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Fight between Youths at Mountain Pine Ridge Facility Result in Dismissal of One

May 23, 2023

Fight between Youths at Mountain Pine Ridge Facility Result in Dismissal of One

B.D.F Captain (Retired) William Swan

A fight that occurred last week between a group of six youths at the Mountain Pine Ridge Youth Facility and another of their peers led to a small uproar on Monday.   The facility is run by the Department of Youth Services and Belize Defense Force soldiers who are assigned in rotations of fourteen at a time for disciplinary interventions when they are necessary. Retired B.D.F. Captain William Swan who is in charge of the day-to-day running of the facility, told News Five that he was not on duty when he was notified of the situation. He said that some of the youths were sent to the facility by the Dangriga court and that they were separated because of behavioral problems. Swan explained what transpired.

B.D.F Captain (Retired) William Swan, Manager, Mountain Pine Ridge Youth Challenge Program

“I had an interview with them, one at a time, to find out what’s their problem and what’s their intention. Doing that interview, three of them wanted to go home because I believe they have some urge for like smoking and cigarette and so. So, you know, it’s a voluntary program, so when they asked me to go home just fi nuh cause no problems with the rest – some ah dem over eighteen – I tell him, okay, will allow you to go home. The fourth one that wanted to stay, I also sent him home, you know, so that nothing escalate, and I told him, you are also one of the guys that give a lot of problem.  So what I’ll do with you, since you want to stay, I will still send you home, to have a little damage control and I will send you home, But if you promise and you really want to see that this program go home and reflect, and if you really want to come back, you can come back next week, which he did, he. I saw him walk the road coming in back. His mother called me and his uncle called me and told me, Mr. Swan the man says he say sorry and he apologized, right. And so I had a meeting with some of the young men and I said, guys, the program designed for young men with behavioral problems and everybody deserves chance and second chance and choice. And you know, each one of them make mistakes and I give them assistance and I told them that this young man wants to come back. Do you guys agree? Everybody agree with it. And in reality, while they agree with it, some of the B.D.Fs didn’t agree with it. It’s easier to get rid of a guy that gives trouble than to work with him, and the idea of the program is to deal with the guys in that give trouble and that are in street. So my main objective is to work with these guys that have behavioral and trouble problem. I cannot send them home because they are giving trouble. Then I’m defeating the purpose of such programs.”