Mark Luke memorialized for years of dedicated service

Marine vessel named in officer’s honor

Cayman’s law enforcement community came together Wednesday afternoon to commemorate one of its own.

Police Constable Mark Luke, who died Aug. 29 at the age of 48, was recognized at the Marine Base in Newlands during an intimate gathering of colleagues and family, who remembered him for his dedication and sacrifice.

One of his favorite Joint Marine Unit vessels – Tornado – was rechristened “M Luke” in his memory.

“This vessel is one of our ‘go-fast’ interceptors. It’s capable of intercepting just about any vessel that we come up in challenge with. It has numerous law enforcement capabilities,” said Brad Ebanks, acting superintendent of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service specialist units.

“If we replace this vessel with another vessel, the name will go on that vessel as well.”

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Mr. Ebanks said if more people lived like Mr. Luke, a decorated and award-winning senior constable, that the world would be a better place.

“He was a dedicated officer. He was a very brave and committed officer. Unfortunately, he passed away but he has left a lasting impression on all of us. We are honored to be here this afternoon,” he said.

“Mark was very professional, very dedicated. I never heard Mark say, ‘No, I can’t do that. No, I can’t help.’”

He served the RCIPS for 28 years.

Before his passing, Mr. Luke, who endured a long battle against intestinal cancer, fought for alternative cancer treatment options in the islands.

During his years of active duty, he was known for his bravery.

The trained rescue swimmer was lauded after risking his life when he jumped off Pedro Bluff in Bodden Town to save two distressed swimmers. When one of the swimmers offered him a financial award, he refused to accept.

He also won the deputy governor’s award in May 2013 for his service.

Mr. Luke’s aunt, Annie Ebanks, said her nephew left a great legacy.

“He was well-loved amongst his colleagues, his family members, his children and we miss him dearly,” Ms. Ebanks said.

“So today we are very honored to feel the presence of the Marine Unit coming together along with Immigration, Customs, the whole RCIPS … to honor Mark in this way. Words cannot express how we truly feel.”

She described Mr. Luke as a humble man who never bragged about his many accomplishments.

“We are very proud of Mark always. [There are] many things that we have learned since his death that we didn’t know about: his medals, his commendations that he received. He was so humble,” she said.

“Mark was always there to help a convict, to try and lead them and help them to see the right way to live and not to do wrong. He tried to help those that were always in trouble continuously. He was there to help them lead a different life.”

A photo memorializing Mr. Luke will be hung in the Joint Marine Unit reception area.

Compass journalist Alvaro Serey contributed to this story.

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