The Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation and the Ministry of National Security held a passing out ceremony today to recognize the thirty-one (31) cadets who successfully completed the Belize Youth Challenge Program (BYC).

The young men, ages 15 to 17, comprise the second cohort of the BYC program which was introduced in October 2017 for at-risk youths. As part of the 10-month residential program, the youths engaged in academic lessons, physical training/drills, and learnt vocational skills such as agriculture, woodwork and hospitality.

In his remarks to the cadets, Minister of State in the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation Hon. Dr. Angel Campos encouraged the youths to remain committed to achieving their dreams.

He said, “Today proves that there is hope; hope that our young people still have dreams and that they will take up the mantle of leadership in Belize.  Along with that hope, there needs to be a commitment from all of us; a commitment to stand together to support these thirty-one young men and those who will follow.”

Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security Hon. Elodio Aragon Jr. encouraged the cadets to consider a career in the security forces.

Hon. Aragon said, “We extend the offer to any cadet that survived the challenge, and is of minimum age, to enter into the next intake of the Belize Defence Force, or the Belize Coast Guard. This Belize Youth Challenge Program has earned you the entry pass. We welcome you to join us in defending our land and our seas and to contribute to keeping the peace in our communities.

During the ceremony held at the ITVET in Belize City, eight cadets and two parents were recognized for special efforts with plaques:

  • Sergeant Sylvester Ico Jr., Most Outstanding Cadet and Highest Academic Average (Upper)
  • Cadet Rene Tillett, Champion Physical Fitness
  • Lance Corporal Efrain Munoz, Best Drill
  • Cadet Ismael Cus, Most Improve Cadet
  • Cadet Anthony Figueroa, Most Improve Cadet
  • Cadet Hilberto Chub, Highest Academic Average (Middle)
  • Cadet Jeremy Martinez, Highest Academic Average (Lower)
  • Cadet Delrick Sankey, Outstanding Participation (Recognition from Labour Department)
  • Armita Chan, Most Supportive Parent (Female)
  • Wilson Guarchaj Sr., Most Supportive Parent (Male)

With today’s graduation, a total of 53 young men have completed the Belize Youth Challenge Program. According to the Commandant of BYC, Anthony Castillo, 21 of the cadets from the 2018 cohort have successfully remained in school, skills training, or a combination of both.

The BYC Programme is jointly managed by the Community Rehabilitation Department in the Ministry of Human Development and the Belize Defence Force. The program, located at Mile 21 on the George Price Highway, is currently preparing to introduce its third cohort in August 2019.