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Jan 13, 2015

Costa Rican Officials Visit Belize City Primary Schools for GREAT Program

The Vice Minister of Public Security, Maria Elizondo, and two other senior officials from Costa Rica are in Belize. The two-day visit to the jewel is to get a first-hand feedback on the success of the community policing initiative, the Gang Resistance Education And Training program. The program which is sponsored by the U.S. Government’s Central America Regional Security Initiative is duplicated in Central American countries such as El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.  The Costa Rican officials are in Belize to see whether the program can be implemented in that country. Locally, the program was installed back in 2009 and piloted at Trinity Methodist School and Queen Square Anglican Primary School. We caught up with the delegation led by NCO of the Community Policing Unit, Sergeant Elroy Carcamo at their first stop at Trinity School in King’s Park.

 

Elroy Carcamo

Sgt. Elroy Carcamo, NCO, Community Policing, Eastern Division

“Different countries have been participating since the training started in Central America in 2009, but not all the countries have implemented the program. And so what we have, we have the vice minister coming in and they are observing  the program, how we run it here in Belize because they want to see the different ways it is done in order to implement it in their country where they come from. The program has been over four years in Belize and Belize has been highly recommended with the program in Central America. The program was piloted first, where it started out, and Trinity was one of them; I started out here in Trinity. We’ll be going to Queen Square, but also they are touching base with key persons that were in the forefront of making this program a reality.”

 

Duane Moody

“Talk to us about what it is that Belize can teach them when it comes to dealing with at-risk youth.”

 

Sgt. Elroy Carcamo

“Basically it is just a discussion that will be going on between the principal, the teachers and the youths that have already participated because in order for them to implement, they need to have a knowledge and to get a feel and a feedback so that they can do it properly and they can execute the way they need to. So that is basically what is happening, they are sharing information; it is not like an interview, but just a discussion.”

 

A GREAT training workshop for police officers commenced on Monday in Belize City. Approximately eighty officers have since been trained instructors and over six thousand students have graduated from the program since its inception in 2009.

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