The very first Sergeant Philbert G Chambers memorial police scholarship has been awarded to a student from the Calliaqua police youth club who has shown dedication to her education despite challenges.
“Earlier this year we encountered a tragic incident where one of our colleagues Sergeant Chambers, he died in a tragic incident where he was shot in the line of duty,” the Commissioner of Police (COP) Colin John stated at the annual scholarship ceremony of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF) on Wednesday, August 19.
Detective Sergeant 209 Philbert Gregory Chambers died after being shot in the head on April 26. He and a party of other officers had gone to a residence in Campden Park to serve a warrant to search for a firearm. There, it is alleged that one Gleason Lewis, also deceased, shot at the police. A coroner’s inquest looking into the circumstances surrounding Chambers’ death is expected to be held.
The Commissioner had announced at the military funeral for the fallen Sergeant on May 17 that, along with other honours, the RSVGPF would establish a scholarship in Chambers’ memory.
“I am very happy to say today we will have the first recipient of the Sergeant Philbert Chambers Memorial Scholarship,” John said last week.
“I know that person is very worthy of that award,” he commented.
The scholarship awardee was announced to be 11-year-old Maxine Walters.
“Maxine is a very special child. From the tender age of four years she had to travel unaccompanied on a van to Fair Hall Early Childhood Centre,” Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Junior Simmons said, as the parents of the late Sergeant, Calbert and Coreen Bobb, stood with Walters.
Philbert was the ninth of their 13 children.
“Due to her socio-economic background both of her parents were not gainfully employed, many simple privileges were denied Maxine because her parents had to struggle to make ends meet,” the ASP noted, and that her parents could not even buy her the correct uniform.
Her mother passed away when she was in Kindergarten, and she had to go through school without text books.
“There were days when her teacher would print the work for her and there were days when the teacher was too busy and Maxine would be seen trying to copy her work for herself from her classmates.”
The young girl was lauded for having dedication and responsibility beyond her years.
Her struggle continued as her home was flooded in 2013 when the Christmas Eve trough system descended on the country.
However, her teacher could not stand to see her living in those conditions, and so “she quickly made arrangements with Maxine’s father to keep Maxine at her home on weekdays and return her to her family home on weekends.”
While she now lives with her teacher fulltime, Walters maintains close relations with her father and siblings.
Her teachers and Principal at the Fair Hall Government School confirm that she has “excellent” grades and outstanding conduct, two qualities which probably led to her success at the Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment (CPEA).
Placing 117th for girls, and 199th overall, Walters is on her way to the Girls’ High School.
The Calliaqua Police Youth Club member hopes to inspire others with her work despite her difficult situation, and she feels proud, and grateful for the scholarship.
Although she did not know the late Sergeant personally, when she heard the news that he had been shot Walters said she felt “heartbroken.”
The police scholarships provide seven years of support, inclusive of purchase of school books, transportation cost, and payment for all exams.
In choosing someone to receive this scholarship, the Coordinators of the police youth clubs met and made a determination based on performance in CPEA, considering who was a disciplined and committed member of the club and, significantly, the financial position of the student.