A magistrate presiding over a child abuse case has asked whether an abused boy would be secure at Liberty Lodge Boys Training Centre, where the state has housed him.
“That child is going to be secure at the facility that you have up there?” Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett asked a social worker at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
“As best as we can provide security,” the social worker said.
The magistrate responded “Uh?” and the social worker responded, “Yes”.
Burnett then told the social worker that he had his “ears to the ground.
“I want to make sure that that environment is a secure one,” he said.
The magistrate further said that if he is going to order that the child remain in state custody there, he had to be sure, in his mind, that that is the best order to make.
Speaking during the Budget Debate in early February, Member of Parliament for West Kingstown, Daniel Cummings, expressed concern about supervision of the residents at Liberty Lodge Boys Training Centre.
“… there are about five or six children up there. And now, 19 or so persons are there to look after them. But that isn’t bad in itself. Do you know what? All of the boys go to school. So during that time, there’s nothing for those staff to do.
But on weekends and after hours, when it’s when the students need attention, there is no staff in the place except one person,” Cummings said.
Also in early February, a 26-year-old mother told iWitness News that her 11-year-old son was raped by a 16-year-old male resident of a state-run home for at-risk children.
The incident is alleged to have occurred in February 2019, but no charges have been brought in the matter.
The mother, however, is in court on child neglect charges stemming from an unrelated incident which had resulted in the state removing the same son from her custody and sending him to the home where he was later reportedly violated.