Commissioner of Prisons Gerard Wilson did not mince words yesterday as he issued a stern warning to criminals bent on harming members of the protective services. Quoting the song Year for Love, by soca artiste Voice, he said these people would feel the fire of justice in due time.
Speaking before a densely packed Faith Assembly Church in Arouca, a visibly emotional Wilson said he was deeply saddened by prison officer Devendra Boodooram’s murder and called on criminals to change their ways, lest they suffer the consequences of their lifestyle. Boodooram, 50, was shot dead on Frederick Street one week ago.
“As I stand here giving this tribute to a fine officer, I can’t help but hear the haunting sounds of what I consider one of the best contributions in song for the 2018 Carnival season by soca artiste Voice. He says it’s a year for love, which I have modified slightly: ‘Bad man, rock back and look for a wuk, if you keep distressing my officers, fire go bun yuh.’”
Wilson added that while speaking to one of his fellow officers at the Port of Spain prison, Boodooram contemplated early retirement because of the worsening crime situation. Wilson said he could not understand why the late officer would be the target of any violent attack as he strove to maintain good relations with both inmates and officers.
“Ironically, his fears and concerns may have really been a premonition of that fateful Friday afternoon.
“The high absenteeism, particularly by the main shift staff on the Monday following his untimely demise, spoke volumes, as Devendra never had an enemy on the job as he avoided confrontation at all costs. Word on the ground is when some inmates heard of his execution, mere metres away from where he served with distinction, they became upset, because they felt this was not the way for an officer like Devendra to expire.”
Boodooram’s daughter Tisha delivered a moving eulogy, in which she recalled her time with the man many affectionately referred to as “Boods.” She remembered the father of two as a shining example of humility and safety who worked hard to provide for his family.
Longtime friend and co-worker Rajkumar Ramroop also shared his memories of Boodooram and was moved to tears when he recalled their adventures as new recruits.
“We would often travel to work in my old vehicle and even eat from the same bowl. I remember when he just began courting his wife he would tell me about how uncertain he was.
“He was a fine officer.”
During their performance, members of the prison service band were also brought to tears as they sang a moving version of the gospel song Made a Way, and had to be consoled by a senior prison officer while onstage.
Boodooram’s body was taken to the Belgroves Funeral Home in Tacarigua under military escort for cremation.