North & East

600 cadets being trained as first responders

BY EVERARD OWEN
Observer writer
editorial@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, July 23, 2018

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CADETS from across the country and some from the neighbouring Cayman Islands are currently at the College of Agriculture Science and Education (CASE) in Port Antonio, Portland undergoing training for further leadership roles and as community activists.

The cadets are being trained in disciplines such as air and sea, weapons management and environmental awareness. A total of 600 cadets are participating — 40 from Cayman.

Colonel Errol Johnson, who spoke to the Jamaica Observer North & East in a recent interview, said the camp is expected to last for two weeks.

“We have young volunteers and potential officers. They will be involved in air training, sea training, weapon training and field craft management. We are targeting the teachers in the high schools as one of our focuses is to expand into all high schools and this is supported strongly by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information. They are giving us their full support in trying to accomplish this task.

“We firmly believe that if we are able to harness the energies and potential of our young people in the right direction we will have a better tomorrow; but if we throw up our arms in the air we will be surrendering tomorrow to the thugs. Our children are energetic children and we have to give them positive things to do to sap up this energy. We are confident that if we expand our force and get the required volunteers we will be able to be a part of the first responders in our society,” Johnson said.

He told Observer North & East that the cadets are practising environmental disciplines such as separation of garbage and proper disposal of garbage.

“As a force we are going to enforce environmental appreciation. We will have an environmental officer who will be responsible for ensuring that the cadets are fully involved in environmental issues. We hope to lead Jamaica in garbage consciousness along with other efforts that are presently in place by other groups.

“We are partnering with ODPEM (Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management) in training our adults and cadets to be first responders in cases of disaster. Our cadets are all over in the villages and if anything should happen they should be able to secure and prevent any further loss until the relevant help reaches. We are looking at shelter management, disaster management and basic first aid as some of the initiatives we are moving towards.

“Physical fitness will be emphasised because if we start from young it becomes a way of life so we need not worry about the obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and these things as these will be minimized because of the discipline of these young people. In addition we are encouraging them to learn basic skills such as cooking, hospitality management, how to serve a proper meal, dining etiquette and entrepreneur skills, tailoring as we give them the opportunity to develop a skill,” said Johnson.

Johnson has been involved in volunteerism since his early days as a cadet at Clarendon College.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Nicholas Taylor, who is the commandant of the camp, was upbeat.

“We will be here for 10 days and the intention is to have the youngsters from the Jamaica Combined Cadet Force be involved in corps cadet training and value added training in environmental awareness and community projects. We are looking to do a project at Port Antonio Hospital where some hard benches will be erected.

“We are looking forward to having a representative visit Barbados where they will be having a Caribbean Cadet Camp next month. We are looking forward to this camp as the disciplines will be adjusted to have more rounded cadets and impact on our society,” Taylor said.

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