Director of Youth Facility Responds to Report of 16 Runaways
As it relates to the report of 16 young men running away from the facility, Cadle says it was true, but the circumstances surrounding their leave were twisted. He says that six young men from Dangriga Town were sent to the facility by the courts. The youth, according to Cadle, had been charged with serious offenses and began to bully the other members of the facility. But instead of expelling the men from the camp Cadle says he decided to try to work with the youth. However, Cadle explained that after careful deliberation, the six young men were removed from the facility for the safety of the youth who want to make a meaningful change.
Kevin Cadle, Director, Department of Youth Services: “When the young men got up there apparently they wanted to smoke marijuana. This happened about seven o’clock the night. The officers then intercepted them, took away the marijuana from them and told them that we do not use marijuana on the facilities which is one of the protocols of them being there on the contract that they signed. The young men then got angry, decided to walk off the compound. Remember now this is at night. They probably went for about five minutes and returned. When they returned they started picking up sticks, picking up old nails and started to sharpen toothbrushes and so forth and wanted a confrontation with the BDF soldiers as well as the other young men that were there on the camp. Now keep in mind these six young men that I spoke about we did not know that they were sent there by the court from Dangriga. One of those persons was previously charged with murder, one of them had a gun offense and a couple of them were there for larceny. So we did not even know – I personally did not know they had those charges. So what happened was that the BDF soldiers had to subdue these guys and actually put them in a section by themselves. Nobody was physically abused. Not even one of them. Despite the fact that they even tried to fight against the BDF officers wanting back their marijuana. The morning of Wednesday I went up to the facilities as I normally do once a week to visit and by the way they’re lying about the time frame of when the place opened we had opened up a week before that and nobody was complaining until this particular incident occurred. So when I went out there I recognized that there were two situations taking place one with the young men who were a problem and then secondly we had ten young men who said you know what we don’t even want to stay here really and truly we don’t even like the food and they started coming up with all these different things but they were there the week before and none of the things they had mentioned was that they had feared the six young men that were there who were tying to bully everybody else since they got there not even twelve hours after they actually got there. And so I called the officers together and my staff together for a meeting and while having the meeting those ten young men who had gave me an ultimatum either I remove the six from the institution or they would leave decided to leave.”
Cadle says while the goal is to work with at risk youth, at this point in time, the facility is not catering to youth who have been criminally charged. However, he says the goal is to change the dynamics of the country’s crime situation.
Kevin Cadle, Director, Department of Youth Services: “We want to change the mindset of our younger generation and develop our young people positively. The way they’re going currently not in school, not doing the right things we need to set the record straight and as the Department of Youth Services we’re mandated to do so and as the director I’m going to get that done. I’m serious about that along with LIU and my other counterparts from the multisectoral approach we’re going to get it done no matter what they say we’re going to work towards rebuilding our country and get rid of the ills that are happening in our country. So when we finished the meeting, going back to the meeting we came to a conclusion, a resolution, that no matter what no marijuana is going to be there and we’re going to upscale what we’re doing and we’re going to make some changes. One of those changes was the same waterway, the catchment, that we were going to re-fix the catchment as a result of the fact that the water in a sense was just actually unstilled and so I have someone working on that currently. And then we also ordered for a water filter to be up there and I ordered two more vats to store the water for them to wash with and for them to bathe with. And I’m going to reiterate at no point was that water used for food consumption, it is a lie it’s a blatant lie. So coming back down from Mountain Pine Ridge I met three of the ten young men and I took them home and we had a very good conversation. I spoke to the mothers and I told them to come meet me on Monday for us to have a meeting and as I speak currently there is a big meeting in San Ignacio where this particular issue is coming from where the young men’s mothers started to complain and so my staff Deputy Indira Logue along with Deputy Walton Garbutt and a team is meeting currently with those parents to resolve some of the issues. As a matter of fact four out of the ten young men have said “you know what we’re going back we’re sorry we’re not going to lose our challenge. We recognize that we’re at fault too.” and so they’re going back to the facilities today and I expect them to have been there by now as well.”