Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson has paid tribute to the late retired police corporal, Sidney Preddie, who was better known as ‘School Boy’ in his hometown of Linstead, St. Catherine.
The commissioner, in a written tribute, said it is with ‘deep sadness’ that he is leading the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) ‘in mourning the loss of a retired colleague’.
He expressed condolences to the family – including Mr. Preddie’s widow Omarine James-Preddie; his children Christopher, David, Sydonie and Sanchia; and his siblings George and Doris.
“We pray God’s comfort as you journey through this time of grief,” the commissioner said. “As we mourn his passing, let us pledge to carry on the fight of reducing crime in Jamaica, thereby making our communities safer.”
Mr. Preddie, who delivered 33 years of service ‘to the people of Jamaica’, received seven commendations, Commissioner Anderson said.
Mr. Preddie is originally from Jones Town, Kingston.
He attended Denham Town Primary School, and later Calabar High on a scholarship.
He did odd jobs and sold goods in and around his native community before he enlisted in the JCF on 24 April 1978.
Mr. Preddie served the JCF in different Divisions – St. Catherine North, St. Catherine South, St. Andrew North, St. Mary, Area Two Headquarters, Criminal Investigations Branch (Operations), and St. Ann.
He spent several years at Linstead Police Station in St. Catherine North.
While in Linstead, Mr. Preddie, who was revered as a brave crime fighter – challenging even gunmen, met Ms. James of Linstead and they eventually became one.
“My husband was very quiet and observant; he liked to get to the root of any problem,” Mrs. Preddie told The Beacon, adding that her spouse was among a dying breed of virtually fearless crime fighters.
She said her husband also was revered by people at home and abroad.
“When he died, I got a lot of calls from people abroad,” Mrs. Preddie noted.
Amid the love, the late retired officer encountered fierce opposition.
In the latter part of his JCF stint, Mr. Preddie was shot and wounded while on an operation to apprehend criminals in the Grant’s Pen area of St. Andrew.
“He was shot in his knee and, after that, he walked with a limp,” Mrs. Preddie said.
The JCF later transferred Mr. Preddie from St. Andrew to St. Ann’s Bay Police Station in St. Ann.
The relatively long travel daily between his home in Linstead and workplace in St. Ann’s Bay became an issue for the then law enforcer.
“He was upset and he decided to take early retirement,” Mrs. Preddie recalled.
He retired from the JCF on 25 May 2011.
Mr. Preddie died on 3 October 2020 – six days after his 63rd birthday.
His widow stated that, based on the death certificate, her husband died of pneumonia. However, she noted that, days after Mr. Preddie passed away, the authorities told the family that he had tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
On Sunday, November 8, Mr. Preddie was interred at Dovecot Memorial Park.
He will be sorely missed.
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