Former Minister of the People and Social Development under the People’s Partnership Government Dr Glen Ramadharsingh, in condemning the housing of the mentally ill and socially displaced in cages at the Transformed Life Ministry (TLM) in Arouca, said yesterday that during his tenure as minister in 2013/2014 concerns were raised as to the methodologies and it was dealt with.
“There was monitoring and evaluations and at some point the ministry had to terminate them in a contractual arrangement and if anything at all the ministry did not get into any long term arrangement,” Ramadharsingh said.
He said in dealing with the plague of socially displaced people, he did in fact tour the said facility but did not see any cages, handcuffs, signs of torturing example tasers and batons.
“Any level of human degradation needs to be condemned and dealt with by the authorities in my own experience I was there in 2014 but left early in 2014 but I did the majority of the work in 2013. At that time we were engaging in stakeholders to help with the socially displaced and this was in fact an institution that we have had arrangements with. I did at that time tour the facility and alot of monitoring and evaluation was taking place especially with regards to auditing the facility as there was a new engagement in a pilot project. I dont know what would have come after I left and the partnership minister came in. This is six years after...there was a point in time where the prime minister took the portfolio and then another partnership minister and then a PNM Minister for three or four years so I am really not in sync with what is happening there now but this is a sad development and I condemn it totally and I ask for the relevant authorities to deal with it in an appropriate manner,” he said.
According to the Transformed Life Ministry’s website, it seeks to rehabilitate ex-prisoners and deportees through creating a safe and peaceful environment. The organisation provides shelter, food, clothing, counselling, and a number of skills development and training programs.
TLM offers a three-month “resting period” in which ex-prisoners are housed in one of the nine housing units.