The Story About The UWI Campus Police With The Accent

In Trinidad and Tobago, the budget of the Ministry of National Security in 2016 was $7.625b.There is a perspective that sees greater fortification through the construction of borders, deployment of high tech utilities to patrol these borders by land and sea, the purchase of more arms and surveillance equipment on more public roads and private communication devices as the best way to address our crime situation. There is another approach that incorporates the development of the capabilities of the security forces while there is a greater coordinated investment in the sectors that build communities and make the population feel safe. Noel Burnett of the UWI Estate Police team builds our campus community, keeps us safer and more hopeful every day.

Who is dat? De Campus police with the American accent?

Sort of. It is a Canadian accent! Noel Burnett was born in Trinidad and Tobago in 1977. In the good company of his five aunts and mother, he was off to Canada as a six-month old baby. In Canada, he developed a stronger sense of Caribbean identity, a love for all things Trini and Tobagonian (where his father was from originally). He also had to remind persons, “All Caribbean people are not Jamaican!” Over the years, he built himself professionally and personally. He returned to Trinidad and began working at the UWI St. Augustine Campus on the 16th August 2010. Noel Burnett has since become one of the most popular personalities at the UWI; I strongly believe that even if Barack Obama had a lecture at Daaga Hall and Machel Montano performed in a fete at the Principal’s Office and these events ran simultaneously, if Burnett had a gathering on a bench at LRC, he would be the crowd grabber! His smile is contagious, his positive energy inspires and his love for people breaks down all the walls among faculties and the distinctions between staff and students with his decency for each and every person he comes across.

People are happy to see him and some media houses are also eager to interview him. In the past, he turned down corporate media houses with their interview requests. In 2014, he was awarded the UWI St. Augustine Campus Employee of the Year for Service – he contributed the trophy to the Estate Police Station because he sees himself as part of a team. I understand him completely. He is a kind of superhero without a cape – always helping and always hiding; the person who delivers a gift anonymously. When asked, “why do you back away from the spotlight and recognition?” He replied, “People do not need to see me, they must always believe it comes from God and it should encourage others to take charge of their lives.”

How does Noel Burnett make us feel? “Gooooooooooooooooodddddd”

 

Burnett is also the father of five – Annathsa, Justice, J’quan, Bradley, Pearl and an adopted boy, Brad. His philosophy about service did not fall from the sky, I wanted to know about the way he saw the world. He brings joy to so many of us! He shared, “I love people. I prefer to make a friend than an enemy. We are here to learn from each other. We are here to build each other. We are here to help each other. I put this principle first. Make a friend, not an enemy. You show them love from the start because first impressions last, buddy.”

Noel Burnett saved a student’s life who choked on the medication she took before exams, he defended a student against the threat of sexual violence by an off-campus perpetrator. He has also given the best directions and takes pride coordinating parking for events as if he was in charge of a task at the United Nations. But, I dare to say these outstanding performances of his duties are nothing in comparison to his ability to lift the spirits of HUNDREDS of students on a daily basis with his commitment, joy and smile.

Crime is a reminder that Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean are not perfect places. Personally, the implementation of the No Thoroughfare Zone on campus this academic year made me feel that our strategy to keep each other safe is to cut off ourselves from our community and build another border between us and the majority of the population. Nothing is perfect. But some people make it their business and life goal to show us that we can do better and be better. Noel Burnett’s high quality of service to the campus community, personal integrity and gift of joy give us hope. His gold-tooth smile is a reminder that there is something always worth smiling for. University professors can teach us to empower our minds but we must always turn to each other to learn about each other’s humanity.

NB:

Mr. Noel Burnett is not the best with smart technology. His daughter recently set up an e-mail account for him. I have to deliver him this blog in print to the Station. If it’s not too much, when you see him, tell him how much he means to you. I guarantee, he will show the love back.

Blog Reference:
Sanatan, Amílcar. 2016. “The Story About The UWI Campus Police With The Accent Blog, Accessed [Insert Date Accessed]. http://amilcarsanatan.com/story-uwi-campus-police-accent/

Cover Picture:
UWI Marketing and Communications. Accessed December 31, 2016. http://sta.uwi.edu/employeenewsletter/files/assets/common/downloads/publication.pdf

Further Readings:

UWI Marketing and Communications. 2015. UWI Staff Employee Newsletter, July 2015. Accessed December 31, 2016. http://sta.uwi.edu/employeenewsletter/files/assets/common/downloads/publication.pdf

 

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10 Comments

  1. Shammah Maharaj
    December 31, 2016
    Reply

    Yes this guard is very different and special, a very fine example for everyone on campus. He deserves way more recognition than he gets. Much respect to him.

  2. December 31, 2016
    Reply

    I have had many interactions with Constable Burnett and they have all been positive. He is truly one of the most genuine human beings I have had the pleasure of meeting and I wish him well in any and all endeavors.
    Clifford B.

  3. Maxine
    December 31, 2016
    Reply

    This guy is so amazing! He never fails to greet you with a warm smile and cheerful ring to his tone! I swear that when he said “Merry Christmas” to me in the middle of my frenetic studying for exams, my spirits felt so uplifted and when I greeted him on the last day of my exams and skipped into the library, his laughter also shared my joy! His professionalism is truly remarkable and I endorse the fact that the University recognized this and acknowledged his efforts!

    To you sir, have a truly wonderful holiday and here’s to wishing the best of the best for you in 2017! Cheers!

  4. Vish
    December 31, 2016
    Reply

    Boss article

  5. Rhons
    January 1, 2017
    Reply

    I love your story keep up the good work

  6. Mari
    January 1, 2017
    Reply

    I really loved this article. I always wondered about this security’s officer story. It reminds me that no matter what you do ,if you are genuine and love what you do, you will make a difference. Great job Amilcar

  7. Andrea
    January 1, 2017
    Reply

    Amazing person! He makes the UWI experience a better one :D

  8. Jenelle Corraspe
    January 2, 2017
    Reply

    This article is definitely inspiring! I’ve had the privilege of meeting this gentlemen on many occasions throughout my daily journey at the University and boy oh boy; his smile, personality and helpful attitude sets the tone for my many hours spent at the University.

    To this goodly gentleman, all I can say is thank you! Thank you for showing that humans can be kind and make a friend instead of an emeny. A smile goes a long way. Thank you sir for everything you’ve done at the University and keep up the good work!. Shalom.

    There is still hope for my beautiful island of Trinidad and Tobago.!

  9. His neighbor and childhood friend
    January 2, 2017
    Reply

    Good story… One error though he spent his formative years in Trinidad and went to Canada as a young adult….

  10. January 2, 2017
    Reply

    I don’t even know of the guy, but this is what humanity needs to be more like. Can’t talk to some peeps these days, because everybody getting offended. Nice read.

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