pegasus, Tuesday afternoon.

It was a Friday afternoon in February when Gayle got a call from an employee at the Kingston Central Division, informing her that Burton had been rushed to the hospital.

Her concern would heighten when she received several calls from family and friends asking one question, “Yuh hear anything?”

The officer would call back with the line she did not expect to hear. “I’ve heard about it. I’ve seen it happen to people, but I never knew it would happen to me – that I would have a child that is without a father at such a tender age,” Gayle said.


“He had poor circulation and it developed blood clots which travelled to his lungs and gave him a heart attack. He’s very secretive so when he got sick, he didn’t say anything to anybody. He will go to the extent to help people, but when it comes to his health, he hides it,” Gayle explained.

When she broke the news to her daughter, she recalls that she sighed a couple times and then made an outburst.

Five-year-old Burton wants to become a police officer for one simple reason, “I like police clothes.”

The mother and daughter continue to grapple with the loss, but on Tuesday Gayle embraced her daughter as she rocked to a rendition of John Lennon’s Stand by me being played by the JCF band.