Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Brown is being remembered for his friendly demeanour and his work as a football referee in Cayman.
Brown, 49, was killed on Sunday evening in a boating accident in North Sound near Prospect. He was thrown overboard in the two-boat collision. Search and rescue personnel recovered his body about noon on Monday.
Brown, a Caymanian, spent 22 years as an officer with the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service before retiring last year. Along with a partner, he owned the play structure at Starfish Point. He was also closely tied to the Cayman football community as a former player as well as a referee.
Alfredo Whittaker, president of the Cayman Islands Football Association, said the island has lost more than a former police officer and referee.
“The most important thing about Manny, I think,” Whittaker said, “is he was a great person. He was a great human being.”
Whittaker said Brown was a pleasure to be around.
“He was very funny,” he said, “great sense of humour, and very quiet. I never recall him raising his voice to anyone.”
A police spokesman said those who knew Brown as an officer were stunned by his death.
Acting Superintendent of Specialist Operations Brad Ebanks was area commander for the eastern districts when he worked with Brown.
In an email, he called Brown “one of the best police officers I’ve ever had the pleasure of working alongside. I first worked with him in the Drugs Task Force. He was passionate about his work because he had seen firsthand how drugs can affect families.”
Working the drug task force, Ebanks said, “it’s common to come across troubled youth and he made it a point to advise/counsel them despite having to uphold the law. He was an all around good guy and very fair. So fair in fact, that if he gave you a traffic ticket you would thank him.”
“His passing is tragic,” he added, and “he will be missed by many officers as both a colleague and a friend. Our hearts go out to his family.”
Fellow referee and head of refereeing at the Cayman Islands Football Association Livingston Bailey said Brown’s temperament served him well on the field when players’ nerves would get frayed.
“He had this great smile and a way to calm people down and get people to understand what he was trying to do. He was the type of referee players could respect.”
Bailey also worked with Brown on the police service. Brown had already been with RCIPS for a year when Bailey joined the ranks in 1997.
“He was an outstanding officer,” Bailey said.
He said Brown worked on the drug task force and the marine unit.
“He was a gentleman,” he added. “He really upheld the principles and code of conduct.”
When he was not using his boat to commute back and forth to his business at Starfish Point, he would head to open waters, Bailey said.
“He liked fishing,” he said. “He loved the sea.”
Both Whittaker and Bailey said they remember Brown as a football player in his younger years, when he played in the adult leagues.
“He was a prolific goal scorer and one who was passionate about the game,” Bailey said.
He added that Brown’s son Rico seemed to inherit that passion, and became a top player for the Bodden Town team.
“I’m sure everyone is in mourning,” Bailey said. “I want to personally express my condolences to Emmanuel’s family. It was really painful to accept that this was really true.”
While he is dealing with that sadness, Bailey said he has happy memories of Brown.
“He’d always find a way to make you laugh,” he said. “He was just a happy guy. He could walk into anywhere and set it ablaze with laughter.”