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Sep 14, 2023

From Troubled Youth to Proud Soldier

Many a youth can relate to the troubled past that the subject of our next story has been through. In fact, many of them are still living a life of denial, delinquency and even crime, and never get to, or refuse to, make a change for the better. But this one young man stands as a testament for the ones who have, and the hundreds more who can reform their lives and become a person of dignity and respect. This story is about twenty-year-old Delrick Sankey, Private Delrick Sankey. He is one of the Belize Defense Force’s newest additions following last Friday’s passing out of Squad Sixty-six. Sankey shared with us how he hit rock bottom upon learning as a child that his father had been killed in 2005 by gun violence. For years, he lived in denial and resistance, which robbed him of the chance to attend secondary school. He spent time at the former Princess Royal youth Hostel and the Wagner’s Youth Facility. He was enlisted in the National Youth Cadet program at mile twenty-one on the George Price Highway, from which he graduated in 2019. And as is the spirit of anyone who wants to improve their situation, Sankey enrolled in the B.D.F’s recruit training to aspire to become a soldier. Today, he stands shoulder to shoulder with the rank and file of the military, having successfully passed out of the rigorous training last Friday.  News Five’s Marion Ali has Sankey’s reform story in tonight’s episode of Belize On Reel.


Delrick Sankey

Delrick Sankey, Private, B.D.F

“The loss of my father really hurt me, you know, because at the age of one and nine months. I didn’t even really got to know him, you know, so it’s just – I try not to think about it all the time.”


Marion Ali, Reporting

Delrick Sankey is one of many youths who have lost a loved one to crime and violence. He lost his father, Delrick Sankey, in the formative years of his life, when he was still a toddler. That loss of a face and presence he was already used to everyday had an effect on him as a child, and particularly as a teen.


Delrick Sankey

“I just slack up, do my own thing, nuh deh home, deh wid friends di do the wrong thing. But the beauty about me, I never get caught, you know. I did never been incarcerated fi no criminal offence.”


Sankey said he decided that he needed to change his perspective and direction in life. As a member at the former Princess Royal Youth Hostel some years ago, he enlisted in the Department of Youth Services Youth Cadet Program.


Delrick Sankey

“The first thing, you know as you wake, you spread your bed, you urinate and you put on your tennis for the physical training. Then after that you come back, bathe and get ready for the day’s activities, so everything just blends in normally after a period of time. I came into the program with some egocentric behaviors, you know, not wanting to listen and having my own way, but when I realized this is my only chance to step up in life, I had to slow down and do the right thing.”


Sergeant Brenton Martinez was Sankey’s platoon sergeant during the Belize Youth Challenge. He told us that Sankey displayed a level of intelligence and potential that gave them hope.


Brenton Martinez

Sergeant Brenton Martinez, Platoon Sergeant, Belize Youth Challenge, 2019

“We all knew Sankey was an astute individual and Sankey came to the program desiring to learn and that’s what he did and he also excelled within the program.

We try to uplift each individual for them to be productive citizens of today’s society and Delrick Sankey went through all those challenges. He accepted the challenge. He excelled in physical, emotional, and also with the military skills.”


Sankey excelled in the program and had an opportunity to address his fellow graduates back in June of 2019.


Delrick Sankey

“Graduates, we’re all destined for greatness. Each and every one of us has the potential to change the world. We have all grown into intellectual individuals who will make a massive footprint on this Earth.”


Still on the path to reform, Sankey enrolled in the Belize Defense Force’s recruit intake number sixty-six earlier this year. It was an enlistment that paid off for him last week Friday, when he graduated as a private soldier. Now, at the age of twenty, he feels that the time has come to make that mark in his life and his career.


Delrick Sankey

“I want to serve my country in the best way possible, so, I’m seeking to join the Special Forces of Belize, you know – Special Operations Task Force, yes, and I will achieve that.”


It’s this type of ambition that the Youth Cadet Program tries to instill in the youths who are admitted.


Sergeant Brenton Martinez

“That’s the aim, you know. You know, we want to save as much youth in Belize City especially. So, we’re very proud of the movement and we want to continue this trend. We try our best to let them – personnel come from troublesome past to now become productive citizens in today’s society.”


But there are still a few minor sacrifices that Sankey has to make as a soldier. He jokingly shared that the new diet is one of them, but it has helped him to become physically fit.


Delrick Sankey

“The diet, the eating, you know. I came in very big, over 200 pounds, you know. Right there, one year, 5, 190 thereabouts, so. That’s the only thing that I find kind of challenging because, you know, now and again I want that little snack, but I can’t get it, can’t get it, can’t get it at training company, no, no. Can’t get it.”


Marion Ali

“So what do you do?”


Delrick Sankey

“I just improvise, you know. I drink a lot of water. It fills in the gap.”


On a more serious note, having made a complete one-eighty degree shift, this new soldier says his experiences on the opposite sides of discipline are a constant reminder of where he needs to be.


Delrick Sankey

“It’s good to be at zero and know how zero feels like and then come to 100 and know what 100 feels like to not go back to the zero. If you remain focused and you do, good will come. And I am the living proof that good will come.”


Marion Ali for News Five.

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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