Rain didn’t deter 20 police recruits from completing their training and being named officers during the Fifth Cohort’s Completion Exercise last Thursday at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College.
“It is said in policing that the rain doesn’t fall in the force: It falls on the force,” Inspector Kenrick Davis, the master of ceremonies, said at the beginning of the event.
Acting Deputy Commissioner Jacqueline Vanterpool called the rain a “shower of blessings” during her invocation.
“Even though the shower of blessings comes, it’s still a beautiful day in paradise,” she said. “It reminded me of about 20 years ago when I graduated from the training school in Barbados: We too were soaked and stood on a parade square and couldn’t move.”
Governor John Rankin gave the recruits a “royal salute” once he arrived, stepping up to a podium and addressing them.
He and Police Commissioner Mark Collins led parts of the ceremony, inspecting the officers and observing a “march-past.”The graduates marched in “slow time” and in “quick time,” according to Mr. Davis.
Mr. Rankin stood on a podium while overseeing the march, even as rain fell hard during the latter part of it. He was protected from the weather by an officer holding an umbrella over his head.
“I’m delighted and feel privileged to be at this after- noon’s passing out ceremony,” the governor said during his remarks. “You are now a part of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force. … I congratulate each and every one of you.”
Mr. Collins said the graduating cohort was his first set of recruits since taking up his post.
“On this auspicious day, may I also offer our congratulations and birthday wishes to Her Majesty, who celebrates her 96th birthday today. You will never forget that on your passing out parade, I’m sure,” he said.
Mr. Collins added that there are 17 officers and three auxiliaries in the graduating cohort. Half of the 20 new police officers are women, he said
“I see the potential in all of you,” he told the recruits. “Great things always begin from inside.”
Mr. Collins added that he and other commanders hoped to see the “absolutely first-class” auxiliary officers become full-time officers.
During his address, Premier Andrew Fahie cited challenges in the past years that prevented government from allocating more money towards the police force, including the hurricanes of 2017, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the war in Ukraine.
“You can be sure that the government of the Virgin Islands will respond favorably to [financial requests] once the situation allows,” he said. “The reality is that there are constraints beyond our control and beyond our borders, and we do have to navigate our way through these challenges.”
He noted that the new officers will take on great responsibility to “prevent, detect and prosecute breaches of the law.”
“At the end of the day, a lot depends on the cooperation of the public,” he added. “This is a two-fold task.”
Jacqueline Williams, Florita Lake, Petrina Ettienne, Keila Industrus, Zain Bronstorph, Roxanne Thomas-Itwaru, Kareem Bannis, Chelsea Marcellin, Braderick Evans, Dalisha Williams, Deangelou Desmoulin, Carl Reid, Teshera Smith, Latesia Thompson, Mahendra Singh, Gamaliel Swift, Darell Hawke, Melissa Edwards, Terrol Daniel, Lena Joseph
Most Improved – Jacqueline Williams, Florita Lake, Petrina Ettienne
Most Determined to Succeed – Keila Industrus, Zain Bronstorph
Most Helpful – Roxanne Thomas-Itwaru, Kareem Bannis
Spanish for Law Enforcement – Lena Joseph, Keila Industrus
Report Writing for Law Enforcement – Lena Joseph
Top Brass Award for Best Physical Fitness Female and Superintendent of Crime Award for Best at Drills – Chelsea Marcellin
Chief Inspector for Operations for Best Physical Fitness Male, HLSCC President’s Award, Westmore Jeffers Award for Best at Evidence, Deputy Commissioner Award for Best All-Around Recruit, and Commissioner’s Award for Best Recruit – Zain Bronstorph
Armorer’s Award for Best Shot – Braderick Evans
Johan Anthony Browne Memorial Award for Most Improved Student and VGCS Security Services Award for Most Disciplined Recruit – Dalisha Williams
Commandant’s Award for Perseverance – Deangelou Desmoulin
HLSCC Award for Highest Academic Achievement, Human Resources Award for Best at Leadership, and Superintendent of Territorial Award for best at Police Duty Subjects – Lena Joseph