Under the theme, “Shaping our youths for life’s high seas”, the St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) Coast Guard Service culminated its 26th annual youth development summer programme on Saturday, August 24.
At the closing ceremony held at the SVG Coast Guard Base, Calliaqua, the department handed over certificates to 125 teens who participated in three phases of the programme which was sponsored by the Bank of SVG, Sagicor Life Insurance, and Wind and Sea.
In making remarks at the closing ceremony, Coordinator of the summer programme, Petty Officer (PO) Damion Franklyn thanked the sponsors for their assistance and the parents for entrusting them with their children. He explained that the programme is based on equipping young minds with tools such as obedience, self-respect and respect for others.
PO Franklyn disclosed that the participants were taught team building skills. He said he hopes that the programme can facilitate more participants in the future and thanked the students for their enthusiasm throughout the duration of the programme.
Making brief remarks on behalf of the Coast Guard Service, Lieutenant Ralphie Ragguette said the Coast Guard Service takes pride in reaching and affecting the lives of the nation’s youth in the most profound and life-changing experiences. He expressed that he is standing on the shoulders of great men as he recognized past and present Commanders David Robin, Tyrone James and Brenton Cain for their understanding of the importance of nurturing the youths of SVG so that they can be better men and women of tomorrow.
Lieutenant Ragguette outlined that to date, the Coast Guard Summer Programme has facilitated 3350 students who in his view are all testimonies of the department’s commitment to nation-building.
Ragguette urged the students to take what they have learned over the summer vacation and put it to good use going forward in their lives and as they enter a new school year.
Both Lieutenant Ragguette and PO Franklyn also extended their appreciation to Barbara Matthews who has been a facilitator with programme since its inception, and for her continued support and vision in taking the programme to where it is today.
Commissioner of Police Colin John also made brief remarks at the closing ceremony. He urged the students to be proud for having taken part in the summer programme. He implored the participants to take what they have learned throughout the programme and to embed it into their lives. He reiterated that the programme is a part of the Royal SVG Police Force’s crime prevention initiative which is a deliberate attempt to lead the nation’s youth away from Crime and make meaningful contribution to the country. The Commissioner praised the programme for its success over the years, and encouraged the students to make use of the opportunity they were given to make themselves, their parents and the country proud.
Speaking on behalf of the sponsors, Sagicor Life Insurance, Brandon Charles praised the coast guard service for their unbroken venture in nurturing the nation’s youth for 26 consecutive years. He declared that Sagicor is extremely grateful to the Coast Guard Service for this endeavour and thus hopes to continue to patronage the programme for years to come.
Charles explained that Sagicor believes in making positive investments in our nation’s youth in the hope that they will in turn contribute positively to the country. He went on to encourage the students to cherish the experience that they have garnered at the summer programme.
Also present at the closing ceremony were the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Frankie Joseph; Commander of SVG Coast Guard, Brenton Cain; along with other gazetted officers and rank and file members of both the RSVGPF and SVG Coast Guard Service.