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Department of Youth Services Relocates to the Gateway Building

The Department of Youth Services is now located at the Gateway Building in Belize City. The DYS operated for years out of a hotel on Regent Street under the previous UDP government. When the John Briceno-led government came to office, one of its goals was to reduce wastage by either decreasing or totally eliminating rent in some cases. According to the Minister of Youth, Sports and E-governance Kevin Bernard, under former Education Minister Patrick Faber, a monthly rent bill of over eight thousand dollars was being paid for the DYS to operate from Regent Street. According to Bernard, this is only one of several cases of wasteful spending he discovered after taking over the ministry.

Kevin Bernard, Minister of Youth, Sports & E Governance: The Department of Youth Services was housed at a hotel paying $8,400 a month. Investments were being done in these facilities when there was also these facilities here, government owned, that you could have brought. We took immediate steps to say you know what we’re not going to continue with this type of behavior. There were funding from I gather through the CURE program that had come for CYDP never got off the ground how was those grant funding used and utilized ? There’s no report for it. I mean my personal discussion that I had with the person that was there that person said to us you know I’m so disappointed because we only hear about it but nothing came for the program at the Ministry at the time. So there’s a lot of questions that have to be had and you rightly said and I will point out the Dangriga office. If you would go to the Dangriga facility that was there, two container facility, rat infested, pigeon feces all over the place. I asked the person how come were young people working in this facility he said well the cleaner had to come in every day early and just clean out that and it’s a daily routine. We immediately took steps to take our young people out of there and house them at the sporting facility where they are now working in a much more conducive environment. In Orange Walk Office the Department of Youth Services we were walking on a floor that if you stepped too hard you would slip right down through the ground. The ceiling is filled with rat bat feces, stink. We have now gone in there and started renovation that is what I think they should have spent money on.”