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  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, says the Government has taken steps to ensure that the tragedy at the Armadale Correctional Institution for Girls in 2009, when five wards of the State perished in a fire, is never repeated, and the welfare of juveniles in State institutions are significantly improved.
  • The Prime Minister was delivering the keynote address at the official launch of the Armadale Skills Training Centre in Alexandria, St. Ann, on December 10.
  • The centre, which once housed the juvenile facility, was renovated through a HEART Trust/NTA Special Projects and Community Training Intervention project, in partnership with the Jamaica Bauxite Institute, the Noranda Jamaica Bauxite Partners. Support was also provided by the Ministries of National Security, Education and Youth and Culture.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, says the Government has taken steps to ensure that the tragedy at the Armadale Correctional Institution for Girls in 2009, when five wards of the State perished in a fire, is never repeated, and the welfare of juveniles in State institutions are significantly improved.

“From the ashes of Armadale (in St. Ann), we have addressed the issues of infrastructure designs in juvenile facilities. The Government has put in place improved health provisions, intervention programmes, better staffing and emergency management and response systems,” Mrs. Simpson Miller informed.

The Prime Minister was delivering the keynote address at the official launch of the Armadale Skills Training Centre in Alexandria, St. Ann, on December 10.

The centre, which once housed the juvenile facility, was renovated through a HEART Trust/NTA Special Projects and Community Training Intervention project, in partnership with the Jamaica Bauxite Institute, the Noranda Jamaica Bauxite Partners. Support was also provided by the Ministries of National Security, Education and Youth and Culture.

Police reports were that on the evening of Friday, May 22, 2009, they were summoned to quell a disturbance involving some of the girls at the institution. During mediation, the police discovered that a section of the building, which housed 23 girls, was on fire, which quickly engulfed the entire building trapping the girls inside.

Mrs. Simpson Miller said that in response to recommendations from the Commission of Enquiry into the fire, “we have (also) employed specialist teachers for a number of academic subject areas in our juvenile institutions (and) we have gone the extra mile to recruit additional teachers under JEEP.”

The event   also doubled as a certification ceremony for 24 trainees who attained their HEART Trust /NTA National Vocational Qualification of Jamaica (NVQ-J) in the disciplines of : Electrical Installation, General Construction – levels 1 and 2, and Plumbing, through voluntary work done at the site during the renovation exercise.

The Prime Minister commended all the partners who came together to make the Armadale Skills Training Centre a reality.

Meanwhile, Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, described the  occasion as ‘Resurrection Day’.

“From the ashes of the former Armadale Correctional Institution for Girls rises the Armadale Skills Training Centre as a beacon of hope for a better quality life through education and training for many people in the surrounding communities,” he added.

Rev. Thwaites urged members of Alexandria and surrounding communities to take advantage of the courses that are being offered at the centre.

“These opportunities for education and training are not colour-coded. The agencies of the Ministry of Education don’t ask applicants which political party they have joined or don’t join.    The Armadale Skills Training Centre is for all who want to better themselves through education and training,” the Minister said.