Linval Tennant – a law enforcer changing lives through music

Linval Tennant had no clue he would have touched so many lives through his membership of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and the George Washington Marching Band.

He lived a humble childhood on East Avenue in Linstead, St Catherine.

His father Clarence Tennant was a butcher in Linstead Market, and his mother Joyce Hinds would be in the said market selling portions of the animals butchered.

Linval recalled that he and his brothers often missed school on Fridays to help their late parents in the slaughterhouse.

He told The Beacon that, although he was made to learn the importance of hard work at an early stage, he grew up in a household that was filled with love – and sometimes food.

After completing Linstead Primary and Junior High School, as well as McGrath High, Linval worked at Decorative Arts and Ceramics in Spanish Town.

His next employment stop was at a grocery shop, which one of his brothers operated on East Avenue in Linstead.

Linval, however, had a penchant for law enforcement. He attempted to join the JCF, but was turned down repeatedly because he did not meet the minimum height requirement.

He eventually got an opportunity to become a district constable at Linstead Police Station.

Shortly after he sat the entry test for district constables, however, Linval got a security guard job in Antigua.

He was not yet settled in his overseas job when the JCF called him to start working.

Linval packed his belongings, left Antigua, and commenced working with the JCF in 1993.

“I am very proud to be a district constable‚Ķ” he told The Beacon.

“I work very hard; I am very professional; and I am a no-nonsense person. I do not abuse people; I try to keep the role of a police highly respected by the people from the community.”

Linval initially spent less than two years working in the guard room at Linstead Police Station.

He later worked at the Criminal Investigation Branch in Linstead, Spanish Town, Bog Walk and Guy’s Hill – all in the St Catherine North Police Division.

Linval, today, is on special assignment. He is attached to the Protective Services Division in Kingston, and is the Close Protection Officer for Denise Daley – Member of Parliament for St Catherine Eastern. He previously was assigned to Sharon Haye-Webster when she was Member of Parliament for the said constituency.

Linval Tennant (right) accepts an award on 28 July 2019 in Linstead. The occasion was the 66th anniversary award ceremony for the George Washington Marching Band.

Despite having to meet the demands of his full-time job, Linval, for umpteen years now, has been helping to mould young minds in his Linstead community, especially through the 66-year-old George Washington Marching Band.

“I know that the band does a wonderful and marvellous job to youths in the community,” he told The Beacon, adding that some of the band members are youngsters he recruited after they ran afoul of the law and were arrested.

Young people make up about 60 percent of the band, which has some 80 dedicated members.

Members of the group do not get salaries. The relatively small amounts of money earned are put aside to help members who have certain needs – such as schooling, Linval explained.

He stated that he became fascinated with the band in the late 1970s when he was a child, and when the group was known as the St Helen’s Boy Scout Troop.

“Music was a part of my life from way back when,” added Linval, who is now leader of the band.

ALSO READ: Linstead band serving from before Independence

Linval stated that, when he eventually retires, he will have a lot to smile about.

“I will sit and relax on my verandah and remember the good things I have done for Jamaica. I will feel proud of myself. I know I have done something worthwhile, and I am happy for what I have done,” he further told The Beacon.

By Horace Mills, Journalist


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