The National Community Foundation (NCF) will host this year’s Brian Bernard Memorial Lecture at a soon-to-be-decided date in October.
This year’s hosting of the lecture at a later date than August was due to logistics, especially as the COVID-19 protocols prohibit mass gatherings. Nevertheless, the lecture will be held virtually.
Bernard was born on August 12, 1948, and enlisted in the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) on August 16, 1968. He served in many capacities before being appointed Commissioner of Police on March 1, 2001.
He retired as Police Commissioner on August 12, 2003, after serving the Force with distinction for over three decades. His career in the RSPLF was described as being one of dedication, commitment, loyalty, and respect for authority. He died in September, 2003 at age 55.
The Brian Bernard Memorial Fund was established in his honour on August 12, 2004, for his contribution to humanity. The Fund is administered by the NCF and focuses on enforcing and/or enhancing ethical behaviour and human and Christian values. Since it was first held in 2005, the lecture has been hosted annually by the NCF
In an article first published in Police Week Magazine in 2002 entitled “The Question of Ethics”, Bernard wrote the following: “As police officers, our ethical conduct will always be under scrutiny, more so than other public officers. Therefore, we must live our lives like Caesar’s wife. We must be above reproach. The Holy Bible, one of the oldest books written, also makes reference to ethical conduct.”
In the penultimate paragraph of that article, the late top cop urged police officers to champion the cause of integrity and professionalism. He was speaking directly to young police officers when he said: “The challenges facing any young officer are great. The temptations are all around. There is an increase in unethical conduct, for example, white-collar crime, drugs, fraud, corruption, vengeance, greed and basic immoral conduct in business. One has to balance between the society he grew in, the indications of the collapsed moral standards and the training he was exposed to.”
Among the Fund’s objectives are strengthening ethics within communities by inspiring people and institutions to act ethically towards each other. This is done through education, advocacy and research.
One way to achieve this objective is to offer educational opportunities geared towards building one’s character to become better persons and community members. The Virtues Program, which was introduced as the bedrock of this Fund, is intended to provide empowering strategies that inspire the practice of virtues in everyday life, including the classroom.
The Fund is also used to organize the annual Brian Bernard Memorial Lecture. Over the years, the lectures have been delivered by many luminaries, including Justice Suzie d’Auvergne (2006), Dr. Ernest Hilaire (2008), Dr. Stephen King (2009), Fr. Michel Francis (2010), Professor Rose-Marie Belle Antoine (2011), and Dr. Urban Seraphin (2014).