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Nov 1, 2017

Ladyville Police Certify 124 GREAT Students

Criminal activities linked to gangs continue to be one the challenges for local cops.  Since 2008, the Belize Police Department has been tackling the growing issue through the Gang Resistance and Education Training, better known as the GREAT Program. Today, Ladyville Police certified another one hundred and twenty plus students of the program. The students from three primary schools in the rural eastern division participated in several weeks of training and received their certificates today. News Five’s Andrea Polanco was on hand for the graduation program and has this report.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

One hundred and twenty four students of Our Lady of the Way R.C School; Ladyville Evangelical and Ladyville Seventh Day Adventist Primary Schools in Ladyville graduated from the GREAT Program. The six weeks training saw community police officers attached to the Rural Eastern Division train the standard three students in a number of areas that will help them to make good decisions and to help the policing efforts in reducing gang recruitment and other illegal activities that the youth of Ladyville are vulnerable to.

 

Randy Lyons

Cpl. Randy Lyons, Community Policing Officer, RED

“They did skits; they learnt about bullying, decision making, actions and consequences and that sort of thing during the program. It was a very interactive program. With all that is happening within society today this is a very important program. It is a move towards betterment and a move towards change. And it deters them from joining gangs as they grow older.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“From the time you started right up to the whole six weeks to the end of the program did you personally observe any difference in terms of the behavior of these kids; did you notice any change?”

 

Cpl. Randy Lyons

“Actually I did. I did. The children were very receptive to the program, especially the class that I did. The children took it very seriously as well.”

 

Every week for the duration of the program, a police officer goes to the three schools to engage with the students in class. For the students of the Our Lady of the Way R.C. in Ladyville, the GREAT program has made a difference in the lives of the students while they are in school.

 

Denise Neal

Denise Neal, Principal, Our Lady of the Way R.C. School, Ladyville

“This is my third year as administrator at Lady of the Way and when I got there it was horrible. The bullying was out of control and we constantly had to call in the police to address issues at school and when the opportunity arise, Corporal Smith visited the school and said she had this program that she would like to offer and it would assist the students with how to behave themselves better and to deviate some of the problems we were facing. I jumped on the opportunity and haven’t regretted it because I must say that the bullying has stopped; the students are more focused and they are able to communicate better and they are able to resolve conflicts. So, I am very happy that we took on that initiative to get involved in the program.”

 

Ten-year-old Gilbert Tec and nine-year-old Unique Bowman are two of today’s GREAT graduates.

 

Gilbert Tec

Gilbert Tec, GREAT Graduate

“I want make the world a better place.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Alright. So, tell me some of the fun things that you did?”

 

Gilbert Tec

“We act in a play. We have fun activities and all kind of other things.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, this help you with your friends at school or unu still quarrel and do things like that?”

 

Gilbert Tec

“Yes, ma’am [it helps]. No, ma’am [we no quarrel].”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, when you see wah lee fight di happen dah school; weh you she? You tell deh anything weh you learn from this program?”

 

Gilbert Tec

“Yes, miss. I break up the fight.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“And weh deh tell you when you break up di fight?”

 

Gilbert Tec

“Deh might tell me thanks, miss or deh might wah start something with me, miss.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“And how you deal with that; when deh wah start something with you?”

 

Gilbert Tec

“Walk away, miss.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Dis dah something weh you learn, right?”

 

Gilbert Tec

“Yes, miss.”

 

Unique Bowman

Unique Bowman, GREAT Graduate

“We did plays and learn about gangs and violence.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Has that helped you to better interact with your classmates?”

 

Unique Bowman

“Yes.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“In what ways?”

 

Unique Bowman

“Buy sharing and being a good friend.”

 

Other outstanding students were recognized for their achievements during the six-week training. Our Lady of the Way R.C. walked away with a prize for the best poster for this class of the GREAT Program. Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

 

To date, the GREAT Program has trained thousands of school children and youth.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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