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Jun 30, 2005

Youth Cadets urged to stay straight

Story PictureHe may have criticised waste and high overheads in the Youth Department, but that did not dampen the enthusiasm and pride of over two dozen families who this morning attended the latest graduation ceremonies of the Youth Cadet Corps. News 5′s Jacqueline Woods has the story.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting
Ten months ago these young men probably believed that they did not have the discipline to keep out of trouble, but today they are proud graduates from the Youth Cadet Corp. They have overcome challenges that could have led to a life behind bars. The transformation truly amazes those who received the boys when they first arrived at the programme.

Brian Mossiah, Programme Manager, Youth Cadet Corp
?On October fourth when these boys came in, being my first experience I was like shocked. I was thinking, well you know what, I probably bit off a little bit more than I can chew because all the attitudes, all the–it brought to my consciousness these youths? reality, this was their lives, they were living like this on a daily basis and I knew nothing of it. I was living in my own world, so it was a change for me really.?

Because the youths were mostly left to do what they wanted at home, many of them did not succeed in the programme. This year only twenty-seven out of a total of forty-six completed the training. The programme?s manager, Brian Mossiah, says it?s mostly the older youths that are failing and he believes the time has come for the Corps to cater to the younger candidates.

Brain Mossiah
?We have suggested to the ministry that we now cater to boys thirteen to sixteen separate from those seventeen to twenty. Why? Because those seventeen to twenty need more of boot camp crackdown, mash up kind of tool to get them to change. The younger boys, they are not there as yet, you could talk to them through the religious groups who visit the institutions from time to time, you can still reach them; they are still reachable. But the seventeen to twenty, sometimes, most of the times they are already through the door and more difficult for us to hold on to.?

In his main address to the graduates, Senator Dickie Bradley congratulated the young cadets on their achievement but cautioned them to stay on the right path, although it will be a tough journey.

Senator Dickie Bradley
?The world is not open up before you, the world is an unfair and unjust place and the country you?re living in is calling out for reform, which apparently will not happen. But you don?t make that get you down. When you graduate this morning, when you come out of this programme, you make sure you get into another programme. If it?s school, if it?s to learn something, if it?s to do something positive, you do that because Mr. Devil is right out here waiting for you. You come this morning in your uniforms, marching as if you are military people because you want to be different from those who are led astray and who are getting themselves in big time trouble.?

Jacqueline Woods for News Five.

Thirteen of the graduates will now go on to the Centre for Employment Training, five of them will enlist in the Belize Defence Force Volunteer Element, and nine will pursue a secondary education.

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