By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
COMMUNITY activist Louby Georges yesterday called on the government to disclose the location of the Detention Centre’s Special Facility for Women and Children.
Mr Georges, a former radio talk show host, said the recent allegations of inappropriate conduct by an immigration officer towards a female detainee at the holding facility were especially worrisome, given that its operations were shrouded in secrecy.
The Department of Immigration released a statement concerning the allegations on Monday, adding that an officer had been placed on administrative leave pending the completion of the police investigation.
Immigration Director William Pratt would not offer any additional details other than to say that the incident allegedly happened on Sunday during the “midnight shift”, which he said ended at 8am Monday.
“No one knows where this special holding facility is, so you don’t get to make phone calls,” said Mr Georges, who advocates for migrant rights, specifically persons of Haitian descent.
“How would a family member or anyone get in contact with someone being held there? This is some scary foolishness.”
He said: “How can you have a holding facility and keep it a secret, and for what? You have a Detention Centre, and you have a special facility for women and children. Everybody agrees with this, but what is so special that makes you not want to disclose the area where it’s at?”
He added: “You can visit and bring food to the Detention Centre, what is going on with this new place?”
Yesterday, Mr Pratt maintained that the location of the special holding facility would not be released. While he declined to give specific reasons, he explained that the facility had a high turnover rate, and was only used in cases involving children.
“Most of the people there are minor children with their mother,” he said, “and we really try to get them out as quickly as possible. We make sure that even if we don’t have a flight going, we can put them on another airline if there are seats available. So if they come in on a Saturday or a Sunday, they are on the first available flight by Tuesday.
“The facility is only open when we have children, it’s not open 24 hours, it’s only operated when we have minor children.”