In the late 90’s and early 2000’s politicians showed appreciation to the communities by building neighborhood basketball courts. Those small community spaces still thrive, but if you watch Love News you’d know that the most recent and positive trend isn’t basketball courts, but scholarships. Just about every few days we share the good deed that corporate citizens have bestowed upon kids and families that can appreciate a lessening of their financial burden. The latest group to deliver these educational care packages is the Belize Police Department. Love News attended today’s press conference at the Queen Street Police Training Room.
Jose Sanchez: The Belize Police Department had sought sponsorship from corporate entities such as BTL, the Belize Bank and the Ministry of Education. They were able to secure 7 scholarships for students.
D.C.P. Chester Williams, Commander of Operations: The process was simple in the sense that we send out applications and the children are asked to apply and it goes through a elimination process. They had to submit an essay of 200 words as to why they should get the scholarship and we look at the financial background of the parents. We know it is not often we see the Police Department venturing into things like this but I saw the need to be able to do something like this because while we have a number of organizations out there that do give scholarships for children to go to school; sometimes the criteria that they set for the scholarship is difficult to be met by those children who really and truly got to school everyday with only a bag on their back and with no books and these sort of things. They cannot compete with man who goes to school well equipped so we trying to do something where we can lower the threshold instead of looking at PSE mark of 80 and above we look at 60 and above so we move from 80 to 60 and that way we would be able to capture those children who would could not have made an 80 on the PSE and instead of making or maintaining a GPA of 3.0 whilst going to school we lower the threshold again to 2.5
Jose Sanchez: It’s not lowering the bar, it’s reaching the people who need it. The Ministry of Education agrees.
Dr. Carol Babb, Chief Education Officer: We are very pleased to be given the opportunity to help out students who would normally not be given a scholarship. I particularly like the criteria Deputy Commissioner because as you rightly said some of these students would not have qualified in other scholarship but I believe every child deserves a right to an education and so when you reach out to these students that is rightly what we should be doing. The seven students who are here; you are the cream of the crop because as Mr. Chester said and the MC said there was process and you are the blessed ones. You are the fortunate ones, you are the Cream of the crop of that 20 so take this honor. Take this scholarship with pride, work hard and ensure that you maintain your 2.5. We want you to stay in school.
Rondall Hewitt, Chief Sales Officer, BTL: Big thanks to Deputy Commissioner Williams who invited us to join with the Police Departments Eastern Division Community Policing on this very worth wild endeavor. As many of you know BTL has had their own Scholarship program and continues to have one but we are really happy that we could help the Police start theirs up because as many of us helping as many kids to further their education; it’s all of great benefit for the country of Belize. Education plays a significant role in the future of this country.
Anastasia Ferguson, scholarship recipient: I just want to give god thanks. Thanks to the Belize Police Department for giving me this opportunity. It will take me a long way through school and help me to reach my goals and fulfill my dreams.
D.C.P. Chester Williams, Commander of Operations: If we want to see ourselves living in a better society we must start with educating our children and once we open opportunities like these for our young people we are open opportunity for our country as well.
Jose Sanchez: The Community Policing Unit hopes to make the scholarship fund an annual initiative. Jose Sanchez Love News.
Six of the scholarships were designated for students entering high school and one was given for a student who is about to start tertiary level education.