Guy-Alleyne: Victims coming forward to report abuses, 25 years later

Newsday [Trinidad and Tobago]

May 22, 2022

By Corey Connelly

HEAD of the Special Victims Department of the TT Police Service, Snr Supt Claire Guy-Alleyne has revealed that victims identified in the 1997 Robert Sabga report into the quality of care at children’s homes throughout TT have begun coming forward.

The Sabga report is a 25-year-old document which uncovered cases of sexual, psychological and emotional abuse of children at some nine children’s homes throughout the country.

The report was produced after the outcome of an investigation by a special task force in 1997.

In a Newsday interview on Thursday, Guy-Alleyne appealed to victims to come forward to help build a case against their abusers.

She said the victims’ account of their experiences in the children’s homes were critical in addressing the child abuse highlighted in the Sabga report.

On that occasion, Guy-Alleyne said most of the offences contained in the report are indictable and as such, there is no statutory limitation preventing police from taking action, provided there is evidence.

On Saturday, Guy-Alleyne said victims are coming forward to tell of their experiences.

However, she said she was not at liberty to say how many have come forward, so far.

“The (acting) commissioner (Mc Donald Jacob) is the one that would have to answer that question but victims have been coming forward.”

Guy-Alleyne added, “I pleaded for that, so I am happy to see persons are coming forward and things will just have to remain confidential because confidentiality will be an important tenet in this investigation.”

The Prime Minister recently called on the police to find the report, examine its contents and hold those found at fault accountable.

Dr Rowley’s appeal came after public criticism for failing immediately to address allegations contained in the December 2021 Judith Jones Report on abuse in children’s homes.

The voluminous report, titled Safeguarding Children in Community Residences and Child Support Centres in TT, was laid in Parliament on April 29 by Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Ayanna Webster-Roy.

The Roman Catholic church controls 12 children’s homes and nurseries but specifically highlighted in the report were allegations of abuse at the St Jude’s and St Dominic’s children’s homes.

Archbishop Jason Gordon said the church will investigate allegations of child abuse in the Jones Report on children’s homes.

In a statement on Wednesday, Gordon said the investigative team would include independent and qualified experts in the fields of psychology, childcare/social work, law and human resource management.

Sunday Newsday reached out to Gordon on Saturday but calls to his cellphone went unanswered.