‘You cannot grow unless you are willing to change’…

On Thursday November 27th 2014 a meeting took place at the soon to be opened ‘Miss Lalie Center’ in Venus Drive, Cay Bay. The meeting was attended by several police officers (acting chief of police mr. Carl John, CPOs Richards, Crispulo, Chandler, Carty and Henson), representatives from the Public Prosecutor’s office (Taco Stein and Karola van Nie), the director of the Point Blanche prison (mr. Rohan) and the team that soon will be working in the Miss Lalie Center. The goal of the gathering was to provide insight to the participants on how the center was built up, how the employees are going to work with their clients and do a safety inspection.
What is the Miss Lalie Center?
The Miss Lalie Center is the new and unique juvenile rehabilitation center, a closed facility, for boys between the ages of 12 and 18 who are placed there by a judge because they either committed a (serious) crime, or they cannot live in their home environment because they’re unmanageable there. At the Miss Lalie Center those boys get the chance to get their lives settled again and get themselves on the right path instead of sliding off into more criminal activities.
The plan is to open the facility in December 2014 and how things are working out now, this is certainly going to happen. Everything is running according to schedule. The building is adjusted to the latest safety principles, it has got two separated wings where 20 boys and the staff can spend their days in a safe manner. In the building is a nice living/dining room, a very professional kitchen equipped with modern materials and several spaces where the boys can follow classes and do sports activities.
The Miss Lalie Center can accommodate a maximum of 20 young boys at the Venus Drive facility. These boys will not show up all at once, they will arrive in phases. That way the team will be capable of giving their fullest attention to the new child and his parents. 4 of 4
The MLC team
The staff, which now exists of seven (local) professionals -a team leader, a behavioural specialist, pedagogical workers, safety officers, an educational staff and a cook/teacher-, that will be working with the boys in the rehabilitation center, went to the Netherlands to have a two week internship in a Dutch rehabilitation center last October. This internship took place in one of the institutions of Stichting Horizon, the Dutch foundation which the minister of justice, Dennis Richardson, signed an agreement with a few weeks ago. The newly formed team was very much inspired by the working habits of their Dutch colleagues and the results that the Dutch booked with their ‘inhabitants’. They’re real eager to get to work in the Miss Lalie Center in St.Maarten in the same enthusiastic way. They can’t wait to get started!
Together they gave a presentation about the way they want to work with the boys who will be staying in the center. They explained to the attendants that their working ways are based on the child’s rights, but also their obligations, teaching them ‘normal behaviour’ and giving them the sense that they are in charge of their own lives, they are responsible for their own choices. This whole process of course will not reach its goal if the parents or guardians of the boys won’t cooperate at the fullest of their capacity.
The presentation was followed by a tour through the Miss Lalie Center, guided by the staff members. Everyone was invited to take a critical look at the place and tell their remarks, tips and ideas that could improve the MLC.
Everybody made it clear that they were looking forward to an enhanced cooperation with the Miss Lalie Center. All the persons present were very impressed by the way the whole project was approached.