The Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands has approached the Northern Caribbean University (NCU) for help in rehabilitating its growing number of delinquent juveniles.
The university said is looking at building a massive counselling and restoration village in that country, to house and rehabilitate delinquent juveniles, provide shelter for abandoned and abused children and provide broadbased counselling and skills training.
The university will be taking a model of its Mandeville-based Community Counselling and Restorative Centre to that island, and will build a similar facility there.
The government has also asked the university to build a juvenile rehabilitation centre for teens charged with crimes, and a facility to house children in need of care and protection.
NCU is also expected to lead the way in advising, maintaining and providing counsellors and other skilled professionals for the multi-purpose village.
Talks regarding the project began earlier this year, when the former Minister in Charge of Social Development in that country Gilmore Williams, approached NCU officials after talks with leading Seventh-day Adventist church officials in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
A second round of meetings to discuss the project, was held at NCU last month.
Acting director in the Department of Social Develop-ment in the Turks and Caicos, Al Tilford, said his government is moving swiftly to nip the problem in the bud.
"Over the last six months, we have seen over 20 youngsters appearing before the courts for various criminal offences ...this is an increasing number and it is our view as a government that juveniles should be given an opportunity for rehabilitation, and in the absence of these facilities, we're here in discussions with NCU."
He said a number of teens are currently in prison in the Grand Turks awaiting sentencing, while others are waiting to appear before the courts.
There are several others, he said, who "because of neglect, abuse and family problems" are in need of care and protection from the state.
He said the immediate move is to build the juvenile remand facility, then move to address the other issues.
Published: Daily Gleaner, Friday, April 7, 2006