“Discipline, Dedication and Determination”, are the three very distinctive and positive characteristics that serve as the motto for students actively involved in the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Rangers program. These words were proudly echoed at the recent Installation ceremonies by some 498 successful Rangers within New Providence, Grand Bahama, Abaco and the Berry Islands, where a tremendous growth has taken place with proactive youth participation and development. During the past four weeks, the program came to a “bittersweet” close for the academic school year.

In 1995, the Rangers program was initially introduced at the Donald Davis Secondary School, and once served as a program to assist in reforming young males at the junior high level to become highly disciplined and productive citizens. Today, the program has steadily evolved into an organization stressing mentorship, character and leadership building into its core curriculum and keen on preparing young people for careers in the maritime, law enforcement and military fields. It has since been opened to both males and females ranging in ages from 11-18 years. A total of 45 schools have integrated this youth program into its ‘club’ systems, with 1500 plus students inducted nationwide.

During this year’s Installation ceremonies, Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Bernard Nottage, State Minister of National Security, Hon. Keith Belle, Permanent Secretary for Ministry of National Security Mr. Carl Smith and Commander Defence Force (Acting), Captain Tellis Bethel, were in attendance to inspect the Ranger platoons and also render encouraging remarks to those students for their accomplishments and steadfast commitment to the program. The newly installed Rangers had an opportunity to showcase their talent and ability, delivering an entertaining physical training display and a captivating variation of parade drills.

At the culmination of each ceremony was the presentation of certificates and trophies, including the Minister of National Security Award, Commander Defence Force Award, Rangers Director Award, Most Improved Award and Academic Achievement Awards, which were earned by students based on specific qualifying criteria.

Presently, Lieutenant Delvonne Duncombe serves as the program’s director. He is assisted by four senior personnel with varying program facilitator roles; as well as ten instructors who are charged with the tremendous responsibility of helping to mold and develop each active Ranger participant into positive productive citizens.

In response, Captain Tellis Bethel, Commander Defence Force asserts that “Much has been said about weapons of mass destruction in today’s world. Yet, the Bahamas has a secret weapon of its own; ours is a weapon of mass construction, and its none other than our nation’s youth. See photos of the event here .

Story By: Woman Marine Shari Colebrooke

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