BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, MARCH 14TH 2013 (CUOPM) – The opening of the New Horizon Rehabilitation Centre is one of components in the government’s multi-faceted approach to social upliftment and community advancement.
Delivering the feature address at the ceremony Wednesday, St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas said the multi-faceted approach has been embraced to make the society safe.
We want this country’s children to feel secure. We want any young person who, for one reason or another, has developed bad habits and negative attitudes to know and understand that there are ways to break free of these restricting lifestyles, and that New Horizons can help in that regard. And we want young people, for whom life has become difficult, to have a fair chance to become responsible human beings, free of the fears and stresses of having no place to live. We wish to free them of the dangers that arise when there are no adults as a constant and constructive presence in their lives. And we wish to correct the fact that some of them may have no understanding of the attitudes and values that are essential to leading stable and constructive lives,” Prime Minister Douglas.
Officials attending the ceremony included Governor General His Excellency Sir Edmund Lawrence; Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Earl Asim Martin; Minister of Community and Social Development, Hon. Marcella Liburd; senior government officials and representatives of the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Prime Minister Douglas pointed out that his government has ensured that parents who are having difficulty meeting the material needs of their children have regular and dependable material support from the Ministries of Social and Community Development.
He said the health policy also ensures that the Nation’s children have access to the dental, ophthalmological, and medical care that is essential if they are to grow into healthy adults.
But Dr. Douglas admitted that there are times when even all of that is not enough.
There are times when the stresses that families face are so severe, and the traumas experienced by children so harsh, that there needs to be something more and something different: There needs to be a safe and dedicated space, an environment of concern and guidance, a place of where there are properly trained individuals with both the interest in turning the child’s life around and the training to do so,” he said.
The St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister pointed out that his Government also ensures that resources would be available to bring into existence the New Horizons Rehabilitation Center.
Dr. Douglas said that the facility is not simply a pleasant place for children to live “as they can in the dawn of the day, they can in fact constantly cast their eyes to the very green lush landscape of Harris’s and Saddlers Estate just below the majestic Mountain Range of Liamuiga.”
It is not simply a place to keep our children safe from the streets; as they relax and gaze into the Blue Caribbean Waters at the setting of the sun on a daily basis. And it most assuredly does not exist to serve as a quasi-prison,” he said.
Dr. Douglas informed that New Horizons was established in order to inculcate the values and behaviours, the attitudes and the habits, the outlooks and approaches that are key to a safe and constructive life but which, unfortunately, some young people need special help in mastering.
In addition, New Horizons was established to avoid children under the age of 18, who may have committed various infractions, from being housed in facilities in which older, much more experienced, and sometimes hardened criminals are being kept. We don’t want them to be kept there.”
He expressed thanks to the Caribbean Development Bank, which responded so many years ago to government’s request for a project that can assist St. Kitts and Nevis through the earliest ways of youth restlessness, which rose to youth crime and violence, which then eventually saw the emergence of gangs as they are and were in the Caribbean Region.
We thank the United States Government and USAID and also I should say our friendly countries that are represented by the resident Ambassadors here, who I am sure will do their part in support of the programs that will be produced here at New Horizons. What we have before us this evening is the physical infrastructure that will keep the children who will live here safe from the elements,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who is also the Parliamentary Representative for the area.