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Homeowners derail project for troubled kids

| 07/02/2017 | 47 Comments

(CNS): Pressure from property owners in the relatively affluent area of Coral Gables in West Bay has managed to derail the government’s plans to expand the Bonaventure Boys’ Home to house more kids at risk or in trouble as well as a secure remand unit for young people. Last weekend, the minister responsible and other officials met with all four local district MLAs and residents in the area, who have raised objections because the unit will be close to their properties. The owners objected to the expansion as well as the secure unit for children who have been sentenced or remanded by the courts.

Despite his recent comments about the critical need for the unit and the justification for expanding the existing Bonaventure site, Minister for Community Affairs, Youth and Sports Osbourne Bodden has given into pressure by the residents. He has put the project on hold and promised to take their concerns to the wider PPM caucus for consideration of other options, which includes a new policy decision or even a new location.

“I am cognisant of the urgent need for such a secure facility for children on Youth Rehabilitation Orders, and will do all I can to ensure this is built sooner than later,” Bodden said in a release Tuesday, less than four months before the General Election. “The plans already exist for the building and can easily be adapted to another site. The CAYS Foundation is of a like mind and we will ensure this badly needed facility is built by 2018.”

The expansion plans for the current Bonaventure Boys Home which have already been submitted to the Central Planning Authority, will, he confirmed, be put on hold to give the government time to revisit potential options.

When the announcement about the Bonaventure expansion was made just a few weeks ago, Bodden described the project as “critical” and the start of the project as “a great milestone for the Cayman Islands Government in its continued efforts to strengthen the continuum of care for children”.

Officials from the Children and Youth Services (CAYS) Foundation, which will run the unit, said it would have allowed them to extend their approach of positive youth reinforcement and offer high-risk youth hope and the incentive to improve and change their behaviour.

Government is currently breaching its own constitution, as children on remand for a serious charge or convicted of a crime are being held at Eagle House, which, although recently renovated to house young offenders, is within the campus of the main prison at Northward. This means that juveniles are being jailed alongside adult offenders and the facilities are not designed to accommodate teenagers and children of school age.

Local experts on troubled children have repeatedly pointed out that unless the government properly addresses the problems of at-risk youth and juveniles already in the criminal justice system in an appropriate manner, the consequences in the future will be even more adult offenders.

Michael Myles, who works with the CAYS Foundation and other youth projects has repeatedly warned that government continues to use band-aid solutions for deep-rooted societal problems that are fueling the causes of criminality among young people.

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Category: Community, Crime, Crime Prevention, Local News, Prison

Comments (47)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    How strange, the richer element don’t want a place to keep the very people in who keep robbing them ….money does not always mean intelligence.




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  2. Pope Kojak II says:

    What is needed in Cayman is a Secured Rehabilitation Unit for worthless parents. That is the ongoing problem that everyone ignores. Worthless parents rearing worthless punks.




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  3. Anonymous says:

    Chris Johnson, as you know Bonaventure has long exceeded Rotary’s original intent as a “foster” home type facility. Like everything else, time changes things. In the 1970’s when Bonaventure was conceived and created, Cayman’s social issues paled in comparison to today. The facility has done well over the years in it’s intended purpose and also in areas beyond which it was intended. However, it is not and was never intended as a high security incarceration facility, as was recently proposed by Government.

    Believe me, our society has varied needs for which the facility could serve, if it is relocated. In fact, its need as a youth therapeutic rehab facility will likely not disappear so there is no reason why it cannot continue in its present function.




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  4. Anonymous says:

    Build a place east end in the middle of nowhere, They would think twice of going there.




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  5. Anonymous says:

    As an owner and resident in Coral Gables, the main thrust of our collective objection was not NIMBY syndrome; it was simply that Government did not notify or consult with residents of Coral Gables (nor West Bay at large) in advance regarding expanding Bonaventure into an incarceration facility for “high-risk” youth. We were blindsided by a public announcement by Minister Osbourne Bodden in the Compass of January 17, before any of us had received the required planning application notification! The plan was to break ground early March, so that construction would be underway asap.

    We expressed our support for separating youth and adult prisoners but we feel that Bonaventure, based on its therapeutic purpose, is not the facility for a prison. Our additional concern was the fact that the public purse (all of us) would pay for security and operational logistics at three different sites, rather than consolidated, so as to reduce costs. Surely Fairbanks or Northward sites have ample property and would be more cost effective by co-locating resources.

    Minister Bodden accepted our concerns by indicating that perhaps Bonaventure has now outgrown its intended purpose and, as such, consideration could be given to a purpose built facility for the long-term.

    BTW, most of the residents of CG and those present at the meeting are Caymanian. Why does everything have to be critical of foreigners? You folks with divisive mentalities should try to find a desert island somewhere and go there – bigoted Caymanians and others alike!




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  6. Anonymous says:

    another story to make a mockery of ‘caymanian christianity’….
    also…another own goal for the do-nothing ppm!




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  7. Anonymous says:

    If my memory serves me right, I think a foundation was started somewhere in the area behind the Immigration Detention Center and Fairbanks Women’s Prison for the juveniles; it was stopped for some reason but I can’t remember what that was right now. I think that spot is ideal with the security in the surrounding area. Maybe Govt can revisit that plan.




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  8. Anonymous says:

    Let’s put it in Camana Bay!




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  9. Anonymous says:

    I expect a lot of “NIMBY” comments and don’t completely disagree with that, but maybe it makes sense to have a good look at relocating this facility anyway. Bringing it closer to George Town might mean that the residents are closer to school and other social services, and takes them out of West Bay which is (sorry Bayers) maybe not the best place to convert troubled young boys into law abiding citizens. Government loves to patch existing problems because it’s easier (and they are sadly adept at ignoring at risk youth) but sometimes it is better to just start again fresh and do it right from the ground up. And maybe it will provide an opportunity to do something meaningful to address the issue, which is only going to get worse otherwise.




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  10. Anonymous says:

    Once again this publication has chosen to present an issue that does not take into account the facts, and all sides to the story. This speaks of sensationalism at the expense of everything else.

    The issue is the absence of integrated infrastructural planning for these islands. Bonaventure came some years after the Coral Gables subdivision was built as a Rotary Club of Grand Cayman Foster home for boys.

    Over the years Bonaventure has mushroomed out of control, and to continue to add to that facility is now a legitimate cause for concern. The present facility has issues as it stands.

    From 2012, Government had a plan and invested $1.1M into the foundations and site preparation for a facility, which received planning approval. Why this change of site and the waste of public funds should be the questions raised?

    Well done residents for pointing out such wastage, and the Hon. Minister and the Cays Foundation are to be commended for taking the project back for wholistic consideration of the needs.




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    • Chris Johnson says:

      As a Rotarian I recall all the hard work that went into building this facility and paying for it. Since that date Rotarians have added other buildings and done repair work. May I enquire if the facility is abandoned what will become of it. Perhaps the folks at Coral Gables could buy it and add to their subdivision. Then everyone would live happily for ever.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Mr. Johnson, how would you feel if you were in the position as the residents of Coral Gables who were there before Bonaventure was created as a Foster Home and it has grown and grown? What next will it become? Bonaventure has now outgrown itself, and should be relocated, bearing in mind Government acquired it years ago.

        Since you like it so much, why not purchase it and put it next to your mansion up the road on Seven Mile Beach? That would be a great location don’t you think?

        We note however your own objections to the site being built by the Thompson’s on the GT waterfront, adjacent to your property as shown in the CPA minutes of 18th January.

        We have similar rights don’t you think, or do you believe that such rights only exists in the realm of the wealthy?




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        • anonymous says:

          What a stupid response! At least Mr Johnson shows his name. Who are you?




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          • Anonymous says:

            The response is factual. Go read the CPA Minutes.
            And exactly who are you? Obviously not a Coral Gables resident.




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            • Anonymous says:

              As I understand the Thompson fiasco, the car park was built after the appeal tribunal turned the application down. I guess one law for locals and one for the rest. May I suggest you familiarize yourself with the facts. Walk past it when the cruise ships are in town. It is contrary to the planning regulations. Check it out rather than gloss over it. Maybe you are one of the stupid people that use it.




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              • Anonymous says:

                Thank you for confirming that the Johnsons original objection has been heard.
                Now go back and reread the last sentence of 9:15am to see if you can understand it again.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Or “this is a pseudo-rationalization for why I do not want this in my back yard and I told my MLA that it being election year and all”..




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  11. SSM345 says:

    Is this the same location that Mike Adam was going to use right when they broke ground and PPM halted the project?

    If not, can someone in the PPM please explain why they decided to halt the project, move location and do absolutely nothing until 4 months before the election? Ah wait, I think I know the answer.




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  12. Anonymous says:

    It is not “pressure”, it is influence pure and simple, “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours, this is how Cayman operates.




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  13. Localish says:

    N.I.M.B.Y syndrome for at risk youth and the GT dump. How do we expect change in Cayman?




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    • Anonymous says:

      Shame on you West bayers. Where is the love and care for your children and our islands?

      What exactly are you afraid of? Houses are being built in northward and in fairbanks.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Change the approach maybe? How can you plan and not consult the neighbours, they should have seen this coming. Just politricks to say we tried. Instead a big waste of effort and resources that they did not have to pay for but got political mileage out of it.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Coral Gables is an “upscale” family enclave, and I don’t blame any million-dollar home owner in there for not wanting a prison (scene of a previous multi-victim, multi-shooter 2009 drive-by) over the far wall. Maybe Cayman needs to think for a minute and build its prisons for dangerous social offenders – prone to retribution – far away from potential collateral victims?




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      • Anonymous says:

        You don’t need to be in Coral Gables, there are drugs, guns and gangsters all over West Bay, these people don’t have an argument, they have already chosen a dangerous area to live in.




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      • Anonymous says:

        “Upscale” the houses or the residents? if it was a prison ‘they’ could just walk across when it was family/visitors day.




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    • Anonymous says:

      The Bonaventure home has been there a long time, and many old and new owners in the area were aware of it at the time of purchase. This is merely a proposal to expand the existing facility.

      It is really mean spirited of the objectors most of whom are not Caymanians , and possibly feel no allegiance to the well being of the community….perhaps the legendary father of West Bay , the Honorable MacKeeva Bush OBE JP could intercede on behalf of his people.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Look at the 2:11pm and 2:27pm post for your answers.




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      • Anonymous says:

        @2:11 pm – I am a Caymanian and feel free to call me mean-spirited. However I do not want to live next to a facility that houses juvenile delinquents/at risk youth or young criminals.

        I’m sure that you wouldn’t want them in your back yard either. If you’re honest.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Sounds like you are the bigger😆😆NIMBY. You want the GT Dump out of your backyard only to put it into the backyard of others😂😂😂




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