KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Feb. 19, IWN – The Police Force on Sunday launched two youth clubs in Central Leeward at an event where youths displayed their various talents and were challenged to be model citizens.
The Layou and Barrouallie Police Youth Clubs (PYC) were launched at the event in Layou, where Parliamentary Representative for Central Leeward, Maxwell Charles, Commissioner of Police, Keith Miller, and National Co-ordinator of PYCs, Sergeant Cecile MacMaster witnessed the youngsters reciting the honour code and National Pledge.
Pastor Cemus Hinds of Layou used the Apostle Paul’s letter to Timothy to challenge the youngsters to be examples to other townsfolk.
He said the devil has taken control of many youths and morals are “going out the door”.
Hinds said while he didn’t attend secondary school, he was able to become a model citizen because he began following Jesus Christ in 1980.
“Today, I am a product [of this community], which anyone can follow,” the pastor said.
Corporal Kenroy Campbell, coordinator of the Layou PYC, said he was inspired to become a member of the club after interaction with some young people in front of the Layou Police Station, who were waiting to attend a club meeting.
Campbell, who said he has a “love and passion” for youths, said he was constantly being bombarded with the question “When are we going to launch?”
He encouraged the club members to pay close attention to their honour code, noting that the community is expecting them to be role models.
Meanwhile, Constable Germano Douglas, coordinator of the Barrouallie PYC, said the club, the first in the country, was being re-launched, having been revived in 2012, after a period of inactivity.
He spoke of past achievements, including the clubs’ former members who became police officers.
And the chief of police Miller encouraged the youth to pay special attention to discipline, adding that it would benefit them in many facets of their lives.
“Make discipline the hallmark of what you do. Make discipline your watchword. When you are a disciplined person, you can handle a number of challenges in life,” Miller said.
He further told the gathering that also included senior police officers, parents and other townsfolk, that discipline also speaks to character, deportment, and attitude to the development of a skill, such as learning to “play pan”under the Pan Against Crime initiative.
He also encouraged parents to believe in their children and not to condemn.
“Forget about past wrongs and let today be a new start,” Miller said, adding that the audience was witnessing a marriage between the Police Force, the PYCs and the community.
And Charles, a pastor and former teacher, encouraged the youths to develop a relationship with Jesus Christ. This, he said, would help them with self respect, which he encouraged the youths to develop and maintain at all times.
“Seek to effect change by being an example, by being a principled person at all times,” Charles said.
He urged the youths to learn to resist that which is wrong and degrading.
But he also cautioned that every role model has defects, and warned against adopting these even as the youth strive to emulate the positive attributes of their role models.
The launch included performances from the Police Force Band, the PYCs and Symphonix Steel Orchestra from Questelles.
The first PYC was introduced in September 2000 and there are now 21 clubs across the country. PYCs aim to assist in the wholesome development of the nation’s youth in collaboration with the National Commission on Crime Prevention, social organisations and government institutions. PYCs also aim to produce law-abiding, purposeful, productive and patriotic citizens.