Police Youth Club celebrates 50 years
SANDY BAY, Hanover - Fifty years after the island's first police youth club was launched in Hanover, club members from across Jamaica gathered for a church service at the Fletchers Grove Baptist Church in the Sandy Bay section of the parish, last Sunday, to celebrate the milestone.
Members from clubs across Jamaica, including rank and file police personnel, representatives from the national security and education ministries, the political directorate in Hanover, and parish Custos Mavis Whitter-King participated in the service.
The police youth club movement began in 1954 with its first club in Sandy Bay. That number has since grown to 20, with a membership of some 7,000 individuals, according to the national coordinator, Sergeant B Richards.
"Our greatest challenge over the years is getting our own, particularly sub-officers in charge of police stations, to accept that the involvement of the police as leaders of our clubs is a vocational act, and not a recreational exercise," the sergeant said.
Sgt Richards added: "Greater effort should be made in ensuring that all our clubs are assigned leaders, and are given the necessary time to service these clubs."
At the same time, he said the movement has been a catalyst for social harmony within the JCF and that it would continue to inculcate, in the minds of the young, a passion for greater self-esteem and self-actualisation.
Senior superintendent in charge of community relations Leon Rose said that the police youth club movement was an important and integral part of the police community relations portfolio. According to the senior superintendent, the movement has been instrumental in developing programmes to meet the needs of Jamaican youth.
Meanwhile, Rose said that the anniversary celebrations, which are intended to bring the public's attention to the value of the movement, would involve a number of events throughout the rest of the year.
"Specifically, these celebrations are intended to focus on the past 50 years of the movement in order to facilitate reflection and evaluation of the present, and to re-energise and plan for the future," he said.
"In moving forward, it has already been identified that the movement must focus on education, training and development, sports, and - of significant importance to us - entrepreneurship."
Parliamentary secretary in the ministry of national security, Senator Kern Spencer, praised the movement as one that was meeting the needs and building competencies among the nation's young people.
"To become successful adults in nation building, young people need a sense of safety and security, belonging and membership, self-worth, status and an ability to contribute; independence, autonomy, competence and mastery. The police youth club offers these essentials," said Spencer.