PHILIPSBURG, St Maarten – Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs on Sunday, August 9th issued the following statement with respect to the passing of Police Officer Gamali Benjamin.
My fellow St. Maarteners,
“My heart is heavy as I offer, my family’s and Government’s deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Officer Gamali Benjamin. Officer Benjamin was firstly a son, a father and a husband to those who loved and knew him best, and this is a profound loss that no parent, child or spouse should have to suffer.
“Government has sworn that everything within our power will be done to bring those who have perpetrated these crimes to justice.
“I would be remiss, however, if I did not also offer condolences to Officer Benjamin’s colleagues, his second family, at the KPSM (Police Force Sint Maarten). There is a deep bond shared between those who have pledged an oath of service together, one that many cannot understand, and I wish you all strength and the Lord’s guidance as you continue to personally and professionally experience this sudden loss. We know that you will stop at nothing to bring justice to Officer Benjamin’s legacy.
“To the community, I wish us all the peace and strength during the days, weeks and months to come. Never before have we been faced with such a tragedy. Never in our island’s history have we seen our local law enforcement forced to say farewell to one of their own, taken from us in the line of duty. And never before has it been more crucial that we come together as a country to ensure that justice is served.
“If you or anyone you know is aware of any detail, no matter how unimportant you may think it is, please step forward. If you doubt for an instant your ability to make a difference to this community, I ask you to consider your parents, your friends, your siblings, your loved ones…this could have been any one of them, any one of us.
“And lastly, as family, friends and colleagues of Officer Benjamin grieve for their loved one and begin their healing, we remember that Officer Gamali Benjamin was a kind, engaging and peaceful young man. This country is a dimmer place without his presence, and I deeply mourn that fact. We must keep this spirit, his spirit, alive in these difficult times, or his life and his service has been given in vain.
“I call for St. Maarten, and for our neighbors to the north, to remember Officer Benjamin respectfully, safely and peacefully. Remember his good will, remember his dedication to his duties; hold these memories in your heart as we face the coming days as one country, stronger together.”