Home News $30M approved for completion of Drop-in Centre
The National Assembly – which consisted of only Government Ministers as the Opposition is awaiting a court ruling on the validly of the passage of a no-confidence vote against the Administration – last week approved a request for an additional $30 million to facilitate the completion of the new Drop-in Centre at Sophia, Greater Georgetown. The centre was scheduled to be completed in April of this year but this deadline was not met.
Addressing the National Assembly’s Committee of Supply on the request, Social Protection Minister Amna Ally said that the supplementary funds are to be used specifically to address gaps in the centre’s fire prevention systems as well as to procure a transformer, for electricity.
Ally, in her request, further explained that proper fire prevention infrastructure needs to be in place to ensure the safety and security of the children being housed at the facility given past incidents. The Minister was at the time referring to the July 2016 fire, which destroyed the entire top flat of the centre’s Hadfield Street, Georgetown location and claimed the lives of two brothers, Antonio and Joshua George, aged two and six. The preliminary report from this incident had revealed that the centre had systematic problems and bad policy arrangements for any occurrence of a fire or similar emergency.
“In 2016 it must be noted that the original Drop-in Centre was burnt down and we have now constructed and new Drop-In and Family Centre in Sophia. The buildings are completed, however, the fire escape at this centre was not done and so we want to ensure the safety of our nation’s children hence we are ensuring that we take every possible safety measure with this new building and complex,” Ally stated.
With regards to the procurement of a transformer for the housing facility, the Minister stressed the provision of adequate electricity to the multimillion-dollar complex, while clearly adding that “in addition to that, we also wish to provide a transformer so that adequate electricity can be given at that centre”.
The Social Protection Minister recently disclosed that over $150 million has been pumped into this new facility, presently under construction at Block C Sophia, Greater Georgetown.
According to Ally, the new Drop-in Centre seeks to provide housing for vulnerable children as well as young adults, as she reiterated that the facility is much-needed to ensure that disadvantaged children in the public system are provided for and taken care of in a conducive environment.
Nevertheless, Minister Ally reassured that the multimillion-dollar facility does not seek to replace the existing homes but rather serve its rightful purpose effectively.