While volunteers Shanna Johnson and Stephan Walker were congratulated for their service as teachers to the Orleans Homework & Reading Assistance Programme, one senior member of the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) lamented the lack of positive leaders in society.

Speaking at the programme???s inaugural graduation ceremony last Saturday at the headquarters of the Pan American International Insurance Corporation, in Fontabelle, St. Michael, Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police, Erwin Boyce, observed that not enough leaders were coming forward to assist communities such as New Orleans.

Noting that the homework and reading programme pleased the RBPF as it presented a community focus that the Force had endorsed over the last two decades, he told those gathered: ???Unfortunately, what we are finding when we have done our Community Wellness Report is that positive leadership is sometimes not forthcoming at the speed that we want it to come.???

Pointing out that this was not limited to New Orleans, he added: ???We find that communities that are challenged in terms of their history are, for some reason or the other, not producing the type of positive leaders, or rather the positive leaders are not coming forward, in those communities. For us, that is a big concern because community policing facilitates and not necessarily leads.???

The Acting Assistant Commissioner noted too that there were those ???negative??? leaders giving the wrong impression to young persons, saying ???you don???t need to engage in an eight-hour job. You just need to sit on a block, lime and at the end of the day you get some sort of reward???.

Mr. Boyce told the ceremony, attended by students, teachers, parents and a number of police officers, that there was a need to transition communities from that sort of thinking to a more structured and positive one. He indicated that the Force might try to involve influential persons, such as entertainers Dr. Anthony ???Gabby??? Carter, and Richard Stoute, in community programmes aimed at facilitating the emergence of some positive leaders.

Commending the two volunteers, Mr. Boyce said: ???That???s why we pay tribute to Shannon and Walker for their industry in that particular area – their whole volunteer aspect. They were not paid. They devoted hours to making sure the programme reached a level where we can see people graduating from primary to secondary [school]; we can see improvement in reading behaviours, and from the Force???s perspective, that is so important.???


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