PRESS RELEASE – The Ministry of Social Transformation, Local Government and Community Empowerment hosted a handover ceremony of equipment for the OECS Juvenile Justice Reform Project on Thursday, May 8, 2014.
The Juvenile Justice Reform Project equipment handover ceremony, attended by OECS and government officials, is another step towards the realisation of an improved justice system for juveniles.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Social Transformation, Local Government and Community Empowerment Juliana Alfred said, “The OECS Juvenile Justice Reform Project is one that the Ministry of Social Transformation, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Legal Affairs, and Health are all beneficiaries to. For us as the “lead” ministry in terms of this initiative, we are very happy for all of the benefits that are coming to our sister ministries, because you are all aware that the government is committed in terms of the whole juvenile justice reform process, and this allows us to do some very critical things.”
Under the Juvenile Justice Reform Project, the provision of equipment and tools to enhance the operational and administrative capacity is crucial.
Head of Social Development Unit, OECS Secretariat David Popo said: “The OECS project, essentially would serve to do a couple of things: to update legislation; to update and review the institutional and policy environment so that we can strengthen the enabling environment, and then thereafter to ensure that we can build the capacity of the member states in terms of moving forward from a punitive approach to juvenile justice to one in which we can ensure that those young persons can be rehabilitated and get back into the community and can be given a second chance to become productive citizens.”
The Ministry of Home Affairs, Boys Training Centre (BTC) and Upton Gardens Girls Centre all received “Second Step” Tool Kits to facilitate their rehabilitation practices. Additionally, the Ministry of Legal Affairs received court recording equipment, while the BTC received woodworking equipment, and the Ministry of Home Affairs received a quantity of computers.
The OECS representative expressed gratitude that USAID has indicated its willingness to mobilise more funding upon determining the impact of the Juvenile Justice Reform Project to the people of the OECS.