Lt.Col. Claudius Matthias Roberts, MBE.,CPM by: Sharon Roberts-Hodge

By anguillian November 30, 2012 09:11

Lt.Col. Claudius Matthias Roberts, MBE.,CPM by: Sharon Roberts-Hodge


Mrs. Sharon Roberts-Hodge receiving award
on behalf of her grandfather, the late Colonel Roberts

Lt.Col Roberts was born on 15th. January, l9l3, and was one of seven sons and two daughters to the late George and Mary Roberts of The Valley. He was married to Eunice Roberts with whom he had ten children and lived at Crocus Hill, until his death in 1993.

Colonel Roberts came from an extended line of Police Officers in that his grand-father was a police officer as was his father who was a Police Sergeant in Anguilla. His parents made sacrifices in order for him to have a secondary school education. During those times this was not possible here on Anguilla and he was therefore sent to the St. Kitts-Nevis Grammer School where he excelled in his academics. Even at that early age, Lt.Col. Roberts demonstrated leadership qualities and showed an interest in the workings of Government and law enforcement.
After leaving school at 18years of age, he intended to follow a career in the legal profession, however, his father preferred that his first born son should follow him into the Police Service. Being fully aware of his son’s educational qualifications and ability, encouraged him, instead, to enlist in the Leeward Islands Police Force with full confidence that he would reach the top.

Having thus enlisted as a Constable in the Leeward Islands Police Force, during June, 1932, he serviced in Dominica; Grenada and St. Vincent, rising through the ranks until being appointed Deputy Commissioner of Police in St. Vincent during l956.

He then took up an appointment as Commissioner of Police in Grenada during l967 and retired to Dominica during the course of l969. This was the same time of the Anguilla revolution and the secession from the union of St. Kitts and Nevis. Soon after the revolution, British assignees were policing the island up until l972.

During his long and distinguished career, he received a number of awards:-
l950. The Colonial Police Long Service Medal.
1950. The first West Indian Police Officer to attend a non-gazetted Officers course at Hendon Police Training College (l950)
l952. The (l939-l945) War Medal.
l953. The Colonial Police Medal for Meritorious Service.
1953. Her Majesty’s Coronation Medal.
l962. Bar for Gallantry. (To his Colonial Police Medal).
l967. M.B.E. (Member of the most Excellent Order of the British Empire).
l967. Granted the rank of Lt.Colonel.

Col. Roberts, now retired, always held a burning desire to make a contribution to the advancement of his homeland Anguilla, which he loved so dearly. So when the opportunity became available, he decided to apply for the post of Chief of Police of Anguilla. This would be an excellent opportunity to assist in forming an Anguillian Police Force.

With the wealth of experience which he had accrued during his police service, he came out of retirement in 1972; took over from the British Metropolitan Police Force prior to their departure; formed the Anguilla Police Force and became the first Chief of Police of Anguilla until his retirement during l976.

People who worked with him and know him best all agreed that the four key factors that enabled him to survive in his policing career were his emphasis on discipline, a huge appetite for work , the ability to communicate with people on all levels and a phenomenal memory. One of his strongest characteristics was a refusal to give in when put under pressure. He fought strongly for the causes of what he believed to be right and was never patronising. Hence he believed that it was crucially important to communicate with his Officers in a straightforward, honest way. He often said “My Officers have to know that l say what l mean – If they are going to trust me”.

He later entered the political arena his intension being to further serve his country and in 1980 was Representative for Valley South in the Government of Ronald Webster and became Minister for Social Services and later Minister of Agriculture; Mineral Development and Fisheries. After serving a full term in Government he finally retired.

Lt. Col. Roberts died peacefully in his sleep in November 1993. His work ethic and determination continue to inspire me and many who have come into contact with him.

(Published without editing by The Anguillian newspaper.)

By anguillian November 30, 2012 09:11


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