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Vasquez Family calls for advances in mental health care

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On June 6, the actions of three police officers cost the life of Nestor Vasquez. Since then, the Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams has recommended the dismissal of the officers.  The officers whilst on duty had placed two mentally ill persons in the same cell including Nestor Vasquez.

On June 6, the actions of three police officers cost the life of Nestor Vasquez. Since then, the Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams has recommended the dismissal of the officers.  The officers whilst on duty had placed two mentally ill persons in the same cell including Nestor Vasquez. The fates of Sergeant Shawn Walton and Constables Edward Pitterson and Bernard Cayetano are now in the hands of the Attorney General and the Public Service Commissioner. A release from the Vasquez family urges the police to not treat this as an isolated incident but rather for the Department to incorporate mental health sensitivity training at the Police Academy. According to the release, this year alone officers have been at the centre of numerous incidents of improper behavior and excessive use of force. The Vasquez family states that the Department is duty bound to address this as a systematic problem of a culture of brutality and inhumanity within its organization. As October 10 is World Mental Health Day, the family hopes that the Government,  “does more than simply pay lip service to the need for improved mental health services in this country but rather takes decisive action.”. They hope to also see the establishment of an acute unit at the KHMH to provide short-term urgent care to persons experiencing an acute and volatile psychotic episode. Additionally, they would also like to see a forensic unit for patients to provide medium-term care to persons whose mental health condition involves prolonged episodes which may pose a threat to themselves or others.

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