Yesterday, 14 November, over 60 people gathered at the Joint Marine Base in Newlands to celebrate the life and service of SPC Mark Luke, a former member of the Unit and beloved colleague who passed away after a long battle with cancer in August. The RCIPS invited family members, friends and officers to the ceremony to participate in the remembrance of SPC Luke, share stories and memories, and also to witness the unveiling of a vessel being renamed in his honour.
A/Supt Brad Ebanks, Head of Specialist Operations, including the Joint Marine Unit, led an intimate ceremony that featured remarks about SPC Luke from current and past officers that worked with him. DCoP Kurt Walton gave an overview of SPC Luke’s over 25 years of service, and facilitated the participation of former PC Jeremy Dufour from Canada by phone. He also read a tribute from former PC Raul Espinosa. They both shared their memories of Mark while working in the JMU. The program also included a prayer that was eloquently delivered by CI Everton Spence and a tribute sung by Mr. Dewy Ebanks, who had been Mark’s supervisor in the JMU and long time friend. Other officers past and present shared other memories that recalled Mark’s strong work ethic and bravery, which earned him recognition during his career as a strong rescue swimmer.
At the end of the ceremony, the interceptor Marine Vessel M/V Tornado was dedicated in Mark’s memory as the M/V M. Luke, and was unveiled by Deputy Governor Franz Manderson and Commissioner of Police Derek Byrne. The Tornado was known to have been Mark’s favourite vessel when he worked in the JMU.
The Last Post was played on the trumpet by RCIPS Marching Band member David Forbes at the conclusion of the ceremony. A photograph of Mark during his time with the Unit was also unveiled will be installed in the JMU offices.