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Mar 29, 2007

Cops honour youths who do the right thing

Story PictureAnd while it sometimes seems that Belizean society is possessed by a plague of criminal immorality, along comes a story that reaffirms our innately optimistic belief that the future is in better hands.

Jacqueline Godwin, Reporting
Since eighteen year old Travis Lennan was nominated for the 2007 Do the Right Thing—a police award programme—the fourth form student has become very popular among his peers. Lennan is just one of twenty candidates who have not only performed well academically, but have been strong role models.

Travis Lennan, Nominee, Do the Right Thing
“Well the crimes committed by the young people today, it saddens my heart because I think if one person can do it, everyone can. And I think it starts within your own self and within the home and the family.”

Travis says being raised by both parents had a great influence on him. Many of the youths who get in trouble with the law do not have full parental support, whether their mother and father are living together or separately.

Travis Lennan
“I can’t really say that I have experienced not having them there and not knowing what it feels or what some of these other kids are going through. So I can—when I see this happening it saddens my heart because don’t know the actual reason and today everyone is still trying to find out why are these kids doing these things and it’s kinda difficult to find out. By me not going through it, it’s even harder.”

Cynthia Perdomo, a fourth form student of Eden High School in the Cayo District is among the select list of nominees. Both students were honoured during ceremonies held on Wednesday in Belize City and Santa Elena.

G. Michael Reid, Police Press Officer
“Actually every month we select one student from high schools from ten different formations, that is the six districts including Belmopan, Benque Viejo, San Pedro and Belize Rural. These students are selected by their schools, by their peers also, for having done the right thing, having excelled in some way, having been involved in community projects and having had a good attitude both at home and at school.”

“The Commissioner took a trip abroad and saw this programme in effect, it’s a tried and proven programme, and he saw the success of it and he decided that this is one of the things that we can try in Belize. It’s one of his initiatives at trying to do a more proactive approach to policing as opposed to the reactive: wait until the crime is committed and then apprehend the suspect. In this case we are trying to encourage children to do the right thing, stay on the right path and become productive citizens.”

However, not all schools have come onboard and the police are making every effort to ensure that there are entries from all secondary schools.

G. Michael Reid
“We’ve been travelling from district to district and meeting with the principals and trying to impress upon them the need to get involved it’s an excellent opportunity for some of the children who cannot afford a higher level of education and who have been doing good things but have not been acknowledged. The principals now we believe are all on board and we believe that from here on we will be getting full participating from these schools.”

Sometime in June or July the winner will be announced. The student who captures first place will be rewarded with a computer and two year fully paid scholarship to attend S.J.C. Junior College. The second place winner will also receive a computer. The police would like to thank the Government of Belize, the business community, and especially Atlantic Bank Limited, which has donated five thousand dollars to the initiative.

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