Sunday, November 19, 2017

YTC inmates praise 'daddy'

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ROLE MODEL: Roy Augustus, left, adviser to National Security Minister Brigadier John Sandy, speaks to Sterling Stewart, right, Superintendent in charge of the Youth Training Centre (YTC), at the donation ceremony of a computer to the institution on Wednesday. Looking on is Zalayhar Hassanali, widow of former president Noor Hassanali. —Photo: JERMAINE CRUICKSHANK

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INMATES at the Youth Training Centre (YTC) were on Wednesday praised by the centre's Superintendent Sterling Stewart during a handing-over ceremony of a computer.

Three of the inmates expressed thanks to Stewart for believing in them and helping them see themselves as human as opposed to just another inmate.

One of them, Stephon Martinez said it was Stewart who reminded them that it was "human first and inmate after" adding he was not given a "brain transplant" in YTC but was encouraged to pursue and unearth latent potential within.

Martinez's comments were echoed by inmates Sydney Marc Friday and Pream Badree, all of whom referred to Stewart as "daddy".

Badree, who is currently pursuing a degree in Computer Science and Music, gave credit to Stewart for believing in him to make it.

The youths spoke out when they were given the opportunity to entertain those gathered at YTC's library for the handing over ceremony of the iMac computer, donated by Baroness Patricia Scotland in association with Lifeline, which has been working with the youths, preparing them to become model citizens upon their release.

Coordinator of Lifeline, Dr Lucy Gabriel, called on the country to reach out to those who are at high risk. Gabriel said citizens can do something about the country by focusing on those who are at the highest risk as she made mention of her organisations initiative within YTC, the Student Outreach Programme (STOP).

"If you come in to YTC you will change your view not only of them but of all youths who are at high risk... we have a very frightened society who do not see anybody of a high risk environs as being a human being," Gabriel said adding that the computer would be used to change this view.

The inmates received the computer on March 9 and 15 of them have been trained by Stephen Doobal of Real Company Limited in using software programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Final Cut.

Doobal said he and his team have been training the inmates to develop skills in graphic design and other technological aspects, which they can use when upon leaving the institution.

Speaking with members of the media, Friday said the time spent learning on the computer gave him another opportunity "to do something other than crime".