NOC scandal attracts US attention

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By Leroy Smith

US Ambassador to Guyana, Brent Hardt
US Ambassador to Guyana, Brent Hardt

[www.inewsguyana.com] – The negative press and publicity which the New Opportunity Corps (NOC) has been attracting over the years and more recently have not escaped the eyes of the United States Government.

While signing a Letter of Agreement with Guyana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Carolyn Rodrigues – Birkett last week, US Ambassador to Guyana, Brent Hardt spoke of plans to make the NOC a fit place for rehabilitation and correction. He also spoke to the issue of the prisons.

The Letter of Agreement signed between the two countries is valued US$ 850,000 and geared to the strengthening of the security sector and its agencies. According to Ambassador Hardt, the US is looking to providing direct support to the NOC and Prisons.

He said that part of the funding will go towards the strengthening of Guyana’s correctional services and particularly focus on the management and rehabilitation of the juvenile detainees within the system.

According to Hardt, the US is working together with the Government of Guyana and the focus will be on sharing and implementing international best practices designed to prevent gang recruiting in prisons and reduce the instances of repeat juvenile offenders.

The program will entail pointers from experts in the field of correctional management and according to the Ambassador, there was already an exchange done where persons from the correctional facilities here in Guyana visited correctional facilities in the United States.

Meanwhile Foreign Affairs Minister, Rodrigues – Birkett admitted that there have been much challenges with respect to the NOC.

She noted that the Government has to improve on the work it has been doing at the facility.

Recently, several damning revelations were made by students at the facility, to the effect that they were raped and assaulted by the caregivers there.

These allegations were denied by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport. Also, Opposition Member and Parliamentarian, Christopher Jones was denied permission to visit the institution, following the revelations.

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