The Government has earmarked some $185 million for the renovation of remand facilities and police stations to house juveniles.This is among several measures recently approved by Cabinet, following a submission from the joint Inter-Ministerial Working Group set up to review and improve the welfare of children in state care.Of the amount, approximately $110 million has been set aside to undertake works at the South Camp Road Rehabilitation Centre in Kingston to facilitate an exclusive remand area for girls.Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter Bunting, who outlined details of the undertaking at a press conference on Monday, May 27, at Jamaica House, informed that work is expected to commence shortly and is slated for completion by the end of September.He noted that the renovation of the centre will entail, among other things, the provision of classroom space to accommodate various types of remedial training, and art and drama programmes.Meanwhile, Youth and Culture Minister, Hon. Lisa Hanna, announced that $75 million is to be spent to commence work on the first five of 14 police stations across 12 parishes.The stations are located at Barrett Town, St. James; Moneague, St. Ann; Bridgeport, St. Catherine; Nain, St. Elizabeth; and Four Paths, Clarendon.The project will be carried out by the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing through the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP) Secretariat. The allocation will also be used to upgrade facilities at the Rio Cobre Correctional Centre for Boys in St. Catherine.Work on the remaining nine police stations will commence at a later date. These are located at Frome, Westmoreland; Stewart Town, Trelawny; King’s Vale, Hanover; Castleton, St. Mary; Manchioneal, Portland; Porus, Manchester; Central Village, St. Catherine; and Admiral Town, Kingston; and in St. Thomas, at either the Trinityville or Cedar Valley police station.The Inter-Ministerial Working Group has also recommended the provision of additional staff for the Office of the Children’s Advocate (OCA), to enable the regular inspection and monitoring of juveniles in correctional centres.Additionally, a pool of specialists, including psychiatrists and psychologists will be put in to place to deal with children, who have serious psycho-social and psychological issues. They will work with the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), Child Development Agency (CDA), and the OCA.Parents of children, who are detained, will also be required to participate in a structured development programme, which will provide support for them as well as their parents.Additionally, it is mandated that a standard assessment and care plan must be completed for all children entering the juvenile justice system. This plan must include risk assessment, detoxification, medical screening, referral to specialists, psychiatric/psychological assessment and counselling, education needs, and scheduling of case management.It is also suggested that the OCA and the CDA be immediately notified, once a child is remanded at a police station, so that he/she is not held there for more than 48 hours. A liaison officer from the CDA is to be appointed at each station for this purpose.The joint group Inter-Ministerial Working Group, which Minister Hanna convened last September, comprises representatives from several Ministries and agencies, including the Ministries of Youth and Culture; Justice; National Security and Education.Contact: Athaliah Reynolds-Baker
Seven stories in the news for Wednesday, June 28———FEDS CONFIDENT OF SOFTWOOD VICTORYNew U.S. anti-dumping duties on Canadian softwood announced this week were lower than expected and that has Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr hoping Washington is finally accepting that Canada isn’t subsidizing the industry. The U.S. boosted the import duties on Canadian softwood in the belief the industry is selling wood in the U.S. at rates lower than in Canada. Canada says there are no subsidies at all.———TRUDEAU: LIBERALS INHERITED $18B DEFICITPrime Minister Justin Trudeau says his Liberal government has been keeping its promise to be fiscally responsible and blames the previous Conservative administration for being at least partly responsible for higher-than-expected deficits. He says the Liberals have remained consistent with their election promise to add about $10 billion in new spending for 2016-17, their first full year in office. But Trudeau argues that the Liberals had to deal with a baseline deficit of $18 billion after coming to power.———JURY TO GET FINAL INSTRUCTIONS IN ALBERTA MURDER TRIALThe fate of an man charged with killing a father, his toddler and a senior in Alberta is expected to be handed to a jury today. Derek Saretzky, 24, faces three counts of first-degree murder in the 2015 deaths of Terry Blanchette, his two-year-old daughter Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette and 69-year-old Hanne Meketech five days earlier. Saretzky has pleaded not guilty to all charges.———TOUGH ROAD AHEAD FOR SARETZKY JURY: ADVOCATEThe Alberta jury in the Derek Saretzky triple murder trial has a difficult road ahead even after they finish their deliberations, says a former juror who suffered PTSD from his time in the jury box. Mark Farrant, who spent five months at a 2014 murder trial in Toronto and was later diagnosed with PTSD, is now an advocate for the need to provide counselling for jurors hearing horrific cases. Farrant says the Saretzky jurors have been bombarded with horrific images and it takes a toll every day.———MONTREAL SUSPECT IN U.S. AIRPORT STABBING BACK IN COURTA Montreal man accused of stabbing an airport police officer in Flint, Michigan, returns to court today to learn if he’ll remain in custody. But Amor Ftouhi, 49, is unlikely to be granted bond because of the serious charges and the fact he resides outside the U.S. Ftouhi is charged with committing violence at an airport by stabbing Lt. Jeff Neville in the neck a week ago. Neville was released from a hospital Monday.———CANCER-DETECTING PROBE AIDS TUMOUR REMOVAL: STUDYCanadian researchers have developed a fibre-optic probe that can detect errant cancer cells within healthy tissue during brain tumour surgery with close to 100 per cent accuracy and sensitivity. The hand-held, pen-like instrument, known as a Raman spectroscopy probe, is able to differentiate between cancer cells and healthy cells. The research is published in the journal Cancer Research.———CHIEF’S ‘LAMENT FOR CONFEDERATION’ REMEMBEREDAs Canada celebrates its 150th birthday, Chief Dan George’s family and friends are urging Canadians to reflect on his moving and visionary speech, “A Lament for Confederation.” The acclaimed actor and former Tsleil-Waututh Nation Chief delivered the address at Canada’s centennial celebration in Vancouver on July 1st, 1967. The speech forcefully critiques Canada’s treatment of indigenous people and calls on First Nations to “seize the white man’s instruments of success” to rise again.———ALSO IN THE NEWS TODAY:— Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada will provide an update on their response to the opioid crisis.— Italian President Sergio Mattarella will meet with Prime Minister Trudeau in Ottawa before visiting Montreal.— B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong will deliver his 2016-17 fiscal update.— The team representing Canada in this year’s Invictus Games will be announced in Toronto.— Canadian singer Michael Buble will be honoured at a ceremony by Gov. Gen. David Johnston at Rideau Hall.— Ken Pagan, who tossed a beer can towards a Baltimore outfielder during a Blue Jays playoff game in 2016, will be sentenced.