The Saint Lucia cabinet has approved the George Charles Secondary School site for a juvenile centre, Minister for Equity, Social Justice, and Empowerment Joachim Henry has disclosed.
Henry spoke amid concerns expressed last week by a disquieted citizen over the detention at the Bordelais Correctional Facility (BCF) of a 14-year-old boy accused of robbery.
A BCF official defended the detention asserting that the institution could not ignore a valid court order.
In addition, the official disclosed that contrary to reports, the BCF houses juveniles in a block away from the general inmate population and ensures that the youngsters are protected.
The Minister for Equity, Social Justice, and Empowerment recalled that the need for a proper juvenile centre has been on the cards for many years.
Henry told reporters that relocating the Boys Training Centre had also been on the table.
The Centre at Massade, Gros Islet, is a residential rehabilitation facility that provides programmes for young men in conflict with the law and those who need care and protection.
Minister Henry revealed that early next month, he would visit a juvenile centre in Grenada where the authorities repurposed a school.
“I heard that it is a good juvenile centre,” he told reporters.
Henry said he was in discussion with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) regarding funding for the Saint Lucia centre.
And he said a technical official had visited Grenada to look at that country’s juvenile institution’s architecture.
“Currently, we have the Upton Girls in Cedars. We have the Transit Home in Cas en Bas and of course we have the Boys Training Centre. So yes, we have the problems with our youth,” he explained.
Henry also said that the stakeholders would have to advise whether the proposed juvenile centre here would be for males and females.