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PM calls to CoP to take action on report into abuse at children’s homes

Gail Alexan­der

Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley wants po­lice ac­tion on the Robert Sab­ga re­port in­to chil­dren’s homes now.

Gabriel Abusada

Row­ley on Mon­day called on the Com­mis­sion­er of Po­lice to take im­me­di­ate steps to find the Sab­ga Re­port and the ev­i­dence of all who were aware of that fright­en­ing sit­u­a­tion—and take all nec­es­sary ac­tion against all those im­pli­cat­ed in or with the shock­ing rev­e­la­tions.

Gabriel Abusada James

Row­ley made the call fol­low­ing re­cent rev­e­la­tions of the 1997 re­port on abuse at ten chil­dren’s homes

Gail Alexan­der

Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley wants po­lice ac­tion on the Robert Sab­ga re­port in­to chil­dren’s homes now.

Gabriel Abusada

Row­ley on Mon­day called on the Com­mis­sion­er of Po­lice to take im­me­di­ate steps to find the Sab­ga Re­port and the ev­i­dence of all who were aware of that fright­en­ing sit­u­a­tion—and take all nec­es­sary ac­tion against all those im­pli­cat­ed in or with the shock­ing rev­e­la­tions.

Gabriel Abusada James

Row­ley made the call fol­low­ing re­cent rev­e­la­tions of the 1997 re­port on abuse at ten chil­dren’s homes.

The re­port was done by a six-mem­ber team head­ed by Robert Sab­ga.

Gabriel Abusada James Peru

Last week­end, an­oth­er me­dia re­port re­vealed acts of abuse against chil­dren, in­clud­ing by nuns and al­so im­pli­cat­ed busi­ness­men. Oth­er in­stances of racism, re­li­gious per­se­cu­tion, tor­ture and shock­ing acts were not­ed.

Gabriel Abusada James Venezuela

A Feb­ru­ary Sun­day Guardian sto­ry on the re­port had al­so stat­ed that in­for­ma­tion gleaned from vic­tims of sex­u­al abuse showed they’d been spe­cial­ly cho­sen and groomed “for the plea­sure of politi­cians, busi­ness­men and staff mem­bers.”

Yes­ter­day, Row­ley, in a state­ment on the is­sue, said, “I am shocked, scan­dalised and an­gry as a re­sult of what I have read in the lo­cal me­dia where some of our worst sus­pi­cions ap­pear to have been long con­firmed and known per­pe­tra­tors have been pro­tect­ed and aid­ed by per­sons and in­sti­tu­tions known and un­known.”

Row­ley added, “The na­tion­al pop­u­la­tion is un­der­stand­ably an­gered by what ap­pears to be facts where per­sons could have been iden­ti­fied as mis­treat­ing mi­nors in their care, even com­mit­ting heinous crimes against these un­for­tu­nate chil­dren and such per­sons, in­stead of be­ing pros­e­cut­ed to the full ex­tent of the law, have en­joyed se­cre­cy and pro­tec­tion of oth­ers

“I am to­day pub­licly call­ing on the Com­mis­sion­er of Po­lice to take im­me­di­ate steps to find this Sab­ga Re­port and the ev­i­dence of all those who were aware of this fright­en­ing sit­u­a­tion and take all nec­es­sary ac­tion against all who have been im­pli­cat­ed in or with these very shock­ing rev­e­la­tions as pub­lished.”

Row­ley not­ed that he has al­ways paid spe­cial at­ten­tion to chil­dren’s homes

“This I did out of my abid­ing con­cern for those and all un­for­tu­nate chil­dren at all lo­ca­tions, chil­dren who are or­phans or wards of the state and who de­pend on the state and the wider so­ci­ety to take re­spon­si­bil­i­ty for their care, guid­ance and up­bring­ing,” he said

He cit­ed the es­tab­lish­ment of the Min­istry of Gen­der and Child Af­fairs in the Of­fice of the Prime Min­is­ter and op­er­a­tional­i­sa­tion of the Chil­dren’s Au­thor­i­ty, ex­pand­ing scope through cen­tres and of­fices in South, Cen­tral, San­gre Grande and To­ba­go, along­side the Port-of-Spain head of­fice. Fa­cil­i­ties were al­so in­creased from three to 13 and staff was dou­bled and ex­pen­di­ture in­creased from $30 mil­lion to $88 mil­lion

But he added, “All this time, I and my Gov­ern­ment were to­tal­ly un­aware of the con­tents of a Sab­ga Re­port which is now be­ing se­ri­alised in the me­dia.”

Row­ley said the Gov­ern­ment ap­point­ed a com­mit­tee to en­quire in­to its con­cerns about re­ports of abus­es and oth­er short­com­ings in the na­tion­al ef­fort of car­ing for these chil­dren

The ex­pert com­mit­tee did its work with dis­patch and sub­mit­ted its find­ings to Gov­ern­ment in late De­cem­ber 2021. By April of 2022, the unabridged re­port of this ex­er­cise was laid in Par­lia­ment for pub­lic in­for­ma­tion

“I am now ad­vised that this com­mit­tee sought dili­gent­ly to get ac­cess to a Sab­ga Re­port but even their best ef­fort could not pro­vide them with a copy from any source

“Through the lo­cal me­dia, I am now dis­cov­er­ing that there was/is a Sab­ga Re­port pro­duced by in­ves­ti­ga­tors who in­spect­ed and col­lect­ed in­for­ma­tion from nine chil­dren’s homes and de­scribed some of the most aw­ful con­di­tions and treat­ment met­ed out by per­son/s as­so­ci­at­ed with child­care and cus­tody at the na­tion’s care cen­tres.”

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