Boy, 14, has no place to go

There must be somewhere a boy of 14 can be disciplined and kept an eye on, Justice Priya Levers commented in Grand Court on Friday.

Told that the young person before her was to be sent from Eagle House in Cayman to Tranquility Bay in Jamaica, the judge asked why.

She acknowledged that one of the boy’s parents is in jail; the other lives in a country in Central America.

‘He has nowhere to go,’ she said.

Tranquility Bay has a website on which it is referred to as a specialty boarding school. In Cayman, it has been declared a youth rehabilitation school for the purposes of the Youth Justice Law.

The boy pleaded guilty last year to robbery and possession of an imitation firearm with intent to commit the robbery. He and several other young persons involved in the incident were dealt with in Grand Court because of the seriousness of the offence.

‘This young Caymanian boy who has done his time is going to be sent to Tranquillity Bay for what? To be punished again?’ Justice Levers asked.

Crown Counsel Alister Cumming said authorities had run out of options.

Reports from social workers said the boy refused to cooperate with anyone from the various agencies.

‘Why are we sending him to Tranquillity Bay?’ the judge asked. ‘What are we punishing him for this time – for being born Caymanian?’

She agreed that the boy was not what one could call a disciplined child – he had to be guided.

The judge wondered how often the boy would be allowed to come back. ‘Can someone tell me what benefit he will get from Tranquillity Bay? What this is saying is we have nowhere for him here, so send him to Jamaica.’

Mr. Cumming said there is no facility for the boy in Cayman.

The judge replied that he is a child of this nation ‘and deserves to be considered by the state as one of its children.’

She said she had to be satisfied his welfare would be best served by going to Tranquillity Bay. She asked for evidence of what happened at that facility and if any child had improved as a result of being there.

The judge then addressed the boy. ‘I’m fighting for you, but you are not fighting for yourself,’ she told him. ‘You have to cooperate with authorities.’ She encouraged him to talk to social workers or others who came to see him.

‘Do you want to go to Tranquillity Bay?’ she asked.

‘No, ma’am,’ he replied.

The judge then spoke to a social worker in court. ‘Please try again. I cannot discard him because he is not a convenience. I’m not doing that – someone will have to overrule me,’ she said.

Defence Attorney John Furniss advised that the Attorney General has to sign the order to send the boy to Tranquillity Bay.

The matter was adjourned for another month.

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