Montserrat made history Friday with the celebration of its 10th cohort of police trained on island.
Previously, the Royal Montserrat Police Service sent recruits to Barbados for training. Since 2009, new officers are trained on island and housed at the Salem Police campus. Over a six-month period, the officers received instruction under the leadership of Chief Instructor Inspector Julian Wade, and Duty Sergeant Sgt Keniel Murrain.
Nine new police constables were appointed, among them five women.
The women are police constables Eldina O’Garro, Sophia Grange, Anjolea Cabey, Sarline Gibbons and Anna-Kay Turner. The male constables are Leslie Lewis, Rajae Gayle, Ethan Charles, and Desron Oliver.
Police Constable O’Garro, one of two Montserratian women in the cohort, won the award for Best at Firearms Training. Also a marine cadet, the officer said she never expected the training to be a walk in the park. “However, knowing exactly what I wanted to achieve, I came with the mindset that I will push through to the end, regardless of the obvious physical challenges I would face. Finding the mental strength for me was the most challenging aspect.”
Police Constable Grange, who hails from Jamaica, and attended the Montserrat Community College, said joining the force was the fulfillment of her dream to be a law enforcement officer. “I am excited to get out into the community to serve and protect by fully utilising the training that I received.”
Police Constable Cabey, a Montserratian, called her training school experience “fantastic, although there were days I wanted to quit, I was pushed far beyond what I thought was my limit. The guidance and training provided has enable me to grow stronger physically and mentally.”
Police Constable Gibbons who is originally from Guyana but grew up on island, said “the training school experience definitely aided my growth and development in many different ways. It molded me into a more caring, disciplined and responsible individual. With no regrets, I stepped up to the task and today, I am stronger and better prepared to execute my duties, to protect and serve the people of Montserrat.”
Police Constable Anna Kay Turner, a former top athlete at Montserrat Secondary School, won the Best at Physical Training (women) and Best Public Speaker honours. She said “transitioning from a civilian life into police life I am learning it is not easy but, I am proud to say, I am not the same person I was six months ago. With the help of the instructors and fellow course mates, I endured and conquered the struggles. Being a police officer is a life long dream of mine and I am committed to giving noble and professional service to the community of Montserrat.”
Police Constable Leslie Lewis of Dominica was the top recruit going home with the Baton of Honour. He also won awards for Best Kit, Top Collision Investigator, Deportment, Commissioner of Police Leadership Award, Best at Officer Safety Techniques, Best at Physical Training (male) and Highest Average for the programme.
Police Constable Oliver, who is from St. Vincent & the Grenadines, came to Montserrat to work as a chef. However, COVID-19 brought much upheaval and he made a career change. “Thanks to the training received, I can better handle tough situations and make appropriate decisions under difficult circumstances. Montserrat, I am honoured to serve you.”
Police Constable Gayle is from Jamaica but has been on island for seven years, having completed secondary school and community college here. He took home the Best at Drills and Best at Giving Evidence awards. Gayle said “My journey to becoming a police officer started about two years ago while on attachment with the RMPS as part of the job experience programme. The training and experience gained thus far, has significantly helped me to improve my physical and mental fitness, time management skills and most importantly, how to be a professional, effective and efficient police officer.”
Police Constable Charles, who is a recruit from St. Vincent & the Grenadines, said “though the journey was rough, the thought of giving up never crossed my mind. Mistakes were made, more importantly I learned from them and today I am better built and prepared to execute my duties. I look forward to becoming a valuable asset to the Royal Montserrat Police Service, by serving and protecting the Montserrat community.