State Minister in the Ministry of National Security, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, says the Ministry will be working to expand the farm programme at the Metcalfe Street Secure Juvenile Remand Centre into one that is sustainable and profitable.
The young male wards at the Kingston-based facility are involved in the planting of produce such as banana, pak choi, sorrel and aloe vera, and poultry and fish farming to meet their consumption needs. The waste from the fish ponds supplies nutrients for the crops.
The farm is part of the rehabilitation programme at the facility, aimed at assisting in the reintegration of the wards into society by providing them with a skill to pursue productive ventures upon their release.
During a tour of the remand centre on Monday (April 16), Mr. Spencer told JIS News that he is impressed with the farm and wants to see more produce planted to sell to the public.
“We must plant enough food for them to feed themselves and to sell outside, so that’s my focus – education and farming with a difference. We’re hoping that the farm will reach a stage where we will sell extras to the general public,” he said.
During his tour of the Metcalfe Street Secure Juvenile Remand Centre, Mr. Spencer also observed boys engaged in other areas of skills training such as music and barbering.
He spoke with staff members, including correctional officers, vocational trainers, and the male wards.
Before visiting Metcalfe Street, Mr. Spencer stopped at the South Camp Juvenile Remand and Correctional Centre at South Camp Road.
He will be visiting other juvenile facilities as part of his activities as the new State Minister in the Ministry of National Security.
“I have a very special interest in the youth. Whatever they are doing is my concern. I want when they leave these facilities, they leave here better than they came in. If there’s anything for me to tweak or introduce in a different way, that’s what I will do,” Mr. Spencer told JIS News.