Webster-Roy: Abuse victims removed from Couva children’s home

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Minister with responsibility for gender and child affairs Ayanna Webster-Roy. – File photo

Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) Ayanna Webster-Roy has said the victims of alleged sexual abuse at the Couva Children’s Home and Crisis Nursery have been removed from that facility.

She made this statement in the House of Representatives on May 24, in response to a question from Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh.

Before asking his question, Indarsingh sought guidance from Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George: “Who must I ask this question to?”

On the House’s order paper, the question identifies the Prime Minister as its respondent.

Dr Rowley did not attend the sitting owing to the death of one of his brothers in Tobago.

Annisette-George advised Indarsingh to ask his question if he still intended to.

In response, Webster-Roy said reports about alleged sexual abuse at the home first came to the attention of the Child and Gender Affairs Division of the OPM on May 13.

“On that same day, the matter was referred to the Child Protection Unit (CPU) of the TT Police Service (TTPS) and the Children’s Authority.”

Indarsingh asked if the victims had been removed from this home.

“The children involved in this matter were indeed removed by the CPU of the TTPS as well as the Children’s Authority and they are receiving the necessary psycho-social support.”

On May 20 a newspaper reported statements from the home’s manager and caregivers about the incidents.

It said there had been 25 incidents against 11 children and two of the home’s dogs since 2018, as reported by the home’s manager, who also claimed upper management blocked attempts to have the boy transferred out of the home.

In a statement on the same day, the Children’s Authority said it was working closely with the police to investigate and had provided psychological support to the minor in question and taken steps to protect the other children.