The Grenadian Government says it is one step closer to opening the island’s first Juvenile Rehabilitation Centre.
Addressing the media during Tuesday’s weekly post-Cabinet briefing, Minister for Education, Anthony Boatswain, said the centre will soon open and plans are being put in place to staff the facility through the use of existing public officers.
He told reporters that Government will take an incremental approach and as the needs arise, staffing will be provided.
The Department of Public Administration has been charged with the responsibility of coming up with the job functions of the facility in conjunction with the Ministry of Social Development to identify the relevant numbers necessary for the operation of the facility.
According to Minister Boatswain, the thinking is that those job positions be filled at the centre through the utilisation of persons from within the teaching, health and related services sector.
He said the decision to staff the centre with existing public officers is part of government’s cost cutting measures as part of the impending implementation of a homegrown Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) with help from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Describing this as “a welcomed move” on the part of government, the senior minister stressed that it would not be feasible or advisable for government to employ new persons within the service.
In recent months, the government has been complaining of having to spend too much monies on salaries and wages.
Despite denials, speculation is rife in some quarters that the one-year old government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell will be forced to engage in retrenchment of some civil servants in order to bring expenditure in line with revenue earnings.
The Education Minister said that Cabinet agreed to ensure that the Grand Bacolet facility would be able to accommodate all those children who require treatment intervention as part of a secure residential or open residential centre.
Boatswain stressed that the move to establish a rehab centre for young offenders is important in light of the number of offences being committed by school children.
The facility will serve as an alternative to the island’s lone correctional facility – Richmond Hill Prison.
The minister said government is concerned about issues surrounding young offenders and the lack of alternative facilities rather than incarcerate them at Richmond Hill Prison hence the decision to establish the Bacolet Rehabilitation Centre for young offenders.
The Ministry of Social Development has been assigned the responsibility of putting together an implementation plan in preparation for the opening of the centre.