Thursday, January 18, 2018

Gender Ministry: Boys of St Michael’s School to be sent home

The boys at the St Michael’s School for Boys are to be sent home.

The Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development, along with the boards of management for the St Michael’s School for Boys and the St Mary’s Children Home, made this decision yesterday following a meeting.

In a release, the ministry said following the meeting, which was held “on the way forward in light of recent issues highlighted in the preliminary report dealing with the Brandon Hargreaves matter”, it was decided the children housed at the facility be sent home.

The ministry said such a move was necessary and given the fact that the July-August vacation period for schoolchildren is in effect.

“Those who have customary home leave privileges will depart accordingly and the remainder of the children will be taken on a retreat to be managed by a team of eminently qualified experts to treat with the issues of healing and restoring confidence,” the release stated.

Last week, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan sent copies of an independent report prompted by the death of 14-year-old Hargreaves to Director of Public Prose­cutions Roger Gaspard and acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams for an immediate criminal investigation.

The report detailed various abuses at the home, both physical and sexual.

In April, after the preliminary report into the home was made, the ministry appointed a monitoring team from National Family Services to check on operations and conduct interviews with the boys.

The ministry said yesterday’s meeting focused on improving the governance arrangements and specific reporting relationships and strengthening the partnership between the ministry and the boards of management.

Adding that the discussions yielded much “in terms of moving forward”, and agreements that were mutually made, the release stated such agreements included the board of management of St Michael’s Home would revisit its current business plan to make a determination on service delivery areas where they could make the best contribution and the engagement of an independent auditing firm to conduct a management audit at the St Michael’s Home as a matter of priority and urgency.

The minister has referred the recently-concluded report to the Statutory Authorities Commission, which has responsibility for taking disciplinary action regarding staff as it sees fit and a professional analysis to be conducted of the files of all residents which would be used by suitable experts, such as social workers and psychologists, to build individual care and rehabilitation plans for each resident.