“Trinidad and Tobago,” I patiently repeated for the second time.
“What?” She frustratingly retorted.
Sending a stern message to teenagers at the St Jude’s Home for Girls yesterday, acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams told them to stop feeling sorry for themselves and take advantage of the opportunities being given to them. In recent months, there have been fights at the Belmont home and two girls ran away during a field trip to attend a party. Williams said they should not blame anyone for their current circumstances, but should leave their past behind and look toward a successful future.
Speaking at the Port-of-Spain Community Policing Unit’s summer camp graduation at the home yesterday, Williams pledged the T&T Police Service’s support in creating an environment that would foster a promising future for the girls. “I want you to stop feeling sorry for yourselves, I want you to start thinking about how you can ensure that you can become a successful adult. Take your God-given talents and work with it over and over, the same way you practised the electric slide and everything else.
“Your achievement in life depends heavily on you, because attitude and behaviour is all driven by the individual. What happens today, what happens tomorrow, what happens in the distant future, you have a large part to play in that. “What happened in the past has gone, so I want to encourage you to see life the way you need to see life. There are tremendous opportunities—but there is a journey. This journey has some restrictions for you, but there are opportunities and you have to take advantage of them,” Williams said.
He promised to adopt the home as one of the police youth clubs, which would afford the girls training and life skills programmes. As a first measure, he promised to source additional computers for their lab. “I am aware that there have been some events within the recent past, some events. They were negative events, but they were in the past and we can learn from those events in order for us to appreciate that there is a need to do far more for you,” Williams said.
During the two weeks of the camp, the girls were lectured on life skills, etiquette, hygiene, domestic violence, bullying, as well as being taught jewelry-making and dance. Insp Curtis Paul said the camp was held after members of the police visited the school and saw that the students needed an intervention. He said it was the first programme to be held there, but it would not be the last.