Mon | Jun 1, 2020

Taken by terror - Friends mourn Jamaican among UN personnel killed in Libyan bomb blast

Published:Monday | August 12, 2019 | 12:00 AMJanet Silvera/Senior Gleaner Writer


“Regardless of the threat from terrorism, the government is very serious about fighting terrorists and other criminals,” were the words written by Clive Peck to one of his friends in Montego Bay, St James, in April this year.

Peck was commenting on the beauty of Tunisia in North Africa, a place from which he received inspiration in writing his music. Little did the former Jamaica Constabulary Force Special Branch policeman know that less than three months later, he would become a casualty of terrorists.

Peck, who was assigned to the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), was killed, along with two of his colleagues, Hussen Elhadar and Seniloli Tabuatausole, by a car bomb in Benghazi, Libya, on Saturday.

The bombing took place outside a mall during an agreed ceasefire for the Muslim holiday of Eid- al-Adha. Peck, who was admitted to hospital with third-degree burns, died from his injuries late Saturday.

Five persons were killed in the bombing.

His death has sent shockwaves not only through the UN, but among his former colleagues and friends here in Jamaica.

In a statement from Nader Darwich, chief of mission support at the UN, he described the men as three of his finest colleagues.

“Let their sacrifices be the path to a comprehensive peace in Libya so that their souls may rest in peace.”

Auween Wiggan, who has known Peck since their days at the Sangster International Airport where they were stationed, spoke of a man proud of his humble roots, who took every opportunity to talk about his childhood.

“He narrated amusing stories about popular characters in Smithville, Clarendon,” she reminisced, adding that he was articulate, a snazzy dresser, and a master at putting people at ease while extracting whatever information he needed.

“He knew he was destined for greatness, and after the opportunity to work with the UN presented itself, he kept in touch by letters with his ex-colleagues, extolling how he was surpassing his capabilities.”

Former colleague, attorney-at-law Henry McCurdy remembers Peck as a gentleman.

“We were at the Summit Police Station in the 1990s while he served at Special Branch and I was at CIB (Criminal Investigation Branch). I could count on him for advice. He was always ready to guide and motivate us.”

Last night, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kamina Johnson Smith said that she had met with Peck’s wife and conveyed her and the Government’s sympathy at his passing.

Johnson Smith said that she had also given the assurance that Jamaica’s Consul General and permanent mission to the UN, both based in New York, “are at the ready to provide any support they could provide to her should she need same”.