Teen girls granted presidential pardon

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Five teenage girls at the New Opportunity Corp (NOC) will be released as of Friday having been pardoned by President David Granger.

This announcement was made by Minister of Social Protection Amna Ally during a visit to the juvenile holding centre on Wednesday.

Ally, according to a statement from the Ministry, urged the young ladies, who are between the ages of 13 and 16 years old, “to keep on the right path.”

Meanwhile, another critical issue highlighted by the Minister is the need for tighter security at the correctional institution.

With the escape of four juveniles recently, Ally said there is an urgent need to heighten security at the institution. Three of the escapees have since been recaptured.

Structural improvements to the facility was another matter which was highlighted and NOC staff members requested additional staff to help alleviate the challenges which the institution presently faces.

To this end, construction and renovations are scheduled to commence before the end of the year and moves are afoot to address the issue of staffing.

The issue of programmes to reintegrate juveniles back into society was also raised. The Minister was informed that some of the courses the young adults include d information technology, agriculture, welding and fabrication, catering, sewing, electrical, joinery, and steel pan.

The NOC recently partnered with the State Asset Recovery Agency (SARA) to train some of the youths from the institution in information technology. Additionally, the youths from the institution will be displaying their work at a booth during the Guyana Festivities being held on September 29th, 2017.

Ann Greene, the Director of Childcare and Protection Agency, who was also present at the meeting, indicated the need for the young people to have foundational learning in literacy and calculations. The Regional Executive Officer, Rupert Hopkinson, was given the task of sourcing two teachers in the interim to carry on the foundational learning programs; a building to conduct these classes was also identified.

The NOC is on its way to fully become a self-sufficient institution as it maintains not only different livestock such as cows, sheep, goats, chicken and swine but farm lands with crops such as callaloo, ochra, cabbage and bora; which not only helps with the catering classes but with the feeding of those in the care of the institution.

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