St Lucia: Pregnant sixteen-yr-old in jail prompts calls for an investigation

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Raise Your Voice Saint Lucia  Inc has called on the authorities to explain why a pregnant juvenile has been incarcerated at the Bordelais Correctional Facility (BCF) from May 6, 2016.

The Times broke the story last week, indicating that  the young female was pregnant when she entered the BCF.

pregnantThe youngster gave birth recently to a baby girl at Victoria Hospital – her second child.

Officials have said that mother and child have been removed from the general female prison population and placed in a special unit.

Raise Your Voice wants Lenard Montoute, Minister for Equity, Social Justice and Empowerment, Senator Hermangild Francis, Minister for Home Affairs, Justice and National Security, the Director of Human Services Mrs. Elizabeth Lewis and Director of the Family Court Ms. Beverly Poyotte to clarify.

The organization raised a number of questions in regard to the young mother in prison.

“Did the staff of the Children’s Transit Home demand her removal because she was disruptive? Did a Social Worker deem her parents’ home unfit? And is the Bordelaise Correctional Facility deemed more conducive to her wellbeing? If Social Workers, Counselors, Clinical Psychologists, etc cannot manage one sixteen year old, should the Government continue to retain their services? “ The organization asked in a press statement.

Raise Your Voice Saint Lucia also wanted to know whether there has been an investigation into the individual who has twice impregnated a juvenile under the age of 16, who happens to be a ward of the State.

“We are all aware that the Government of Saint Lucia is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child & the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” the organization said.

It observed that  for some time employees of the Government of Saint Lucia within various social services agencies  demand juveniles and wards deemed socially unacceptable be banned or removed from publicly funded institutions, or they will protest and walk off their jobs.

Raise Your Voice Saint Lucia noted that this occurs although their expertise is engaged to ensure that juveniles are socially rehabilitated and reintegrated into society as productive and law abiding citizens and the institutions where they work were established specifically to deal with at risk juveniles.

“This situation has contributed to the rising levels of juveniles becoming ostracised, as Social Workers, Counselors, Clinical Psychologists, Teachers and their respective Unions demand ultimate comfort within their working environment,” the organization asserted.

Raise Your Voice Saint Lucia was formed in February 2014 by a group of socially minded women who saw the need to raise their voices and to advocate on behalf of victims of all forms of abuse and violence whether physical, psychological, emotional or sexual, according to the organization’s Facebook page. (St Lucia Times) 

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