“He not only wanted to be a policeman. That was his dream. He lived to be a policeman,” Eldon Brooks said of his late father, Ornel Brooks, who lost his battle with colon cancer while undergoing treatment in Belize City this morning.
One of my father’s favorite phrase was “top cop,” Eldon said of the man who rose from the humble rank of Constable to Commissioner of Police, after spending some thirty-odd years in the Belize Police Department.
Brooks took over command of the Police Department in November 1996, and held the post for the next three years.
Following his retirement, Brooks’ next posting was at the National Drug Abuse Control Council (NDACC), where he assumed the post of director.
When his job at NDACC came to an end, Brooks took over the security operation of the Belize Central Bank, as chief of security, before settling into his quiet retirement.
But Ornel Brooks was no ordinary man. He bore his illness with quiet dignity, never bothering his family.
“He was a person that whenever he grieves, he grieves alone. So, we never knew that he had cancer. We never had the slightest idea that he was that ill,” Eldon said.
I came down from Belmopan on Tuesday and sat down with him. I told him to let’s go to the doctor. But he told me to give him until Thursday.
He never told us anything about his illness, the younger Brooks said.
He said he discovered, quite accidentally, another aspect of his father’s love for privacy and his golden heart when a few people told him that Ornel had paid their tuition, or that he took care of them in other ways.
“I was surprised when some of these people come up to me in the streets and tell me what my father had done for them,” said Eldon.
Ornel Brooks was the father of three – Eldon, Tamara, and Janell Brooks.
A memorial service will be held in the honor of Ornel Brooks on Monday at 2:00 p.m. at St. John’s Anglican Church.