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Lisa Hanna hits back on Alpha Boys' School issue

Published:Wednesday | April 16, 2014 | 7:53 PM

Debbie-Ann Wright, News Editor - Radio

KINGSTON, Jamaica:

Youth minister, Lisa Hanna is standing by her statements on the reasons the Alpha Boys' School will no longer offer residential care following a rebuttal by the administrators of the facility.

At a press conference on April 8, Hanna said the Sisters of Mercy had decided to stop offering residential care and that they cited grave anti-social behaviour of children in the care system as their main reason for doing so.

She also said the administrators cited the sexual predatory nature of the boys on one another as a reason they could not continue to offer the service.

Hanna also said the challenge was further compounded by the high cost of care for each child, as a result of the more extensive interventions required to deal with the boys.

However, in a release to the media, the administrators of the home said the boys had been damaged by unfortunate statements made on the matter and cited financial challenges as the main reason for the closure of the home.

That rebuttal by the Sisters of Mercy has led the youth arm of the Jamaica Labour party, Generation 2000, to call for an apology from Hanna.

However, in a letter to the sisters today which was released to the media, the youth minister said their statements gave an implication of wrongdoing on her part which is unfair.

She pointed to documents provided by the home’s administrators outlining the challenges, which included the behavioural issues she highlighted at the press conference.

Hanna also said in her letter that one of the Sisters had stated firmly that no amount of money would cause them to rethink the decision to close the residential care facility at Alpha.

She said based on a position paper submitted by the Sisters of Mercy, an undertaking was given to Cabinet to develop a National Plan of Action for the sector, with funding requirements.

She says her Ministry and its relevant agencies are currently working on this plan.

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