Government to probe Tranquility Bay
March 26, 2008
Letter from Ministry of Education, Jamaica
Hon Anthony Eden
Minister of Health
A high level delegation from the
Cayman Islands, including representatives from the Ministry of
Health, the judiciary and the Department of Children and Family
Services, will visit Tranquility Bay in Jamaica to investigate the
suitability of the facility.
The investigation has resulted from
recent news stories in Cayman Net News in which a Caymanian girl and
an expert alleged that inhumane tactics are being used to detain and
punish children sent privately, or in the case of the Cayman
Islands, sent by government departments.
Health and Social Services Minister
Hon Anthony Eden told the post-Cabinet press briefing at the
Government Information Services (GIS) on Thursday, 20 March that
Government would investigate the matter involving the rehabilitation
“First and foremost it is our
responsibility as a Government to provide the best care for our
juvenile offenders,” he said.
The Minister said the probe would
be undertaken despite not receiving official complaints from
Caymanian youngsters detained there or their families. There is an
existing arrangement with the Department of Children Services in
Jamaica to make periodic visits to Tranquility Bay.
“This process involves speaking
privately with our resident youth, and then reporting on their
welfare to the Department of Children and Family Services (Cayman),”
Mr Eden said.
Mr Eden told the media that sending
Caymanian youth to another country is not ideal. The government has
budgeted for a purpose built facility in East End, Grand Cayman, to
house 18 young people.
In a passionate plea, Mr Eden said,
“We can only help our youth by remaining diligent and committed to
working together for their wellbeing, no matter if they are in
Cayman or Jamaica.”
The Minister also targeted parents
and urged them to take their responsibilities seriously and termed
parenting as a “God-given responsibility”. He pleaded with them to
make the necessary sacrifices for their children so that they will
yield rewards in the future.
Tranquility Bay is a privately
owned and operated youth rehabilitation centre in Jamaica, which is
about 45 minutes away from Grand Cayman by plane. Numerous
complaints have been voiced and posted on dedicated websites
alleging ill treatment, inadequacy of academic offerings,
unqualified staff and inhumane treatment of minors.
The Cayman Islands currently have
three young people at Tranquility Bay. The country is also currently
debating a new constitution and the likely inclusion of a Bill of
Rights that would include children’s rights.