$75 Million Allocated To Retrofit Police Lock-Ups For Children: So What Happened?

This week is 25 years – a quarter of a century – since Agana Barrett and two others suffocated to death at Constant Spring lockup in Kingston. The police officers in charge, reportedly playing dominoes, never heard their cries for help. This story was burned into my mind at the time. Radio talk show host Wilmot Perkins (who often used to play Bob Marley’s “Stand Up For Your Rights” at the beginning of his program) never let us forget Agana Barrett’s name. Now the issue is back on the front burner. Why are our lockups still in an appalling state (as our Minister of Justice conceded on radio this week)? Note: These are not people who have been convicted of any crime. These are people who are awaiting trial – and it can be a long wait, too. Here’s an update…

Right Steps & Poui Trees

Parliament - gordon-house-2In 2013, the Jamaican Parliament was told that $75 million was to be spent retrofitting five police lock-ups with “child friendly” areas for the detention of children. In 2017, a Parliamentary Committee has now been told that the retrofitting of four lock-ups was completed in 2015 and that the areas were handed over to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF). The Committee was also told, however, that the retrofitting was so poorly done that the “child friendly” lock-ups have never been used and that it will take an additional $32 million for recommended repairs to be done, $17 million of which has already been allocated in the 2017 – 18 budget.

At its last two meetings, Parliament’s Internal and External Affairs Committee has discussed this much-touted government programme for retrofitting police lock-ups with “child friendly” areas. The information shared in those meetings raises serious questions about the implementation of the programme…

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6 thoughts on “$75 Million Allocated To Retrofit Police Lock-Ups For Children: So What Happened?

  1. The amount of money governments waste in fixing things is appalling. I’m not sure if you have heard of the Phoenix pay system for our government employees, leaving some unpaid, others overpaid, etc. It has been a complete fiasco, and there is a chance the same company that installed the system, may be rehired to fix it!


    1. Good Lord. I only expect these things to happen in countries like ours – not in the “First World”! But then, I guess this combination of incompetence and corruption is a common blend round the world.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I could not agree with you more. It is shameful, and shows a depressing (and distressing) lack of interest in the rights of our children. Like casting them on the scrap heap!


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