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Jul 30, 2008

“Do the Right Thing” award goes to Dangriga student

Story PictureNot all news from the police is bad. And today they put up a brave and generous face as the men in uniform “did the right thing” with young people from across the country. Marion Ali reports.

Marion Ali, Reporting
In an era when crime and violence are the order of the day, the Police Department’s Do the Right Thing award ceremony is a positive initiative for high school students whose energies are focused on making a positive difference. Today twenty-nine high schoolers from across the country were recognised for good deeds in their community. But for this year’s National winner, Delille Academy’s, Brittney Vernon, it will take much more than that small number to meaningfully address the realities in our society.

Brittney Vernon, Nat’l Winner, Do the Right Thing Prog.
“Well it’s very difficult because nowadays the youths are just killing and then if only me try to stand against all those youths out there it won’t work. We need to come together and be a team. All I can say, please stop the crime and don’t do what they are doing. Please put down the gun.”

And because stopping the crime and putting down the gun is top on the agenda for the department, they have managed to involve ninety percent of Belize’s high schools in the programme, which involves a monthly selection from submissions.

Several sponsors, including the Ministry of Education have come forth to provide for these top achievers, and it’s a programme that has impacted the community in which they live.

Patrick Faber, Minister of Education
I have seen where it has encouraged students to do the right thing which is the whole basis of the programme. I have seen instances where these students who have been awarded the award have been given a lot of prominence, sending a signal to students who are up and coming that this is something they can work towards, this is something they can try to achieve. The accolades given at graduation time are always very coveted, they are things that people aspire towards and so when the police does something like this it is certainly a step in the forward direction.”

Daniel Gutierrez, Mgr., Marketing, Logistics, Corp. Comm., B.N.E.
“I spent a couple of years working at the sixth form level and I saw a number of students that would start school but would not have the money to finish school. I think that it’s very important for everybody in the society, especially corporate sponsors, to some on board with programmes such as these to be able to help students like that. So for us it was really an open and shut case. A programme like this deserves B.N.E.’s support and we were honoured to have been invited by Belize Police Department to participate.”

And while there have been many who are willing to help and many more students who have passed through the programme, very little is heard of them after they have moved on. In most cases, Senior Superintendent Seguro says their stories continue to be positive.

Sr. Supt., Miguel Seguro, Nat’l O.C., Community Policing
“I do tracking with the past winners. Ramona Garcia was the on in 2006, she is studying at U.B. Mr Eric who did the presentation is at St. John’s and he’s doing good with grades and we are following them because I send reminders to them; where are they now, what are they doing because they are the ones we want to become eventually a role model, or a mentor, may I say.”

Marion Ali
“Or a police officer.”

Sr. Supt. Miguel Seguro
“Well, somebody who can contribute to the benefit of our society.”

For her part, while staying the course is not easy and peer pressure is ever-present, giving in to wrongdoing is not an alternative for Brittney Vernon.

Brittney Vernon
“I always try to get the best out of the situation every time, like if somebody di fight I wah try stop deh. I noh wah watch deh fight and do things weh deh noh fi do.”

Reporting for News Five, Marion Ali.

Vernon received as her prize a full two-year scholarship to the sixth form of her choice worth over five thousand dollars from Belize Natural Energy, a computer and printer from Fultec and free internet services for one year from B.T.L. Tuition fellowships were awarded to the top ten achievers of the programme.

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