Five juveniles were arrested on Friday after a fight broke out at the Boys Training Centre.
The incident started initially on Thursday evening and continued into Friday, at about 9 a.m.
St. Lucia News Online (SNO) understands that one of the boys sustained minor bruises and cuts as a result of the fight. He was taken to the Gros Islet Polyclinic for treatment and later released.
A reliable source told SNO that weapons such as cutlasses, knives, ice-picks and other sharp objects were used during the fight. Several items were also destroyed at the centre during the incident.
The boys were questioned by the police and allegedly released without any warning.
SNO was told that a memorandum was circulated to staff urging them to be “extremely vigilant for any confrontation” between the juveniles that were involved in the fight.
“Should there should be any indication that there will be further altercation, all officers on duty are asked to contact the manager and the Gros Islet Police Station for assistance,” the memorandum stated.
Staff were further advised to conduct three searches per day of the locker area, dorm, and bathroom, around the computer lab, court, tank and work-shop.
Reports are that the juveniles have become uncontrollable and extremely violent even though the centre is equipped with wardens, social workers, security and other support staff.
The source explained that it has reached a point where staff members attached to the centre are afraid that they could one day become victims of the boys’ violent acts.
SNO also understands that bullying takes place every day at the centre where the big ones are engaged in beating on the younger ones.
The source alleged that the boys would also escape through the fence and engage in smoking illegal substances. Whenever they return, they would create havoc by picking fights with each other.
All of these concerns were raised with management, but the source said they continue to pay a blind eye to the situation. Staff there believes that if these issues are not fixed soon enough, it could get dangerous.
The source told SNO that the centre caters for over 20 juveniles, but only half of them are currently there. The other half have escaped and never returned, and are allegedly involved in criminal activities.
The centre is also said to be in a bad state. Some of the windows have been destroyed and have not been replaced. They are used as escapes for the juveniles. The bushes at the centre are also growing rapidly and are hardly trimmed while there are two large holes in the fence.
Meanwhile, the centre’s manager Leonard Terrance confirmed with SNO that a fight did occur on Friday. However, he denied reports that the juveniles had sharp objects in their possession.
“We have groups of children, who are with remedial problems in one environment, so fighting is not going to be something unusual… There were no cutlasses nor knives used in any fight,” he stated.
In relation to the holes in the fence, Terrance said that issue is now being addressed.