SVG loses its first ever policewoman
January 29, 2010

SVG loses its first ever policewoman

The first woman to join the ranks of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force was laid to rest on Tuesday, January 26, 2010.{{more}}

In a fitting farewell to Florence Etaul Jackson-Prescod, many turned out to pay their final respects to a person who helped revolutionize gender roles in Vincentian society.

A large female contingent of police officers was present at the funeral service at the St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, and the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Band played beautiful music as they led the cortege to the Kingstown Cemetery.

Prescod passed away on January 7, 2010, in Florida, one day after celebrating her 92nd birthday.

Born on the outskirts of Kingstown, in the community of Lowmans Hill, on January 7, 1918, to Hugh and Lillian Jackson, Prescod spent most of her life in Barrouallie before moving to Kingstown where her career took flight.

Before embarking upon her police career, Prescod was a nurse and midwife in the 1950s and studied under the late former Governor General of St Vincent, Dr Sydney Gun Munroe, at the then Kingstown General Hospital.

Prescod’s introduction to the constabulary came in 1953 when Chief of Police, Colonel H. Jenkins, approached her to join the police force. Possessing the lone requirement of having midwifery experience, Prescod jumped at the opportunity and joined the ranks, stamping her name indelibly into this nation’s history books.

Aspects of her duties included: dealing with female prisoners and juveniles held in police custody. However, most would remember Prescod as being stationed between the white lines of pedestrian crossings across Kingstown.

Prescod also did course work at the Regional Police Training Centre in Barbados and also received a certificate in social work from the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus.

Being the lone female in a male-dominated field, Prescod managed to gain the respect of her colleagues of the opposite sex. Her highest achievement in the force came when she was promoted to the rank of Sergeant.

Former colleague of Prescod, retired police officer Robert A. Sandy, described her as a woman of “excellence” who had the respect of everyone she came across. “We got along very well, and she always managed to keep up the high standard of work when she was promoted,” Sandy recalled.

Sandy related an incident in which he was accused by another officer of wrong doing and recalled that it was Prescod who stood up for him. “She stood with me like the rock of Gibraltar… she was a great example for women and displayed all the qualities a police officer should have,” he said.

Reflecting on her life, son, Steve Prescod, said that his mother was a woman that epitomized the meaning of the term hardworking. He told SEARCHLIGHT that besides policing, she always loved social work. “Most of her life was basically: policing, nursing and social work,” Prescod said.

He added that he was glad to fulfill one of his mother’s lasts requests. “She always wanted to be buried in her homeland, and I’m glad that we were able to do that,” he added.

Another of Prescod’s former colleagues, Desmond Carr, described her as woman who “helped out in a lot of certain investigations…she was the lady that paved the way for other policewomen to join the force.”

Before migrating to Brooklyn in the early 1970’s, Prescod’s love for children blossomed after she retired from the police force in 1968. At that time, she took up work at the local Canadian Save the Children Organisation.

Prescod is survived by five children: Steve, Marva, Hubert, Rudolph and Copper Prescod and four siblings including: Jack Jackson, Lorna Liverpool and Vin Jackson.