Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 23, 2014 (SKNIS): The atmosphere at the Warner Park Cricket Stadium was spirited on Wednesday morning (April 23) as 374 students from 15 primary schools graduated from the M.A.G.I.C. programme, which stands for Mentoring, Advising, Guiding and Instructing Children.
Governor General His Excellency Sir Edmund Lawrence was among dignitaries who attended the graduation ceremony which marked the conclusion of 10-weeks of training in lessons about the harmful effects of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, hardcore narcotics and prescription medications. Additional topics covered were drug resistance, bullying, and the dangers of gangs. The students also developed skills in goal setting and conflict resolution which are incorporated in the interactive sessions and portrayed through multimedia presentations.
M.A.G.I.C. is implemented by the Special Victims’ Unit (SVU) of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force (RSCNPF). Commissioner of Police Celvin G. Walwyn said today was a good day in St. Kitts.
“Every gang member you see in St. Kitts was once a little child in elementary [primary] school and … the whole purpose of this programme is to try to curtail the gangs in this country by giving our children the right alternatives to gangs, guns, drugs and violence. The M.A.G.I.C. programme is the first step there,” he said. “We are very pleased in the police force for the dedication that the schools have shown, that the parents have shown and that you the students have shown and we are going to be here to support you.”
Commissioner Walwyn indicated that several improvements are in store for the next class to be trained. This was described as good news for the primary school students as well as high school students who will be included in an expansion plan.
The Head of the Anti-Crime Unit, Prime Minister the Right Honourable Dr. Denzil Douglas spoke about the enormous responsibility of his job, which requires him to address high-level audiences on a range of policy issues including finance, global warming, food security and others. He revealed that speaking to young people in St. Kitts and Nevis is an occasion that “fills his heart.”
“We are building a magnificent little country here in St. Kitts and Nevis and the local and international indices reflect this,” said the Prime Minister. He referred to the expanding road infrastructure, the upgrading of communication systems and other progressive developments around the Federation and insisted that personal development remains the key for success.
“I emphasize … that the attitudes, behaviours, inner strengths and resolve, the character and the standards that we instill in our young people are far more important than any of those indices I mentioned before,” stressed the Prime Minister. “The M.A.G.I.C. course was designed to help you to be the captain of your own lives, and not just a captain but a positive and respectable captain. Let nothing or no one make you forget all that you have been taught. Let nothing and no one prevent you from being the respected, respectable and respectful captain that you can be, that you were born to be.”
The local M.A.G.I.C. initiative was modeled after a programme in the Orange County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) in Orlando Florida, USA. OCSO is a sister agency of the RSCNPF and Deputy Sheriff Sean McCormack represented the U.S. agency at the graduation.