By Carlena Knight
Fourteen members of the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda (RPFAB) and 15 Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force (ABDF) personnel were recognised yesterday for their humanitarian efforts in St Vincent and the Grenadines last year.
The team of male and female officers and soldiers were each awarded the Regional Security System (RSS) medal by Governor General Sir Rodney Williams during a brief ceremony at Government House.
The contingent left Antigua through the Regional Security System (RSS) last April where they stayed for a little over a month to assist law enforcement on the ground following the April 9 eruption of the La Soufriere volcano.
The mission was in keeping with the commitment of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), and the Regional Security System (RSS) to regional safety in the aftermath of natural disasters.
Assistant Commissioner of Police, Desmond Dinard who was the RSS Contingent Commander, was among the honorees.
The other police awardees include: Inspector Verbin Peters, Sergeant Vincent Shadrach, Sergeant Travis Crump, Constable Yanik Clarke, Constable Amanda Moses, Constable Kenroy Charles, Constable Raul Mendoza, Constable Clint Livingstone, Constable Tashawn St Jean, Constable Ivan Daley, Corporal Dianna Hector, Corporal Yohann Johnson, and Constable Sean Bretney.
Meanwhile, the ABDF awardees were Captain Abram Browne, Staff Sergeant Kevin Joseph, Sergeant Manyankie Edwards, Leading Seaman Sawandi Ambrose, Corporal Moses Henderson, Corporal Jermain Waldron, Lance Corporal Mickelson Williams, Private First-Class Shawn David, PTC Jamory Carbon, Private Jevon Dukhiram, Private Rivaldo Bartley, Private Theodore Benjamin, Ordinary Seaman Ricocardo Tonge, Private Natasha Anniel, and Private Isaiah Nebuwa.
Sir Rodney thanked the brave young men and women “for risking their lives as it required both mental and physical strength, especially during a pandemic”.
“It does not require any special intellect to understand that extended time away from home, added to a highly infectious disease in the midst of a disaster, is a sure formula for the excursion of a high level of stress on even the best and strongest of men.
“While this was the case, our men and women were driven by the philosophy that helping others who are in dire circumstances … is a labour of love and a demonstration of the highest level of humanitarianism,” Sir Rodney said.
Echoing his sentiments was Commissioner of Police, Atlee Rodney.
Rodney not only shared his appreciation for the sacrifices made by the awardees, but charged them to “wear their medals with pride” and to continue to embody the oath they would have taken to serve others.
“I want you to understand that to serve humanity is a great part of being a police officer and being a member of the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force. Wear that medal with pride and continue to promote the ideals of the RSS and your respective organisations. We have taken an oath to serve people. Let us continue to serve people to the best of our abilities.
“We say thank you for a job well done. So, I applaud you, your Excellency, for doing that to us so that you can recognise this is special, this is important and when you are called upon to provide service, stand tall and say ‘here I am, send me’,” Commissioner Rodney said.
This was the first time that members of both organisations were awarded.