The Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force Band held it closing ceremony for their 2019 Summer Programme at the Old Montrose Police Training School on Friday August 23, 2019, which saw one hundred and forty (140) participants receiving certificates and also showcasing the skills learned over a five (5) week period. This is the twelfth (12) graduating ceremony since the programme began in 2007.

In addressing the ceremony, Band Master, Assistant Superintendent of Police, Mr. Daniel gave an overview of the programme which he said began on July 23rd, 2019 saw some one hundred and fifty (150) participants at the start but concluded with one hundred and forty (140) because some participants had to leave for travel purposes and to attend other programmes.

According to ASP Hall, one hundred and forty participants who completed the programme, seventy three (73) were males and sixty-seven (67) were females. The band master also disclosed that since the commencement of the band summer programme in 2007, the officers have trained over one thousand (1000) children to play musical instruments.

He said that during the programme, the students were taught many subjects including mastering the trombone, trumpet, keyboard, drums, steel pan, clarinet, rhythm and base Guitars.  ASP emphasized the point that the Police Band is a marching band which consists of both wind and brass instruments but most of the students did not gravitate towards those instruments.  However, he reported that sixty (60) students played the steel pan, thirty-seven (37) played the keyboard, twenty-three (23) the drum-set, two (2) played the trombone, two (2) played the trumpet and three (3) the Saxophone.

ASP Hall pointed out that the children were not only taught the practical aspect of music but were also taught the rudiments as well. He went on to say that the children were not only confined to learning music but were exposed to lectures from the anti-trafficking in persons unit (ATIPU), and the Ministries of Health and of Education respectively; and were given a tour of the Argyle Fire Station where they witnessed the operations of the department firsthand.

He concluded by thanking the parents for allowing the members of the Police band to work with their children and urged the parents to encourage their children to continue playing an instrument so that the skills they learned can be maintained.

Commissioner of Police, Mr. Colin John in delivering brief remarks thanked the students for successfully completing the programme and the parents for having the confidence in the police to send their children to the programme so that the knowledge can be passed on to them.  He also thanked members of the police band and tutors for doing an excellent job; this he said has resulted in persons who came in as apprentices but are now full-fledged members of the Police Band and the Police Force

The Commissioner went on to say that the Police Band Summer Programme complimented the Pan against Crime programme, the Coast Guard Summer Programme, the DARE Programme and the Police Youth Clubs summer programmes.  These programmes he said are crime prevention measures and are designed to capture the youths and inculcate in them good values hence making the Police work easier. 

The Commissioner outlined three (3) practical benefits that can be derived from the programme.  He pointed out that by diverting the children’s attention to positive action, they will unlikely embark on a life of crime – so the programme helps to reduce crimes. Secondly, he said that through the band summer programme, the police force will always have cadre of persons to choose from to replenish the band when it needs members; and thirdly, the programmes provides an opportunity for members of the police band to harness their teaching skills and to showcase their talents. 

The COP said that persons also get to see the softer side of the Police Officers.  More importantly he said many of the children were given the opportunity to learn a skill which will assist them to be gainfully employed in the future.

The Commissioner encouraged the students to continue to harness their skills and reminded them that it is up to them and their parents to enhance the skills learn so that they can create employment for themselves and make them better citizens. 

Brief remarks were also given by Mrs. Deborah Charles, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education, on behalf of the Ministry. She began by thanking Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force for its continued efforts in helping to mold the minds of young people through the teaching of music.  Senator Charles stated that after twelve years she recognized that the Police Band would have helped over one thousand young people the art of playing music and have done an exceptional job in this regards. 

She also said that a few years ago it was unheard of that children of working class people can learn to play musical instrument. But today, however, youths are playing more than one instrument thanks to the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force Band. 

The senator told the students that data suggests that young people who spend their time playing music are more competitive hence; they improve their performance in their academic grades, level of reasoning and language in general.  According to Mrs. Charles, learning to play music also increases motto skill and eye to hand coordination among other things.  She also said that young people who study music stay in school longer and became more engaged.