Superintendent Sinclair White
The sad passing of our good friend and former colleague, retired Superintendent Sinclair “Sinky” White on 21st March 2023, gave us time to pause and reflect on Sinclair’s tremendous contribution to the Bermuda Police Service during a career which began 50 years ago when he first donned his police uniform in October 1973 – and we can’t think of anyone who has ever looked smarter than Sinclair as he represented the BPS with great pride, style, sincerity and commitment.
Sinclair’s Celebration of Life funeral, held at Christchurch in Devonshire, on Friday 31st March 2023, was packed with family, friends, colleagues, and persons from all walks of life, and the BPS provided a Full Service Tribute which included draping the coffin with the BPS flag, displaying his police hat, ceremonial sword, and Sinclair’s police medals on the coffin, providing pallbearers, and arranging for the playing of the Last Post at graveside.
With Commissioner Darrin Simons off the Island, Assistant Commissioner Martin Weekes, gave the following Tribute to Sinclair which summarized his outstanding career as a police officer:-
On behalf of the Commissioner of Police, Police Officers, Reserve Officers and Staff who served with Supt White, I offer my sincere condolences to his family and friends.
Sinclair joined the then Bermuda Police Force at the age of 22 in October 1973, on Recruit Foundation Course # 17 having previously served as a Corporal in the Bermuda Regiment between 1970 and 1971.
Having viewed Sinclair’s application form to join the police I note that he expressed an interest in Photography, Music and Interior Decorating. He also listed a scientific interest in Chemistry & Meteorology. I am not certain how any of those were of assistance to him in his policing career.
Having successfully passed out from the course he was initially posted to Central Division Hamilton Police Station in 1974. After just a year in uniform patrol, in 1975 Sinclair was given an attachment to the Murder Room where he remained until 1979 following which he returned to Uniform Patrol.
Following a number of other attachments to various specialist units he was transferred to the Criminal Investigation Division as a Detective Constable in 1980.
Young Detective Sinclair White
In 1983 Sinclair applied to the Commissioner to come out of CID to broaden his experience and was transferred to the Training School as an Instructor.
During this time Sinclair was often sent overseas to represent the Police and Bermuda at events put on by the Department of Tourism cutting a dashing figure in his tailored Bermuda Shorts and Bobby Helmet.
He remained in the instructor role in Training School for five years, where in 1987 he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant.
In 1988 he was briefly assigned to Operations (Traffic) and later that year returned to the Training Department where he remained until his promotion to Inspector in 1991.
On promotion he became a Watch Inspector (on “D” Watch) in Hamilton and later worked in a number of roles within the Crime Division.
He was also appointed by the Commissioner as an Honorary Aide de Camp to the Premier in 1992 requiring him to carry out ceremonial duties.
In 1996 he was appointed as OIC of the Major Incident Room (formally the Murder Room) and promoted to Chief Inspector.
In October of that year he took over responsibility for Complaints and Discipline where he was commended by the Commissioner for his work in reducing the backlog of complaints against police.
In 2001 Sinclair was promoted to the rank of Superintendent and worked at various times in Operational Policing, Operational Support and Crime Division roles.
Sinclair graduated from the Executive Command Course, at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Quantico Virginia in 1997 and the International Strategic Leadership Course at the Bramshill Police Staff College in UK in 2003.
Sinclair was the recipient of seven Commissioners Commendations between 1979 and 2007 often quoting such attributes as “zeal, dedication to duty and detective ability” along with 23 letters of appreciation and nine letters of good work.
Sinclair was awarded the Colonial Police Long Service & Good Conduct Medal with 25 and 30 year bars and was recognised by Her Majesty the Queen in the 1999 New Year’s honours with the Colonial Police Medal for Meritorious Service.
Sinclair was once described by then Commissioner of Police, Jean-Jacques Lemay, as a very capable and ambitious senior officer who provided a high level of service to the Police Service and the people of Bermuda.
A popular and well-liked officer, Sinclair retired as a Superintendent in October 2007 after 34 years service, moving on to head up the newly formed Bermuda Financial Intelligence Agency.
Retired Superintendent Rev. Larry Smith gave the opening prayer at the Service and spoke fondly of his long association and friendship with Sinclair.
Tributes were also given to Sinclair by Calon Hollis for his work with The Financial Intelligence Agency; Cheryl Lister for the valuable contribution Sinclair made to The Caribbean Financial Action Task Force and the National Anti-Money Laundering Committee; Marva Bridgewater for Sinclair’s tireless work for the Berkeley Educational Society; and Bill Pitman for his many years of service with the Paget Parish Council.
The following Obituary to Sinclair appeared in the Order of Service:-
HAROLD SINCLAIR RAMSEY WHITE, the beloved husband of Carol Mindell White and father to Patrick and Jae, was born in Paget Parish. He was the son of the late Fay Alfreda White and Wycliff (Jack) Sinclair Ramsey. Sinclair was affectionally known to everyone as ‘Uncle Sinclair’.
The family are appreciative of all the tributes that have been expressed about our much-loved Sinclair, however, there are only a few of us who really know why Sinclair was so regimented, beginning with the Boy Scouts and Junior Cadets, then the Royal Bermuda Regiment, the Bermuda Police Service and all the other organisations he belonged to.
Well, do any of you know the ‘girl’ he called Pat—she was the Sergeant Major who ruled 23 Collector’s Hill. The Sergeant Major would have Sinclair, Webster and James (Tony) march around and around the perimeter of the house with pots on their heads, stand at attention and salute each time they came around. As children they were like four peas in a pod. Whenever Sinclair, Webster or Tony was going to get the ‘dreaded’ Black Brush, Patricia would tell them to run and hide behind their huge Collie, Andy, who would show his teeth at their Moms (Fay and Ruth White). Needless to say, Sinclair was one of the culprits who eventually hid that ominous ‘Black Brush’ in the chimney.
Sinclair learned how to mend, wash and iron his clothes. He also would cook, knit, make a sheet look good on a bed and polish his shoes. We could never run out of Kiwi polish—and subsequently, his Scout badges, Regiment and later Police medals were kept highly polished and sparkling. All these traits he carried into adulthood.
Sinclair married Carol, AND the Lightbourne Family, on October 27, 1990. Their union lasted thirty-three years.
Carol, Patrick and Jae, reaped the benefits of Sinclair’s childhood grocery shopping and hands-on cooking classes. Sinclair, along with Webster and Tony, helped with the shopping and every Saturday carried up Collector’s Hill, bags of groceries, which included three gallons of milk, one gallon for each of them. Sinclair learned how to make cassava pie, peas & rice, mac‘n’cheese, shepherd’s pie and bread pudding, to name just a few.
Although Fay and Ruth had a great maternal influence on his life, Sinclair was blessed to have had three uncles as role models. They taught him masonry, carpentry, sportsmanship, financial obligations, service and family values, all of which we who are here today can attest to. He gave of himself unconditionally.
Sinclair was a ‘Halloween baby’. His Mom would always have a huge birthday cake for him, which was shared by his cousins, along with ice cream and the Halloween Treats.
As children, we would spend time with our Aunt Louise at her grocery store on Cobb’s Hill. Sinclair’s job was to weigh the peanuts and make deliveries around the Cobb’s Hill area.
There is no way that we can forget to mention fishing and swimming off Flatts Bridge. Sinclair and his cousins would walk to Flatts, catch “a very big prize fish”, so big that in one swallow dinner was finished. Although the boys went alone, they were watched over by Uncle Jack Minors, an Uncle they called the man with the cigar.
Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations were held at the family homestead on Collector’s Hill, where all the family, extended family and friends gathered. As years passed, we saw less of Sinclair at these gatherings, as his life in service as Constable No. 471 up until his retirement as Superintendent of The Bermuda Police Service, consumed much of his time. However, retirement for Sinclair was not meant to be. He soon took the opportunity to become the Director of the Financial Intelligence Agency, a position he held right up until his illness. AND as life would have it, he was then able to spend more quality time with his family.
Do you wonder where he got his sense of style from? On any occasion, whether it be going to the Easter Parade, Sunday School, etc., Sinclair, Webster and Tony would be decked to the nines, every piece of clothing homemade, the boys wearing white buck shoes and Patricia in smocked dresses. This immaculate dress style followed him into his adult life, Sinclair being able to shop for brand-name clothing for Carol, his Mom and his Aunt Ruth. Christmastime was a treat for them because he would always be laden with beautifully wrapped boxes of clothing and other gifts to present to them. AND, please, let’s not forget the Hallmark Cards for every occasion and for everyone.
Sinclair attended Elliott Primary School, where he excelled academically, and always brought home sports awards. Sinclair attended The Berkeley Institute (Gold House) and furthered his education at Exeter College in the U.K.
Sinclair achieved a great deal through study and community involvement. Most notably with the Exeter College Rugby Club, Teachers Rugby Club, Somers Isles Jaycees, Warwick Academy PTA, Hannibal Lodge 224 under the Irish Constitution. Of course, his supreme dedication was to his chosen profession “Policing”. Every now and then he was ‘gently’ reined in and reminded about Family Life by that ‘girl’ he would always refer to as Pat. He would say, “we better go and ask ‘Pat’ first”. During one of these ‘rein-ins’, that ‘girl’ Pat indicated to him that she needed help with, as we called them, ‘the Girls’. Sinclair immediately responded and set the time aside by assisting with his Mom’s medication and then ensuring that he took his Aunt Ruth to Marsden First United Methodist Church every Sunday morning. Hence the beginning of his strong commitment to the Church.
Sinclair adored Carol and was always pondering what could he do for her. Throughout his illness, he didn’t miss out sending her flowers, the last delivery being on Valentine's Day. Demco Florist, thank you, as the whole family knows as well that he kept you busy delivering flowers.
Sinclair also ensured that Patrick, Jae, and Kiara persevered in their educational endeavours.
On Tuesday, March 21, 2023, Harold Sinclair Ramsey White transitioned from labour to reward.
Interment took place at Marsden First United Methodist Cemetery, Smiths Parish.
On 1st April, The Royal Gazette published an excellent article about the contribution Sinclair made to the Bermuda community (CLICK HERE to view it) headed “Sinclair White (1951-2023): a ‘Capable. Ambitious, Police Officer “written by Jonathan Bell.