Prime Minister Samuel Hinds lauded 15 officer cadets being trained at the Camp Stephenson, Colonel Ulric Pilgrim Officer Cadet School for their commitment to serving the nation, at the Officer Cadets’ Day event held on Sunday.
“All over the world and at all times, there’s a certain pride in serving the people, in serving one’s nation and it’s good to see that that spirit is alive and well. Our disciplined forces, we look to them to promote and maintain order and discipline in our country, and to do that our disciplined forces need also to be good examples,” Hinds, who is currently performing the duties of president, said to an audience including Guyana Defence Force Brigadier Mark Phillips, other senior officers from the army, police,
fire and prison services and the relatives of the cadets.
The 15 officers, including three Belizean nationals, demonstrated various aspects of military training at the function, a report from the Government Information Agency (GINA) said. These officers stayed the course after 10 opted out, and will be commissioned Second Lieutenants at the close of the Standard Officers’ Course (SOC) # 46.
The broad objective of the course is to provide a solid foundation for the subsequent professional development of all cadets entering the GDF and other services officers. Army, police, prison and fire officers have all been trained at Camp Stephenson, as well as officers from the joint services and army officers who serve in colleague Caribbean Commu-nity nations. The school prides itself as being the institution where all the serving heads of the Joint Services graduated a few years ago.
“The training provided is deemed relevant to the development of the individual and the security concerns and needs of the nation,” GINA said. It includes an intensive programme of military skills and tactics, rigorous physical fitness, team activities designed to promote stamina and team spirit, leadership and command methods, management techniques, military law, and national policy.
The first item on the agenda was jungle survival techniques which a soldier must adopt when lost, either through detachment from a platoon or after escape from enemy in an alien territory. Officer Cadet Lawrence King demonstrated tying knots and setting traps along with his colleagues Obitre Hytmiah, Shaheed Zaiboon who lit fires, prepared resting spots and food safe to consume, including the coconut worm which King bravely consumed in front of enthused onlookers.
Officer Cadet Austin Flores from the Belize Defence Force was part of a three- man team illustrating the types and use of teaching aids common in the army while at a another section, the different categories of weapons were on display. As part of this demonstration, the Flores skilfully disassembled and reassembled the weapons within seconds while blindfolded.
At another section of the base there was endurance training and falling plate shoot which cadets were given 20 seconds to complete. The gathering was also thrilled by a team rappelling from the Bell 412 helicopter.
According to GINA, the Colonel Ulric Pilgrim Officer Cadet School was named in 1980 in honour of Commander of the GDF Colonel Ulric Pilgrim who provided yeoman serviced to the force.