Hostel Girls tear open their roof Print E-mail
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Friday, 05 October 2018 00:00

Minister of Human Development, Hon. Anthony ‘Boots’ Martinez explained that his ministry has severe challenges in dealing with wards at the Youth Hostel located at mile 21 on the George Price Highway. Hon. Martinez explained that over the years the institution has been facing challenges in particular with dealing with the female wards where they are ill equipped to deal with them. He explained that there have been instances where some female members of the institution have become so violent that they have dislocated a person’s arm; they have assaulted orderlies at the institution, hitting them with pieces of boards and they have destroyed equipment at the institution including television sets and other equipment which are provided for them.

The critical nature of dealing with the wards once again flared up on Tuesday October 2nd when police officers and BDF personnel had to be called in to placate a situation where 10 of the young girls at the institution ended up on top of the roof.

Based on our information the girls went into the ceiling of the building as a form of protest to poor treatment, food that they were not satisfied with among other complaints. The police were called in and some form of smoke device was used for them to come out. Instead of coming out the way the went in, they pushed the zinc roof off and ended up on top of the building.

They were talked down at around 11 on that same day and dialogued with authorities to improve their conditions.

A release from the Ministry of Human Development states as follows “

At around 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, October 2, 2018, ten (10) female residents gained access to the roof from inside the female dormitory by breaking portions of the sheetrock ceiling and forcefully prying loose sheets of zinc. Upon discovering the breach of the building, the staff, with assistance from the BDF volunteers on site and the Police, worked together and safely removed the residents from the roof. The incident was sparked when alternative protocols were put in place to provide educational classes within the dormitory building, instead of the usual classrooms. A few staff members had called in sick and so relief staff were being brought in to provide proper supervision. As such, the residents could not be escorted around the compound as per the normal schedule of activities until the relief staff arrived on the compound. Some of the residents, however, reacted negatively to the change in operations.

Behavioural issues are common among the high-risk female population residing at the Youth Hostel, as many of these adolescents are affected by unresolved trauma. From time to time this, unfortunately, manifests in aggressive and destructive behaviours. The staff along with the counsellors and social workers at the facility continue to work with the residents to help them to develop alternative strategies to manage their emotions and behaviours.

The Youth Hostel strives to provide rehabilitation and development services for adolescents in conflict with the law and those with serious behavioural, and in some cases, mental health issues, to enhance their knowledge and skills and empower them to become productive members of the community.”

Minister Martinez notes that over the years, the female population has been the one where most of the troubles have originated with. He explained that while the institution may be ill-equipped to deal with most of their problems, they continue to do their best to address the conditions and was explicit stating that orderlies are never allowed to mistreat the wards.