(PRESS RELEASE VIA SNO) – The OECS Commission, USAID and the Ministry of National Mobilization in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines recently partnered to undertake major renovation work on the Liberty Lodge Boys Training Center to ensure it remains a key support institution for at-risk youth.
The official re-opening ceremony held on the 19th March was attended by the Honourable Frederick Stephenson – Minister of National Mobilization, Social Development, the Family, Persons with Disabilities and Youth of St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Dr. Christopher Cushing – USAID Mission Director and Dr. Grace-Ann Cornwall – Head of the Social Development Unit at the OECS Commission.
The Liberty Lodge Boys Training Center which was established over forty years ago plays a critical role for young Vincentians at risk by providing a caring environment in which boys aged from 7 to 16 years old with family, educational, social, emotional, and or behavioural difficulties can develop skills to become responsible and productive citizens.
The work included renovation of the dormitory, supply of kitchen appliances, bed and mattresses, construction of a retaining wall, fencing, concrete pavement and drainage works as well as the provision of steel pan equipment.
The project is part of the OECS Commission’s Juvenile Justice Reform Project which aims at expanding the use of rehabilitative practices in providing services and support for youth who come into contact with the law.
Project Coordinator Mrs. Lyndel Archibald said: “We are tenaciously pursuing opportunities that rehabilitate and reintegrate as many at risk youth back into society so they can become active and contributing members of their communities and indeed the wider nation”.
Other initiatives undertaken through the Juvenile Justice Reform Project include the training of more than a hundred Officers of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police as well as SVG Prison Officers to enhance their ability to address juvenile justice reform concerns and provide support to youth in conflict with the law.
A training workshop targeting Judges and Magistrates was also implemented in order to strengthen the judiciary’s capacity to utilize alternative sentencing and restorative justice solutions for Juvenile Offenders.