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Jun 4, 2014

Primary school students graduate from Police Department’s GREAT Program

The GREAT program is now in its fourth year. About fifty students from various high schools are the most recent to successfully conclude the program which is carried out by the Police Department in collaboration with the US Embassy. It targets at risk youths; Duane Moody was at the ceremony this morning and has this report.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Students from several Belize City primary schools were honored today at the graduation ceremony of the Gang Resistance Education and Training Program of the Belize Police Department. The idea is to target potential gang members and those who are influenced by criminal activity to motivate and lead them to the right path.

 

Dehanne Augustine

Insp. Dehanne Augustine, Acting Commander, Community Policing Unit

“For the month of May and June, we are having many graduations countrywide. We have been in our fourth year for this GREAT program and thanks to the US Embassy; they were able to assist us with training our officers. We have fifty-five officers who have been trained. The material, the books that the police officers they use are being supplied by the US Embassy. As I said, we are in our fourth year; we have many schools countrywide including the Cayes and some villages within our country. We are hoping that this coming year that our numbers increase.”

 

The program is sponsored by the US Embassy through the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) and since its inception, has had thousands of at-risk, troubled youths and students completing the program. For the participants, it is a behavioral and lifestyle change.

 

Shaahid Abdul Galeel

Shaahid Abdul Galeel, Student, Muslim Community Primary School

“I liked it because it thought me how to set my own goals, how to control my anger. It taught me how to stay out of trouble, etc.”

 

Regan Gomez, Student, Muslim Community Primary School

“I learn to make good decision and respect others and make ground rules.”

 

Duane Moody

“You used to give wah lotta trouble?”

 

Regan Gomez

Regan Gomez

“Noh really.”

 

Reporter

“Your parents used to tell you son, yo di give too much problem or anything like that?”

 

Regan Gomez

“Yes sir.”

 

Reporter

“Tell us what changes you made so that they can feel proud of you.”

 

Regan Gomez

“To respect others and make good decisions when I need to.”

 

Parker Chub

Parker Chub, Student, Buttonwood Bay Nazarene Primary School

“I think it is a great program that police started because they teach you about gangs and how to say no and mean it; anger management, conflict resolution. I think it is a great program, sir.”

 

Duane Moody

“So you give trouble? Used to give trouble?”

 

Parker Chub

“Yes sir.”

 

Reporter

“And how has your participation in this program changed…you know what, I need to change that; no more problems?”

 

Parker Chub

“Sir they taught me how to change and just to behave, sir.”

 

The program is not limited to young boys. Ashley Wright liked fighting and she has now changed her ways.

 

Ashley Wright, Student, Buttonwood Bay Nazarene Primary School

“We learn how to manage our anger, we learned about violence and conflict resolution.”

 

Ashley Wright

Duane Moody

“You dah wah bad person? You do bad things?”

 

Ashley Wright

“Sometimes.”

 

Duane Moody

“Why, Like what?”

 

Ashley Wright

“Fight, quarrel…”

 

Duane Moody

“And this teaches you to think before you go to those levels?”

 

Ashley Wright

“Yes.”

 

Duane Moody

“So would you advise your other classmates and other persons young like you to participate in the program?”

 

Ashley Wright

“Yes sir.”

 

Another partner of the program is the Ministry of Education, who was represented by the Manager of the School Community Liaison Security Program, Dale Anthony.

 

Dale Anthony

Dale Anthony, Manager, School Community Liaison Security Program, MOE

“Since observing the program, personally, I can tell you that it has been a great help to students. We have seen students that never want to do anything with police officers. First of all, when you see them, they would have that negative attitude. And at the end of the session, these same students would be students who would call when the program finishes. It is not solely for not joining gangs, but it also entails other things like drug abuse, crime, violence and that sort of thing. So we can see that there is, according to the police report, there is some kind of drop in those areas.”

 

According to Acting Commander of the Community Policing Unit, Inspector Dehanne Augustine, there is a demand for life skills training at the high school level. Duane Moody for News Five.

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