Minister of Social Development and Housing, Delma Thomas has dismissed claims in some quarters of there being pregnant female residents at the newly opened Grand Bacolet Juvenile and Rehabilitation Centre.
The female government minister told a sitting of Parliament that the centre which came into operation in 2016 is there to offer treatment and rehabilitation for troubled teens and has been doing just that.
“People are saying that there are inmates there who are pregnant. Mr. Speaker that is to just create a problem, create an issue to say that we are not really protecting but we are in fact having these people engaging in sexual activities.
“I want the record show there are criteria when persons are sent into the centre and there are things that we do before those persons are admitted. Every young girl who (is) sent to the Grand Bacolet Centre, we do medical examination on them and one of those medical examination is a pregnancy test because we want to make sure that no resident is not coming in there pregnant.
An upset Minister explained that the layout of the Bacolet facility does not allow for unsupervised interaction between the male and female inmates.
She chided some people who lack information and knowledge of trying to give the public the impression that “it is possible that there are young girls there who are involved in sexual activity while at the centre”.
“(This) cannot happen, Mr. Speaker because the girls are separated from the boys and there are persons supervising even when they have to interact together for classes and otherwise,” she said.
Minister Thomas pointed an accusing finger at the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) for spreading rumours about pregnancy at the centre and said that it is without any merit or facts.
“…Mr. Speaker while we might do things for political reasons, there are certain things for the poor and vulnerable persons to not bring into those issues Mr. Speaker.
“So, we want to ask that those persons in the opposition who are making those claims…if you have concrete evidence contrary to what we are saying then come forward with it.
“Do not speak on a radio programme and just make statements without having the necessary facts.
The Social Development Minister also alluded to a possible breach of confidential information about the inmates.
“…If a client come to you and they do particular examination, somebody outside there should not have that information – should not be speculating whether or not that test is because you are a part of the centre and you get pregnant there..”, she said.