Image courtesy Children’s Authority.
RHONDOR DOWLAT-ROSTANT

The Court has given the Children’s Authority approval to release the names and photographs of the five teen boys who escaped from a Child Support Centre over the weekend and who still remain at large.

And the Children’s Authority is asking the public’s assistance in locating the five minors—Stephen Antoine, Semion Daniel, Antonio Francois, Stephan Nicholas, and Ricardo Thompson.

The five boys, who 15 and 16 years of age, are from Diego Martin, St James, Laventille, Curepe and Siparia.

Anyone with information regarding their whereabouts should contact the Children’s Authority Hotlines at 996 or 800-2014; or the Police at 999.

Police said the teenagers escaped from the north facility at some time in the wee hours between Friday 19th and Saturday 20th March 2021.

An official at the centre contacted the police on Saturday at about 11:45 am to report that the five boys were discovered missing after making routine checks.

Guardian Media understands CCTV footage viewed by investigating officers disclosed that the boys escaped the facility by passing through burglar proofed bars in a room on the western side of the building.

When contacted for comment, the Children’s Authority confirmed the escape and added that investigations are ongoing.

“The Authority is working closely with the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service to recover the boys,” the Authority confirmed.

Public Education & Communications Manager, Cheryl Moses-Williams, has advised all families and friends of the boys who absconded over the weekend, to call the Police at 999 or the Authority’s hotlines at 996 or 800-2014, if they contact them or receive information about their location.

“The Authority wishes to remind the public that it is illegal to conceal the whereabouts of a child who has absconded,” Moses-Williams said.

She pointed to Section 47 of the Children Act 2012, which states:

“Where a person—(a) knowingly assists or induces, directly or indirectly, a child to escape from the person to whose care he is committed; or (b) knowingly harbours, conceals or prevents a child who has so escaped from returning to such person, or knowingly assists in so doing, is liable on summary conviction, to a fine of three thousand dollars or to imprisonment for six months.”

Moses-Williams said that since the incident, the Authority has taken the necessary corrective action to improve security at the Centres.