Ramadharsingh: Concerns were raised and dealt with

For­mer Min­is­ter of the Peo­ple and So­cial De­vel­op­ment un­der the Peo­ple’s Part­ner­ship Gov­ern­ment Dr Glen Ra­mad­hars­ingh, in con­demn­ing the hous­ing of the men­tal­ly ill and so­cial­ly dis­placed in cages at the Trans­formed Life Min­istry (TLM) in Arou­ca, said yes­ter­day that dur­ing his tenure as min­is­ter in 2013/2014 con­cerns were raised as to the method­olo­gies and it was dealt with.

“There was mon­i­tor­ing and eval­u­a­tions and at some point the min­istry had to ter­mi­nate them in a con­trac­tu­al arrange­ment and if any­thing at all the min­istry did not get in­to any long term arrange­ment,” Ra­mad­hars­ingh said.

He said in deal­ing with the plague of so­cial­ly dis­placed peo­ple, he did in fact tour the said fa­cil­i­ty but did not see any cages, hand­cuffs, signs of tor­tur­ing ex­am­ple tasers and ba­tons.

“Any lev­el of hu­man degra­da­tion needs to be con­demned and dealt with by the au­thor­i­ties in my own ex­pe­ri­ence I was there in 2014 but left ear­ly in 2014 but I did the ma­jor­i­ty of the work in 2013. At that time we were en­gag­ing in stake­hold­ers to help with the so­cial­ly dis­placed and this was in fact an in­sti­tu­tion that we have had arrange­ments with. I did at that time tour the fa­cil­i­ty and alot of mon­i­tor­ing and eval­u­a­tion was tak­ing place es­pe­cial­ly with re­gards to au­dit­ing the fa­cil­i­ty as there was a new en­gage­ment in a pi­lot project. I dont know what would have come af­ter I left and the part­ner­ship min­is­ter came in. This is six years af­ter...there was a point in time where the prime min­is­ter took the port­fo­lio and then an­oth­er part­ner­ship min­is­ter and then a PNM Min­is­ter for three or four years so I am re­al­ly not in sync with what is hap­pen­ing there now but this is a sad de­vel­op­ment and I con­demn it to­tal­ly and I ask for the rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties to deal with it in an ap­pro­pri­ate man­ner,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to the Trans­formed Life Min­istry’s web­site, it seeks to re­ha­bil­i­tate ex-pris­on­ers and de­por­tees through cre­at­ing a safe and peace­ful en­vi­ron­ment. The or­gan­i­sa­tion pro­vides shel­ter, food, cloth­ing, coun­selling, and a num­ber of skills de­vel­op­ment and train­ing pro­grams.

TLM of­fers a three-month “rest­ing pe­ri­od” in which ex-pris­on­ers are housed in one of the nine hous­ing units.

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Story by: RHONDOR DOWLAT-ROSTANT

Image courtesy DR GLEN RAMADHARSINGH

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