The Ministry of Social Protection has installed the first Management Committee at the Hugo Chavez Centre for Rehabilitation and Reintegration with the aim of fully utilising the Centre.
On May 1st this year, Stabroek News reported that the multimillion-dollar complex which was built to house almost 200 persons, remains grossly underused while the homeless continue to roam the streets. Only about 25 persons are reported to be resident at the centre, located at Onverwagt, West Coast Berbice.
In a press release yesterday, the ministry said that Joyleen Crawford is the Chairperson of the committee while the members include Thakoor Persaud, Rev. Marshall Paul and Rion Peters. They are joined by Dr. Adrian Van Nooten of the Regional Health Authority and Dollete Nicholson of the Probation and Social Services Department of Region Five, as well as the Administrator of the Hugo Chavez Centre.
The Committee, which will report to the Director of Social Services at the Ministry is responsible for considering, determining and advising on staff-related matters and the welfare of residents of the Centre.
The release said that it will also review and approve work plans and budgetary allocations to the Centre, as well as major developmental works. Speaking to the newly-installed Manage-ment Committee, the release said that Minister of Social Protection, Volda Lawrence charged members to take their responsibility seriously, noting that the task of caring for others through the provision of social services is not an 8-4 job.
“I am a very emotional person for people under our care…if we need these people to go back into society we need to put some kind of order in their life…we must also find their family members so after rehabilitation, they can be reintegrated,” the Minister said.
The release added that Lawrence urged that each resident be treated humanely and with respect so that a difference could be made in their lives. Also at the installation ceremony was Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Protection, Lorene Baird, who called on the new Committee to be conscious of the needs of the Centre when compiling its budget.
“Submit a budget based on what you think is needed taking into account that Social Protection doesn’t stand alone. It stands with Public Security, Public Health, Education and so on. So we have to address the need for social protection in a collaborative way,” she said.