Caribbean news. MONDAY APRIL 28, 2014; KINGSTOWN, ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES – A training workshop on court-based diversion programme strategy opened this morning at the Sunset Shores Hotel in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The workshop, which is part of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Juvenile Justice Reform Project, is expected to deal with a number of issues critical to the protection of children, and the advancement of the juvenile justice reform initiatives across not just the Vincentian legal landscape, but the sub-region.

The workshop which will run over the next two days – Monday and Tuesday April 28 and 29 2014 respectively, has drawn participants from a number of various governments and agencies.

Mrs Jacqueline Sealy-Burke addressing participants on Monday morning. Photo courtesy Robertson Henry

Mrs Jacqueline Sealy-Burke addressing participants on Monday morning. Photo courtesy Robertson Henry

Speaking at the opening this morning, participants were told that the Juvenile Justice System has afforded the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the opportunity to engage key stakeholders in the possibility of legislative reform, institutional capacity strengthening, modernisation of programmes, and the strengthening of linkages with civil society organisations.

Ms Polly Oliver revealed this when she delivered an address during the opening ceremony to mark the commencement of a two-day training workshop on court-based diversion programme strategy at the Sunset Shores Hotel.

She further pointed out that one of the project’s objectives and strategies is the mordernsiation of diversion, detention and rehabilitation processes in the Juvenile Justice System, where support is given in the development of diversion and alternatives to sentencing for juveniles brought to courts for most infractions.

Mrs. Jacqueline Sealy-Burke, the consultant to develop a Court-based Diversion Programme Strategy for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, is facilitating the workshop, which ends tomorrow.

Following national consultations with key stakeholders in February this year, Mrs. Sealy-Burke has developed a court-based diversion strategy, finalized operations and training manuals, and will over the two-day period, train key stakeholders in the juvenile justice sector.

The participants were primarily targeted to attend this workshop based on the services that they provide which are essential in the successful implementation and sustainability of the diversion programme, and the reformed juvenile justice system on a whole.

“This Strategy aims to introduce diversion that involves the referral of cases away from formal criminal court procedures, and directing child offenders towards community support,” Ms Oliver added.

The Strategy will also guide the juvenile justice sector on approaches, programmes and roles per institution that is considerate of community-based interventions to foster re-integration of juveniles in communities.