15 survived RSS Jungle Course!

The looks of accomplishment pasted on the faces of police officers at the closing ceremony of the Regional Security System (RSS) Jungle course on Friday, February 24 spoke wonders. Fifteen officers, 14 men and one woman had embarked on an intensive test of endurance that took them through the vastly uninhibited Edmund Forest in Soufriere for the best part of a week according to constable Harvey Taliam, a participant who went into detail about the two week training camp.
“With quivering knees and unsettled stomachs I might add . . . We were training to be moderate in our necessities, to always keep in mind the final objective, to bear discomfort and fatigue without complaining, to use our initiative, to not submit to psychological pressure. We were taught how navigate in a jungle environment, contact drills, firing and maneuvering, close quarter battle drills, among others. We were taught how to set various traps while hunting for food, how to use materials in the jungle as cooking utensils, bamboo as pots, etc.”
In the earlier part of the second week officers commenced the second phase of their “training block,” the survival and navigation stage.
“We were stripped down to bare necessities,” Taliam expressed. “Weapons, blades, matched, compass, map. We were tasked to navigate from Fond St Jacques, Soufriere to the Barre d’Lisle; from there to Forestierre and then to La Toc, Castries. It was certainly a challenging endevour!”
At each stage officers were required to set up shelter, food quarters, latrine and show evidence that they’d truly sorted their food out from their surroundings.
“I must say that from the beginning and throughout the duration of the training, our very skilled and equally competent instructors emphasized the need to operate with safety in mind, but more so, to operate cohesively, as one. A group is as strong as its weakest member.
“The experience showed us who were really are,” Talium continued. “It highlighted to us areas of weakness personally and professionally. It further re-enforced the concept of being your brother’s keeper. It showed the importance of group consensus and cohesion. We learnt from the errors made.”
On Friday, Taliam expressed on behalf of all the officers that they were “overwhelmingly humble and grateful for the invaluable efforts” of their instructor.
According to CDR Tyrone James, the aim of the course was to access the ability and resourcefulness of participants to survive and operate in a hostile environment with limited logistical and manpower support. To achieve that objective he said, participants were required to survive within that jungle environment for two weeks. In his words: “Their ability to live off the land and function as a team was critical to their success.”
For the final assessment participants were required to complete a twelve  mile walk, employing the navigational and survival skills gained over the two weeks.
“That was a physically demanding course and these 15 members of the RSLPF are rightfully deserving of congratulation,” James noted. “You are the successful participants of this RSS Jungle and Survival Course and now it is your responsibility to employ those skills to the benefit of your country and organization.”
James felt courses along the lines of the recently completed initiative provided the police force will the skills and tools necessary to enhance their job performance, which was vital because in his words, “citizens were genuinely outranged by what they perceived as the rising levels of crimes and criminality in various communities.”
“The RSS has received some support from the government of Canada to advance this RSS Training Institute Project and is also in discussions with the registrar of the Caribbean Examination Council to develop a Caribbean solution to this regional challenge,” James said. “At this time I must express our appreciation to the government of the United States who sponsored this course through the Narcotics Affairs Section, in the US Embassy in Bridgetown. I wish to congratulate the participants of the RSS Jungle and Survival Course and remind us all that in answering the call of Unite or perish—there will always be strength in unity.
Commissioner of Police, Vernon Francois who was also present at the ceremony made it known t hat it was a privilege for him to congratulation the officers for their successful completion of the course facilitated by the RSS.
“The RSLPF is committed to training its human resource as training and practice represent the best means of ensuring the organization remains on the cutting edge of our competitive environment,” Francois said. “I implore participants to use the knowledge gained during the course for the betterment of the police force in St Lucia. To do otherwise will bring to naught all the efforts expended in training you.”

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