Thursday, April 25, 2024

Abrahams: Females to be relocated from Barrows to Dodds


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The female section of the Government Industrial School is to be relocated from Barrows, St Lucy to Dodds, St Philip.

Minister of Home Affairs Wilfred Abrahams made the disclosure in the House of Assembly today, explaining the decision was being made after wide consultation “as to what was the best course of action” following complaints of abuse made by a ward of the institution last March.

Abrahams said he made a surprise tour of the facility following reports of the student being mistreated and “by the time we left that facility, we knew that we could not continue that facility as it was”.

“It either had to be massively overhauled or arrangements had to be made for the facility to be closed down and students moved.”

Abrahams added that visit was followed up with consultations with several relevant agencies and a committee looking into the matter found that “Barrows was not the best place [for the girls] . . . and to continue there would be to disadvantage the residents who we have a duty to take care of” since they are “wards of the state and the state is in loco parentis”.

“In all of our looking around it was deemed that the easiest thing to do for now is to retrofit the boys’ facility at Dodds. There is sufficient dormitory space that we can house the girls; there is sufficient  plant that it can be separated . . . to accommodate the girls there,” Abrahams told the House.

He added with just about three or four girls at Barrows at the moment, and a few boys at Dodds, “The best use of space would be to redesign, reappoint and renovate Dodds to accommodate both the boys and the girls while we then fine-tune how we are going forward and look at a purpose-built facility for more serious offenders going forward.”

The resolution passed by the House allocated the sum of $1 735  891 to be spent in this financial year, to retrofit the dorms, erect fencing and implement other measures to properly separate the boys from the girls as well as to enable integrated classes where necessary.

The House also approved the sum of $670 940 as overtime payment for those prison officers who spent 14 days locked in the prison last year, performing a wide range of duties while their counterparts and other employees were in quarantine as a result of a COVID-19 outbreak at the prison. (GC)


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