The sum of $28.978 Million will be spent on the rehabilitation of the New Opportunity Corps (NOC) located at Onderneeming on the Essequibo Coast, Region Two, to ensure that the children are housed in a comfortable environment which is in keeping with minimum standards required.
Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, during his recent post-Cabinet press briefing, said that the Cabinet approved the contract which was awarded to PD Construction.
The project forms part of the Ministry of Social Protection Capital Programme.
According to the Department of Public Information, the ministry will also be implementing a Self-Sufficient Agricultural Economic Services venture, as part of the reintegration programme available for the students at the institution.
It was also outlined that steps are also being taken to evaluate the staff complement and the core competencies that are needed to bring the institution in line with the minimum standards required by such an institution.
In July 2017, the operation of the NOC was transferred from the Ministry of Education to the Ministry of Social Protection, on the grounds that the institution’s purpose is to prepare and train juveniles for reintegration into society.
The NOC caters to children between the ages of 12 to 17 and most of whom are there for committing the offence of wandering.
It has a specific mandate to rehabilitate and train adolescent offenders and wanderers so that they could be re-integrated in the society.
However, the facility has been plagued with numerous cases of detainees escaping, while some of them have also made accusations of sexual harassment against senior officials who are supposed to oversee their rehabilitation.