Wednesday 4th October, 2006

 

Marching towards a better tomorrow

 
 
 
 
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Colonel Edison N Isaac enjoys leisure time with his young charges at a regional camp.

Colonel Edison N Isaac poses with sharpshooters of the T&T Cadet Force.

Colonel Edison N Isaac in ceremonial wear on horseback.

BY CAMILLE BETHEL

Commandant of the T&T Cadet Force Colonel Edison N Isaac is intent on using the force to make societal change.

Isaac, whose many years of experience in the force, as youth sergeant, warrant officer and later commissioned officer as an adult, has allowed him first hand experience of the success young cadets have attained.

In a recent interview he explained that “Forward March,” the development plan of the Force, which speaks of expansion of the force to all secondary schools throughout T&T, stresses the need to empower young people with social skills which will allow them to take a positive contribution to the society as T&T marches toward 2020.

“Over the years,” said Isaac, “thousands of young people have passed through the force. Some have gone on to distinguish themselves internationally, regionally and locally because of the training they received.”

He, added that most if not all have displayed good qualities of citizenship which shows that the role of the Cadet Force is critical in the development of young people.

Isaac now hopes that this success can be mirrored by more of this country’s young people.

“Our aim is to produce graduates that are model citizens so we look at personal as well as professional development for the cadet as he/she moves from one stage of life to the other.” Hence the reason youngsters are allowed to join the force from as early as age 11.

Traditionally, the Cadet Force has been involved in what is known as infantry but they are hoping to expand to units of air and sea, Isaac disclosed.

He said: “This will allow young people to map out a career path which may not necessarily be military. They can choose to be a pilot, a nautical engineer or any other career dealing with air travel.”

These are not the only areas where young people can have their skills honed, as there are other areas in the Force that young people can get involved.

“Youngsters who have a penchant for music can get involved in the cadet band or even in the messing unit where they can learn culinary skills which are taught at the St James Barracks. There is also a paramedic unit which helps point them in the direction of medicine,” Isaac explained.

Isaac, who has held the position of commandant of force for the past four years, has been actively involved in the Cadet Force since his days as a student at Queen’s Royal College, however, in recent times, his involvement in the force has been mainly on the administrative side.

He disclosed: “I came up with the concept of the development plan or ‘Vision 2009’ but it was a product of consultations with adults from the cadet force, former commandants, regional cadets from Jamaica and Barbados, as well as parents and cadet members.”

A recipient of the Humming Bird Silver national award, Isaac also received two awards in Jamaica last August: the Caribbean Cadet Medal, of which he was the first recipient, and the Jamaica Combined Cadet Force Efficiency Medal, for his contribution to the regional Cadet Force.

However, he said, his receiving those awards was really a tribute to the adults who have given of their time freely, sometimes to the expense of their own family life and job situations, to serve the country’s youth.

To increase the number of cadets in the force, with a targeted minimum intake of 300 recruits by September, 2007 and a cadet nominal roll of at least 5,000 by 2009.

The creation of a support structure for the T&T Cadet Force within the broad policy guidelines of the Ministry of National Security.

Provide flexible, enhanced opportunities for adult leader training and development.

Increase the personnel resource base available to train and develop cadets.

Create a more autonomous management structure.

 

 

 

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