A stern warning from a police officer was enough to convert Glenford Whyte from a life of illegal taxi operating to one of law enforcement.
The resident of Point Hill in St Catherine, last evening, received a special award for long service when the St Catherine North Police Division (Zone Four) hosted its awards ceremony at Becca’s Estate in Point Hill.
Whyte retired in August this year after serving 32 years as a district constable at the police station in his rural community.
Reflecting on his impressive conversion to a law enforcer, Whyte, now 66, told The Beacon: “I just left school at the time and the girls were plenty. As soon as you start run a taxi, you get a lot of girls… I used to run taxi and I used to get stopped by the police.
“A particular police once told me, ‘if you don’t join this work, I won’t stop bothering you on the road’. That’s how I ended up joining in 1986,” he added.
Whyte further stated that he has earned the respect and admiration of Point Hill residents – some of whom he perhaps arrested.
“I love the job. I made a lot of arrests and luckily I never have any problem with anybody I had to arrest. It was good. I am satisfied giving such service for so many years,” he explained.
“I gained a lot of respect because everywhere I go people call to me. About two [police] superintendents come here and told me I can run for member of parliament now because everywhere I go I am known.”
Whyte attributed his law enforcement longevity to the help of his maker.
“The strength of God kept me going on,” he declared. “I said I want to be happy and my family to be happy; by the help of God I succeeded. I am still strong; I still feel like I could work a next 20 years again.”
Whyte, who is married to Millicent Whyte, has four children – one of whom gunmen murdered in Kingston about five years ago.
The retired district constable, to date, struggles with memories of his son Andre, who was a 30-year-old pilot in the Jamaica Defence Force at the time he was gunned down.
“For months – actually years, each time I talk about him, is like I start to cry,” Whyte told The Beacon. “I try to avoid anyone saying anything to me about him.”
He, in the meantime, encouraged members of the police force to steer clear of corruption and indiscipline, and to eventually retire with dignity.
“I encourage all of the young ones to know how to operate with people on the road, and try to avoid taking bribes and finding yourselves in problem,” added Whyte, who said he was born in Lluidas Vale district – not far from Point Hill.
By Horace Mills, Journalist