After 16 weeks of intensive training, eight men and four women were welcomed into the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) at a graduation ceremony held at the Harquail Theatre on Thursday, 17 July 2014.
The class, the first complement of all locally chosen recruits, consisted of: Police Constables (PCs) Gregory Banks Jr, Sarah Joy Bodden, Kishna Burke, Kadane Hall, Craig-Anthony Jervis, Zachary McLaughlin, Kristoff Powell, Andre Savoury, Patricia Sevik, Andrae Strachan, Maxwell Thomas and Nassaria Thompson.
The graduates received their certificates in the presence of their families, friends and other guests. Some even received special awards for their achievements. These recipients included PC Powell who was judged Best Overall Recruit; PC McLaughlin, named Best Academic Student; and PC Bodden who earned the Team Spirit Award.
At the event, the young officers presented their first salute and march-past before Her Excellency the Governor, Helen Kilpatrick. Praising their hard work and commitment, she commented: “Your dedication to helping to reduce the burden of crime on the people of the Cayman Islands is admirable and I encourage you to take pride in your purpose as a police officer.”
The Governor also welcomed the presence of women among the new graduates. She further recalled being delighted when hearing about the recruitment drive in October last year because “all organisations need to recruit and train new staff to benefit from fresh ideas and renewed motivation.”
Commissioner David Baines highlighted the rigorous training and the sanctity of the oath of office that the graduates took upon completion of their course. “The simplicity of the oath is that it has no exceptions or qualification. It is a commitment to serve all, regardless of status, nationality or gender, to one standard and to do so to the best of their ability,” Mr Baines emphasised.
Noting that these police officers come from the same community they serve, he urged them to guard the Cayman Islands’ public without fear or favour while always displaying humanity and caring in the manner in which they engage with the people. The recruitment campaign targeting those between 18 and 30 years, launched on 1 October 2013, and attracted over 500 applicants. This was sifted down to 200 candidates, based on recruitment criteria. The final 12 were then selected through written exams, physical tests, presentations and interviews.
Trainer and master of ceremonies PC Halston Farley noted that in addition to four weeks of relevant practical training, the new officers would continue to learn as part of a two-year probationary period. “Your journey has just begun; continue to abide by your promise to the organisation and your communities at large. Learning has not ceased just because you have completed your training,” he told the graduates.
Expressing appreciation on behalf of his fellow graduates for all the training opportunities, including team-building exercises, PC Thompson said the group was now better equipped for their police duties, and had received “invaluable life lessons moving forward”, as well as advanced their self-knowledge.
She added that they were particularly grateful to their trainers: Sergeant Andrew Harrison (head); PCs John Rowell, Roje Williams, Gabe Rabess, Halston Farley who was also their drill instructor, and Senior PC Paulette Hines, with 15 other officers also providing individual lessons.
Photos by Bina Mani