The President of the Republic, Mr. Wavel Ramkalawan accompanied by the First Lady, Mrs. Linda Ramkalawan attended the official opening ceremony of the Youth Offender Facility SPS at Amitié, Praslin. The highlight of the event was the formal unveiling of the commemorative plaque by the President and the Minister for Internal Affairs, Mr. Errol Fonseka.
This very first Youth Offender Facility will be under the responsibility of the Seychelles Prisons Service, which will manage only juveniles, those who have broken the law and find themselves convicted by a court to serve their time.
Speaking at the event, President Ramkalawan congratulated all the partner agencies and departments involved in the setup of the facility for their hard work to ensure the long-awaited opening of the Centre takes place. He urged all professionals who will be engaged in working with the youths to remain focused and ensure they receive the necessary support and guidance required. The Head of State highlighted that the opening marks an important step towards the Government’s obligation in nation-building and reinforcing the foundations of the nations, good citizenship, civic awareness, and the responsibilities in getting the youths back on track toward a better future. He reiterated his appreciation to the staff and management of the Seychelles Prisons Service for the setting up of the facility and wished them the best as they took on this new responsibility.
During his address, Minister Fonseka stressed on the important collective efforts required to ensure the facility is a success, “A village of hope, and in a collaborative approach with Education, Youth, Family Affairs, Health, Ministries and Department, other interested stakeholder, will be a formidable team to support a concept and effort for vulnerable children. Addressing their trauma, and reinforcing positive values. Having this dual track system and approach, will give opportunity for our younger citizens to get a life of countless positive possibilities and outcomes with their families.”
On his part, the Commissioner of Prisons, Mr. Raymond St Ange remarked that many factors lead the youths to commit crimes, such as trauma either inflicted on them directly or indirectly is an outcome of negative influences and other forms of abuse, lack of mature and positive parental presence in some instances, among others, “Today it is easy to dismiss someone as being anti-social and because of that disowning that person, until that is something worse happens. Vulnerable children, traumatic delinquent behavior, and a life of crime within certain demographics is as well nothing unique to Seychelles. However that we are a smaller community perhaps means that we have a chance to focus in a particular manner to better address what ails us,”
The ceremony was also attended by members of the Cabinet of Ministers, members of the Seychelles National Assembly, representatives from the Judiciary, Officers of the Attorney General’s office, Principal Secretaries, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr Francis Songoire, the Chairman of the Prison Advisory Board, Pastor Eddie Payet, and other distinguished guests.