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May 18, 2018

Police Launch Second Round of Youth Mentorship Program

At the close of 2016, the Belize Police Department introduced a youth mentorship programme aimed at youths at risk in some of the most troubled areas of Belize City.  It produced more than one hundred graduates six months later, but the violence continues to engulf both adults and the most vulnerable of the youth population.  But even with limited success, the cops are trying again with a new cohort of youngsters to whom they introduced us at the Radisson Hotel this afternoon.  News Five’s Aaron Humes reports.

 

Darwin Beaton

Darwin Beaton, Past Participant, Police Mentorship Program

“We are glad that the Youth Mentorship Programme is re-opened again because it was indeed a great success. It started a vision and turned it into reality. Many of our young men are going to the grave. I have seen dramatic changes that have been done to some unfortunate youths. By having this mentorship programme, another year will save  many, many lives.”

 

Aaron Humes, Reporting

And that is precisely the point of the Police Mentorship Programme, now entering its second cohort. As noted by Community policing chief Elroy Carcamo, it is both response and precaution to the continuing bedeviling crime situation.

 

Elroy Carcamo

Inspector Elroy Carcamo, O.C., Community Policing, Eastern Division

“We were looking at ways of how we can assist to not have our youths end up in the juvenile justice system. And after Mr. Williams, who is now our deputy commissioner of police, sat down with myself and Mr. [Douglas] Hyde, and decided that we wanted to work on some kind of group, the Police Youth Mentorship Programme was born. And I believe [when] Mr. Williams comes he will go more in-depth about that, but the objective of the programme is to find a positive way, an alternative for our youths out there, so that we can guide them, mentor them and show them that there is a better future for them. it is a six-month program where we will be with our youths for three hours every Saturday. And they will be facilitated with lessons on life skills: how to make decisions, how to set goals, how to deal with conflict mediation. And also, they will be given the opportunity – because as one of my past commanders, now present commander again, Mr. Robert Mariano usually says you can’t always work, you have to play sometime.”

 

There will be plenty of opportunity for both. Former regional commander and now Deputy Commissioner for Operations, Chester Williams, says great emphasis has been placed on both the mentors participating in the programme as well as the parents willing to take a chance by enrolling their youngsters.

 

Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Deputy Commissioner (Operations)

“We are even more grateful for the good law-abiding citizens who are volunteering their time with us on weekend, to be able to mentor these young people, to show them that there is more to life than what they may be thinking or what others out there on the street may be trying to persuade them to become. And so the programme would not be a success, would not be a reality, without those persons who are willing to volunteer their time. And we must say [thanks] also to the parents who have offered their children to be part of the program, because we know that at times as parents it is difficult for them to be able to monitor these kids on a twenty-four hour basis and even to talk to them; and so when we have people who are outstanding members of our society who are willing to dedicate their time to the betterment of our children who are our future generation, then we must applaud those efforts. And so we are hoping that through this programme we will be able to develop young people as we have done from the previous programme, and you will see that in this programme currently, we have some of those from the previous cohort who are assisting with this one with a view to make it a reality. They will be there to share their experiences from the last cohort with the current cohort and see how things develop from there.”

 

Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.

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