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Celebrating its own

Major Patrick Skeete accepting his award from Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley.

The Lloyd Erskine Sandiford was befitting of royalty last Saturday as the Barbados Cadet Corps celebrated their own.

The event was dubbed An Evening of Celebration: Salute and the Two Mile Hill venue was filled with officers, former cadets, young officers, parents and supporters who gave thanks to the contributions of Lieutenant Erma Holder, who spent 11 years in the corps before retiring last year as an Adult Leader, and Major Patrick Skeete who dedicated 41 years to the service.

Holder joined the Potential Officers Course in 2000 after 30 years in the Teaching Service.

Upon retiring she was employed as a teacher at Parkinson Memorial Secondary School where she also served as the Officer Commanding of the No. 9 Company. Since retiring from her teaching post, she became the Officer in Charge of the Medical Unit and it was said that the Medical Unit has had a firm grounding under her command.

Skeete will officially retire on 1 November this year, he was the first teacher to take up full-time office in 1994. Nationally, he has managed to create a good corporate image of the Corps through networking relationships formed with supporters of the Barbados Cadet Corps ranging from the private and public sectors, NGOs and individuals. Internationally, he has successfully created and nurtured numerous regional and international bonds for the Barbados Cadet Corps, including alliances with the Directorate of Cadets in Canada, and the Nottinghamshire and Suffolk Army Cadet Forces in the United Kingdom.

“There can be no doubt that the Barbados Cadet Corps has grown into a very attractive extra-curricular activity for students and that numbers participating have increased significantly. Opportunities for training have also increased under his watch. He would have influenced the lives of three decades of young people as an adult leader. During his tour of duty in Cadet Headquarters the Barbados Cadet Corps grew significantly in numbers and also developed a positive image in the Barbadian society. There are now 24 cadet units including school units, a Band, a medical Unit, a shooting unit and a Sea cadet unit. The seeds have also been sown for an Air Cadet Unit to be formed. Barbadian students now have considerably more options than in 1994 when he started work in Cadet Headquarters,” his citation read.

“Major Skeete has developed a reputation locally and internationally as a dedicated, committed and inspirational youth leader and he has been awarded national honours in a number of Caribbean countries for his contribution to cadetting at the regional level. His life service to cadets has been singularly outstanding.”

Minister of Youth, Family and Culture, Stephen Lashley, a former cadet also, referred to the retirees as heroes.

He said their sterling contribution should not be understated moreover the youths of this country should emulate the core values of: discipline, good team work, critical thinking, confidence and camaraderie which the honourees would have shown in their time of service. These qualities, he said, would have played a major role in shaping not only life but the lives of many other young men and women in Barbados.

“Being a dedicated cadet one realises that service comes before self and there is an even greater honour in serving ones’ country. Whether the task is great or small; consider the honour of service and the pride that comes with success.

“Even as we mature in our professional careers and our personal lives, I have come to realise that they are so many things that we together can accomplish by doing it together. In my own reflections, I appreciate that these characteristics are a part of the legacy of leadership of exemplified by cadet officers like: Major Skeete and Lieutenant Holder.

“Excellence, precision, determination, focus, country above self and the passion to uphold values and virtues are some of the very key examples that they epitomize,” he said. (KC)

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