Two former wards of the Government Industrial School (GIS) are in line to receive more than $200 000 combined in damages.
Former acting High Court Judge Westmin James, who presided over the matter, also ruled that part of Section 14 of the Reformatory and Industrial School Act was unconstitutional and should be struck from the Laws of Barbados.
The two teenage claimants, known as “AB” and “CD”, respectively, spent a period of time at the girls’ section of GIS before the latter was admitted to the Psychiatric Hospital. Both girls are currently at home.
AB was awarded $95 000 – $45 000 for compensatory damages and $50 000 for vindicatory damages – while CD has been awarded $115 000 – $65 000 for compensatory damages and a further $50 000 for vindicatory damages. This money is to paid into the Court in an interest-bearing account until both girls reach age 18.
James also ruled Section 14 (1) (b) of the Act, which deals with wandering, was “unconstitutionally vague and offends the rule of law”, as well as “discriminatory on the grounds of age and sex and violates the right to protection of the law”.
Both girls were detained on charges of wandering, and James “found wandering and not having any home or settled place of abode or proper guardianship or visible means of subsistence” was much too vague and “open to a multitude of interpretations”.
AB spent 205 days between November 20, 2020 and October 27, 2022 at the GIS, while CD’s time was 465 days from July 31, 2020 to June 20, 2022.
The case was brought against the Attorney General, the Minister of Home Affairs, principal of the GIS and Magistrate Graveney Bannister. (SAT)