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Jul 13, 2004

Cadet Corps holds camp at Benque

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It’s a programme that is often cited as a success for the organisers-namely the Belize Police Department–as well as the thousands of young participants. This week the Police Cadet Corps is winding up its annual summer camp in Benque Viejo and News 5′s Jacqueline Woods paid the kids a visit.

Alma Worrell, CPL, Police Cadet Corps

?Everybody must stand to attention. We pay very great patronage to the flag and it?s awesome to see everybody standing at attention very quiet, just seeing that flag rise.?

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

Five years ago, fifteen-year-old Alma Worrell became one of the first females to join the special unit called the Police Cadet Corps. Last year she was promoted to corporal and basically assists the senior command with the program.

Alma Worrell

?It has made it easier for me to open to other people. It has made me find a way to be much more friendlier with people. I learn many things about Belize, things I never thought I would have known. I am much more well disciplined. I feel like I have much to offer to others that are just joining and I learn basic things in life like first aid, survival skills and stuff like that.?

In 1994, the Corps was established specifically to rehabilitate troubled young men. Today the group of boys and girls is seven hundred strong with branches in every district. It?s just one of several community policing programmes that its commander, Superintendent Yolanda Murray, says has been making a positive difference.

Supt. Yolanda Murray, Commander, Community Policing

?It is very, very rare that you ever hear that one Cadet gets himself involved with the law.?

How does the programme work? The youths, who are between the ages of eight and seventeen, must first undergo a disciplinary programme. Sgt. Murray says the Corps should not be viewed as a recruitment drive for future police officers, although it is something they wouldn?t mind. The real point of the exercise is to help youths become well-rounded individuals and future leaders of the country.

Supt. Yolanda Murray, Commander, Community Policing

?We do not have them join for that specific purpose, but yes we would like to see that happen because they have certain discipline within them. They learn to drill; they learn to do athletic stuff like what the policemen do in training. So when they into training it?s not very hard for them because they already know certain kind of discipline that they should have when they go into training and it is good that we could have some of them to become police officers.?

Many of the cadets remain with the Corps and eventually do become members of the Police Force or the Belize Defence Force. Because the Corps is highly disciplined, it takes the young men and women some time to adjust to the change, but once they have adapted to the program, it?s smooth sailing. That?s been the experience for sixteen-year-old Alvin Castillo. Castillo joined the Corps when he was only eight-years-old. Today, this cadet has not only earned the rank of sergeant, but is helping other youths to be just as successful.

Alvin Castillo, Sgt, Police Cadet Corps

?In a way it keeps those kids who don?t have nothing to do from off the street?(they get into)less trouble and many different stuff.?

Forty-eight-year-old Millicent Casey recently watched her son moved on to the police force after being a cadet for several years. Casey says parents are always amazed with the transformation that carries on into the home.

Millicent Casey, Mother of Former Cadet

?He is not a difficult child to do his work. Sometimes when I get home he says, ?mommy u see how the house look?? He is always cleaning, putting things in order and if I want him to go and do some errand, he never grumbles, he just goes and do it.?

The cadets are on the last leg of their summer camp hosted at Mopan Technical High in Benque Viejo Del Carmen. Close to four hundred youths are participating in the activities that include educational presentations and a variety of outdoor recreational activities. Jacqueline Woods for News Five.

Sgt. Gilbert Pitts, who is currently the officer in charge of the Caye Caulker Police Station, is largely responsible for the formation and growth of the Corps. If you would like more information about the Corps or how your child can become a cadet, contact your nearest police station.


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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