Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 06, 2022 (SKNIS): The two-day stakeholder review (September 6-7) of child protection and juvenile justice legislation in St. Kitts and Nevis will greatly improve the system’s efficiency and effectiveness.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Social Development and Gender Affairs et al, the Honourable Dr. Geoffrey Hanley, said that the need for an urgent review of the system became apparent after meeting with the ministry’s leadership on August 17, 2022.

“Children, that’s our priority right now and we have a responsibility to make sure that they are protected,” the Deputy Prime Minister said, minutes after the opening of the stakeholder review on Tuesday (September 06, 2022). “We want to do everything on a fair level and there were some inconsistencies over the years. We thought that it would be important for us, especially as a new administration, to get things right.”

Dr. Hanley applauded Permanent Secretary Janelle Lewis-Tafari and her team at the Ministry of Social Development and Gender Affairs et al for organizing such a thorough stakeholder review in quick order.

The stakeholders are focusing on the functions of the Probation and Child Welfare Board in the context of their principal legislation – the Probation and Child Welfare Board Act and the complementary legislation – Child Justice and Child (Care and Adoption). The review is facilitated by Mr. Rohan Walters, Crown Counsel and Legal Advisor to the Probation and Child Welfare Board.

UNICEF is providing support for the review process. Officials from the U.N. organization are participating virtually in the sessions. Additionally, the international organization has agreed to fund a consultancy to assist with the follow-up steps.

Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Hanley thanked UNICEF for its generous support over the years and said that he looked forward to the report from the two-day stakeholder review.

The workshop is being held at the Early Childhood Development Conference Room.

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