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Jun 12, 2014

More primary school students complete the GREAT Program

An award ceremony was held today for two hundred and ten students who were successful in the popular GREAT program of the Police Department. It was a happy occasion for the students from south side schools who took part and learned to generally make good decisions in the critical issues they confront. News Five’s Duane Moody was there and has this report.

 

Jamal Brooks, Std. V Student, Wesley Upper School

“The program made me learn a lot of things; make sure I make a good mistake because if I make a bad mistake, my life would be ruin.”

 

Duane Moody

“Now are you a bad person?”

 

Jamal Brooks

Jamal Brooks

“No I’m a good student. I wah say fi make sure everybody do good because you noh want be a gang banger or you’ll be killed or go dah jail.”

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Jamal Brooks is a standard five student of Wesley Upper School in south side Belize City. He is one of two hundred and ten students from the Wesley Upper School and St. John Vianney to be honored today at the graduation ceremony of the GREAT Program of the Police Department. The Gang Resistance Education and Training initiative is funded by the US Embassy and has at risk youths participating in a thirteen-week program that teaches them key life skills.

 

Hortence Hernandez

WPC Hortence Hernandez, Community Policing Officer, Precinct 1

“The effort of great is to have students in primary school be more responsible; making positive decisions that will affect them not just today, but later on in their futures. Our effort is to deteriorate crime. We know for a fact that a lot of young youths are committing some very grave crimes and we don’t want that to happen in Precinct one, we want that to deter; we want to stop that. Change does not happen and it cannot happen in thirteen weeks, but we have planted a seed and when anyone of our children go out there, you know what I know about this; I should make a good decision that will affect me. So yes we plant a very good seed. And not all of them, we have approximately two hundred and ten; not all of them will follow what we have taught them, but we know majority of them will follow.”

 

For Naomi O’Brien, a standard five student of St. John Vianney, she has learned how to manage her anger.

 

Naomi O’Brien

Naomi O’Brien, Std. V Student, St. John Vianney

“I learn how to manage your anger tips and say no and mean it if anyone try to offer you drugs.”

 

Duane Moody

“Was there a hard part to the program?”

 

Naomi O’Brien

“No really.”

 

Duane Moody

“It is all about targeting children at a young age before dehn get outta hand and dehn get bad. Were you a bad person? You give trouble?”

 

Naomi O’Brien

“No most of the time.”

 

Duane Moody

“What advice would you give your friends, your classmates about the program and why dehn should be part of it?”

 

Naomi O’Brien

“Well you should be part of it because if you end up in a situation—if anyone offer you drugs—you should say no and walk away from them. You should not stay with them or else you’ll get in trouble with them.”

 

Duane Moody

“You appreciate police more?

 

Naomi O’Brien

“Yes. According to Community Policing Officer, Corporal Hortence Hernandez, the program also breaks that misconception that police are the “bad guys.”

 

WPC Hortence Hernandez

“We have talked about that—doing it without uniforms so that we would be more receptive at school—but we encountered no problem. The students know who we are, what our purpose is at the school. Boundaries and barriers were there—we had to have boundaries. I am the law enforcement officer, I am here for a reason; we did not encounter problem. We worked bvery well together—both police officers, the students and the teachers.”

 

Over two thousand primary school children have passed through the program. Duane Moody for News Five.

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