Senior Police Constable 185 Mark Luke, who has served his country since March, 1990, passed away on Wendesday 29th August, after several years of battling a terminal illness.
Commissioner of Police Mr. Derek Byrne states, “It is with great sadness that we hear of the passing of former Senior Police Constable Mark Luke. On behalf of the membership of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, past and present, I extend my deepest sympathy to Mark’s wife, his children, his mother, siblings, extended family and loved ones. Mark was a loyal and dedicated member of the RCIPS, having joined the service in 1990. In recent years Mark was attached to the Joint Marine Unit where he served with pride, distinction, commitment, professionalism and integrity. He is fondly remembered by his colleagues and friends in the service. Mark bravely fought his illness and maintained high spirits until his passing. Mark has left a vibrant and lasting impression in the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service. In the days leading to his passing Mark received a steady stream of visitors from the RCIPS where stories and memories were shared. The RCIPS in the weeks ahead will hold a commemorative celebration in memory of Mark at the Joint Marine Unit Base. The celebration will be a fine and dignified tribute to Mark and his work with the RCIPS.”
Though he has worked in other areas of policing, he had a love and connection with the Joint Marine Unit where he spent most of his policing career. He was a certified rescue swimmer and diver and with this training he managed to save many lives (some of which are mentioned below). He was loved and cared for by anyone who came in contact with him.
SPC Luke was a man of who could be considered a hero and has been named such in the Cayman Compass on several occasions. In July 2006, he along with his team rescued a family from the waters in the Pedro Castle area. During this rescue, Mark, putting his own safety aside, jumped into the water from the Pedro Castle cliffs to ensure the safety of this family. He and several others received the Commissioner’s Commendation and were celebrated at a banquet held by then Governor Mr. Stewart Jack.
Again, in July 2011 he was the first to arrive to a person in distress call where two (2) St. Matthews University students were in trouble in the water at Pedro Castle. After assessing the situation, he jumped off the Pedro cliffs with life vests to rescue the two students. He waited with them for 40 minutes until help arrived. It was said that if not for the actions of SPC Luke, the incident would have ended in tragedy. He was nominated for the Deputy Governor’s Award for this heroic act, and even though he did not win the award, his bravery was never forgotten.
Police Superintendent (Actg.) in charge of Specialist Operations Mr. Brad Ebanks states, “SPC Mark Luke served the RCIPS and this country as an outstanding officer. His humble and friendly demeanor was admired by many. His commitment to his work was of a great standard. I was privileged to see Mark’s tremendous hard work and his many rescues during his career as a serving police officer. Mark is undoubtedly the “gone hero” to all the officers of the Joint Marine Unit. He was a friend and a colleague and will be missed dearly. I join the Commissioner and also extend my condolences and that of the entire Joint Marine Unit to Mark’s family, friends and loved ones.”