To deal with the issue of socially displaced persons (SDPs) Government has identified a parcel of land in Port of Spain to build a permanent assessment centre and shelter, and in the interim establish an assessment centre on Independence Square in the city.
This is according to Minister of Social Development and Family Services Sherry-Ann Crichlow-Cockburn who said in her presentation during the budget debate that suitable buildings for regional assessment centres for SDPs will be identified. She said the Socially Displaced Act of 2000 which was passed in the Parliament and was not proclaimed is being looked at to have it proclaimed.
The ministry has identified a parcel of land at Piccadilly Street and South Quay to construct an assessment centre and shelter. “That is going to take us two to three years. In the short term we have identified a building on Independence Square. We are to determine whether it is structurally sound and whether it could be retrofitted and be used as an assessment centre in the short term.”
The regional assessment centres would be the responsibility of regional corporations.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services will be transferring the New Horizons rehabilitation centre in Piparo to the Ministry of Health so it will be better used to treat with those who have mental health issues, Crichlow-Cockburn said.
She said these measures came out of a working committee’s report and recommendations that Cabinet has accepted and has agreed to its implementation. The working committee included representatives of the ministries of health, national security, rural development and local government, and social development and family affairs. Also included was the Downtown Owners and Merchants Association.
“In 2018, we will commence the implementation of the recommendations,” she said.