(PRESS RELEASE) — Saint Lucia continues to actively drive its social safety net reform policies and programmes.
An important step in this process was taken this week as a high-level delegation from the government of Saint Lucia travelled to Grenada on a study tour of that island’s social programme, SEED – the Support for Education, Empowerment and Development.
SEED is a model programme in the Caribbean region aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty through targeted cooperation interventions across the government system.
In keeping with a holistic approach to the reform process, the Saint Lucia delegation did discuss policy with technocrats from Grenada’s Ministry of Social Development, Housing and Community Empowerment. However, the
delegation took the opportunity to see first-hand operations of key institutions in the SEED model. This included a tour to the Grand Bacolet Juvenile Rehabilitation and Treatment Centre, a refurbished school compound opened
three years ago which is used as a residential facility for juvenile justice reform.
Dr. Juliette Raymond, consultant in Saint Lucia’s Ministry of Equity, Social Justice, Local Government and Empowerment, was encouraged by the success of the juvenile reform system.
She said: “Commendation must be given to Grenada given its policy position to affirm and strengthen protections for youth in the justice system. Grand Bacolet Juvenile Facility, although not a perfect model, serves a major milestone and model to learn from. St. Lucia, in a similar vein, is now taking a serious and active stance to ensure that its juvenile justice system is improved to the extent that it can be touted as being one of the best in the OECS.”
Manager of the Boys Training Center (BTC), Wang Sonson, said: “The visit to the Bacolet facility gave us an insight into its operations and programmes that are offered to its clientele. The information gathered will be used to complement the existing programming at BTC and also aid in the restructuring of our operations.”
Breaking the cycle of poverty is challenging but not impossible. To this end, the government of Saint Lucia has charged the Ministry of Equity, Social Justice, Local Government and Empowerment with strengthening the support
given to the 25% of our population who fall on, or below, the poverty line.