Girls sentenced to NOC for wandering

-still at Albion Police Station

Three young girls who were sentenced to the New Opportunity Corps on November 22 for wandering have still not been sent there and are in the custody of the Albion Police Station.

They appeared before Magistrate Sherdell Isaacs at the New Amsterdam Magistrate’s Court where the sentence was handed down.

Reports are that the girls ran away from the Camal’s International Home for Children and Battered Women at Albion.

Camal Kissoon, owner of the home and president of the non-governmental organization told Stabroek News that the children were not “behaving nice.”

She said two of them ran away once before and the social workers brought them and she accepted them. One of the girls also scaled the fence recently and ran away but was also brought back.

They ran away the second time and Kissoon said she could not force them to stay.  She said the girls threatened to commit suicide if she did not let them go. The police and the Child Care and Protection Agency were subsequently called in.

She said, “I am trying to help the kids; I am not abusing or punishing them.” Kissoon said she had asked the social workers to put the children in another home if they did not want to stay at her home.

According to her, the magistrate sentenced them to the “girls’ school” to get an opportunity to learn a lot and they were supposed to have gone already.

She spoke to a senior officer and was told that the police were awaiting a probation report. Reports are that the officers are also awaiting a birth certificate for one of the girls.

She said she visited the station once because the children tried to call her about five times but when she answered they just said hello and hung up.

She still loves and cares for the girls and would send food for them daily.  She also sent across  Christmas presents that the one of the banks had sent for them.

She lamented that the girls “want to be on the street and I can’t encourage that and loose them just like that…”

The two older girls, aged 15 and 13 whose parents are dead, have been staying at the home for the past four years while the younger girl came there about two years ago.

One of them was reported to have been encouraging about nine of the other girls to run away. They attempted to leave one night but changed their minds and returned.

Meanwhile, Kissoon said she left Canada where she was “living a happy life” and came to Guyana to do volunteer work. It was then she was motivated to establish the shelter. It was opened 17 years ago to help children and battered women.

She currently has 33 children, including five boys. She does not keep the boys longer than age 14.

She was out of the country when the girls were charged and only returned last Wednesday.

During the time that she was away her daughter was in charge of the home.

This newspaper understands that the girls do chores about the police yard, and at night they would be in their own cell. They have enough clothing.

Head of the Child Care and Protection Agency Ann Greene when contacted yesterday said that she was not in a position to comment on the matter as she is unaware of it.

She said that after receiving several calls on the issue she had asked her officers to make a check, and the information should be available by tomorrow.

Greene had said some time ago that children should not be charged with wandering.

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