A bad boy dem - Chapelton residents wary of wards of the state
Residents in the community of Chapelton in North Clarendon said the wards of the St Augustine Safety Place have become a nuisance in the community because they continue to beat the facility’s security system and wander in the backyards of homeowners.
Giovanni Allen, who lives about mile from the facility, said he has seen wards in his backyard raiding his soursop tree on multiple occasions.
"Mi see dem wid mi coconut and soursop the other day," Allen said.
THE WEEKEND STAR understands that one of the children at the facility escaped in the early hours of Wednesday morning. He was found in May Pen by the police later that day.
"It nuh mek sense dem have security cause the boy dem just still jump the fence, and dem can't do anything because they are not allowed to hit them," Allen explained.
Another resident, who asked not to be named, said that people in the community are generally scared of the wards.
"Mi hear say dem hold up people. We stay far from dem cause a bad boy dem," she said.
When THE WEEKEND STAR made checks at the Chapelton Police Station, it was revealed that no reports of incidents of theft involving wards have been made in recent times.
Rosalee Gage-Grey, CEO of the Child Development Agency which is responsible for the facility, said that since the agency has made some improvements to the facility’s security system, complaints from the community has been reduced.
“We erected a perimeter fence and hire security guards, but if it is happening again we probably need to revisit some of those. But from my information most of those have been curtailed,” Gage-Grey told THE WEEKEND STAR.
The facility is used to house children who have been remanded by the police or court, but Gage-Grey said the kids are assessed when they get to the facility.
“When they come in we usually don’t know who we have until we are able to do the assessment and screening,” she said.
She said a counsellor bureau has recently been implemented at the facility to help with some of the intervention.