Ministry of Social and Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs:Press Release

The Ministry of Community and Social Development, Culture and Gender Affairs wishes to advise that the three (3) female residents of the New Horizon Rehabilitation Centre are safe in police custody. Police investigations have resulted in the laying of charges on persons in communities who appear to be exploiting our children and young persons. This is a major feat as we intensify our efforts to break the silence on these sensitive issues surrounding children.

We are eternally grateful to the parents, police and community for their commitment and support to the staff of the New Horizon facility during this challenging period.

At this time, the Ministry wishes to encourage the media houses to ensure responsible journalism by validating sources and information before reporting on a matter. It has been brought to our attention that an article captioned, “NEW HORIZON REHAB CENTRE ESCAPEES IN POLICE CUSTODY” and dated Wednesday 25th, June 2014 appeared on SKNVIBES in which unfortunately incorrect information about laws pertaining to juveniles was disseminated.

For the guidance of SKNVIBES, other media houses and the general public, the Juvenile Justice Act has been repealed and replaced by the Child Justice Act which took effect in December 2013. In particular, you are invited to see Part IV, Sections 8 and 9, regarding the Establishment of Assessment Centres and Secure Residential Facilities, as well as Section 20, in relation to safety orders. We urge you to obtain a copy of this Act from the St. Kitts and Nevis Information Service office at Government Headquarters.

Further, we ask that the media and the public in general, respect the privacy and confidentiality of the families and the rights of the children as we continue to assess and improve the provision of rehabilitative services and safety of our nation’s young people.

Once again, we thank you for your continued cooperation.

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