The opening ceremony of a historic two-day training conference
Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines – About two hundred social and juvenile justice sector practitioners converged on the Methodist Church Hall on Thursday morning, for the first ever two-day SVG National Juvenile Justice Training Conference, scheduled for Thursday October 31st and Friday November 1st, 2013.
Speaking at the Opening Ceremony, Minister for Youth Affairs, The Family, Gender, and Social Development Frederick Stephenson spoke of the Conference as “A Conference designed to provide a lecture series modeled after the systems approach towards child justice, restorative justice, and practices, risk assessments, and multi-dimensional approaches to rehabilitative treatment for children.”
The social sector of St. Vincent and the Grenadines did previously attempted subsets of childcare, protection, and justice initiatives in isolated service-oriented agencies, “which cannot go unnoticed.”
However, the National Juvenile Justice Training Conference marks a significant milestone as it “signifies the cementing of years of ideologies aimed at improving our child care, protection and justice sector through a comprehensive systems approach towards achieving juvenile justice reform in this country.”
The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and national stakeholders, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, UNICEF, and USAID made this achievement possible.
A number of other international agencies contributed to the capacity building of the juvenile justice sector in areas of systems mapping, and assessments in child protection and justice.
According to Permanent Secretary Jasmine Hull speaking at the Opening Ceremony of the two-day SVG National Juvenile Justice Training Conference, the Ministry of Youth Affairs, The Family, Gender, and Social Development, “has been tasked with the responsibility to plan, implement, and monitor the Juvenile Justice Reform Project, funded by USAID, and coordinated by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States.”
She informed the gathering that the aim of the two-day training conference is to launch the sectors training agenda, exchange information, initiate the reform policy agenda, and to launch the available systems approach opportunities for St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Minister Stephenson cautioned, “All these achievements will be short-lived, if we fail to instill the appropriate systems to compliment these programme interventions, hence the need to establish technical cooperation in the form of consultancies and shared practices, among member states and developed countries, with the relevant expertise to assist us, in the development of a comprehensive and cohesive systematic model, to sustain the reform process.”
He further pointed out that once the reform process is implemented, the sector would be able to enjoy improvements in victims support, youth rehabilitation, family integration, and behavior modification.