Commissioning Ceremony held for San Pedro Task Force

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 10, No. 24            June 15, 2000

Features: Search Issues | Read Back Issues | Subscriptions | Merchandise Ordering Information

Members of the San Pedro Task Force

Last Saturday a commissioning ceremony was held for the members of the newly formed San Pedro Drug Demand Reduction Task Force. The National Drug Abuse Control Council (NDACC) is determined to create a society free from the abuse of drugs while advancing the good health and moral well-being of the nation. In this light, NDACC developed Drug Demand Reduction Task Forces in each district in an effort to collaboratively take action against the scourge of drugs within our communities.

    Present for this ceremony were Mr. Jules Vasquez, Executive Director, NDACC; Mr. Marlon McNab, Belize District Coordinator, NDACC; Mr. Alan Usher, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security and Economic Development; Area Representative, Patty Arceo; San Pedro Town Council representatives; concerned citizens; members of the San Pedro Drug Task Force; The San Pedro Sun, Radio Arecife and Government Press Office personnel.

    Mr. Jules Vasquez acted as Master of Ceremonies and expressed apologies for the delay in commissioning the San Pedro group. He then introduced young Natalie Arceo who led the gathering in the singing of the National Anthem, followed by an invocation by Mr. Omar Arceo, Vice-Chairperson of the San Pedro Drug Task Force.

    In his address to the crowd, Mr. Marlon McNab said, "In our headlines today or today's top stories: One person was arrested and charged for the possession of X grams of marijuana. One person arrested for X kilos of cocaine. One person was found dead after an apparent drug deal became stinky. X acres of marijuana crops destroyed.

    Headlines like these are both physically and psychologically disturbing to the individual, and within the community who cares and is determined to ensure the successful future of Belize, our beloved land. Statistics prove that the age of first use of drugs has fallen and continues to decrease. Globally, the average age of first use is 12. We have got to remind ourselves that Belize's future rests in the hands of our younger population. If this trend continues, there might not be a Belize thirty years from now. We have more than half of our population of students who drink alcohol. There is an urgent need for school drug policies and drug education programmes. The National Drug Council is happy to say that one of its greatest accomplishments has been the infusion of Drug Education within the Primary Schools' National Curriculum. Our goal now is to extend into the secondary schools and also incorporate Drug Education into their curriculum. The National Drug Council is also proud to say that, for the first time, Belize has its own National Anti-Drug Strategy that involves some $40 million Belize dollars to address this social problem, known as drugs, in the areas of prevention and education, treatment and rehabilitation, law enforcement, research and information. NDACC has therefore, within the past months, been moving at the speed of light, with momentum, creating impact. With this in mind, the National Drug Council needs to continue its momentum and definitely, admittedly, NDACC cannot do it alone. The involvement of the community is crucial in gaining support, developing and implementing appropriate activities to address the problem. District Task Forces have now been established in every district including Belmopan and today, San Pedro. Your soon to be commissioned Drug Demand Reduction Task Force members are undertaking a personal gratification journey and challenge. This job will bring you enemies; remember we fight against ėprincipalities and rulers of darkness' but ėthough we walk through the valley of the shadow of death we will fear no evil, for God is with us.'

    Your presence here today speaks louder than you know. The first time I came here I was and still am amazed by your commitment and determination. NDACC thrives on a few men and women like yourselves. Already you have done several activities; radio ads, a health fair, sponsored alternatives to drug, visited schools to do education sessions and a ėThink Before U Drink' campaign. All this has been done within two months of your existence as the San Pedro Drug Demand Reduction Task Force. I know you will create change in San Pedro. I want to wish you the best of luck, may God bless you and always remember; ėThe Land of the Free can be Drug Free'."

    Mr. Alan Usher also addressed the crowd and sent best wishes on behalf of the Minister of National Security. The Area Representative then gave her remarks and expressed her views on the Drug Task Force as well as proactive measures to be taken in a soon-to-commence drug prevention program.

    The newly commissioned members were then each presented with a certificate. The San Pedro Drug Demand Reduction Task Force consists of Corporal Llewelyn Usher, Sandro Magaña, Eiden Salazar, Omar Arceo, Lane Thomas, Debbie Spain, Ian Zaldivar, ASP Michael Guttierez, Pedro "Jimbo" Vasquez and Emil Vasquez.

    The vote of thanks was given by Ms. Lane Thomas followed by dance entertainment featuring the San Pedro Dance Company. The gathering was then treated to seafood ceviche and drinks.
Search go!
| | Island Info | Community | History | Visitor Center |
Belize News | | Messages |

Copyright © San Pedro Sun. Design by Casado Internet Group

San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize News