Letters from the Issue of July 27, 2006

“Children are pawns used to expand bank accounts”


Roughness Galore

Those happy parents are stinkers: My comments are in response to the letters from parents about Joanne Green's article "Rough Love" (June 22). My child was at Tranquility Bay, and I have personal knowledge of the conditions. I have read the comments of parents who have lodged their children at Tranquility Bay Academy in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica. It is one of numerous children's programs that have been associated with the World Wide Association of Specialty Programs (WWASP). In late 2002 the director of Tranquility Bay, Jay Kay, personally admitted to me that an American child, weighing only about 90 pounds, was slugged in the face by a staff member, knocking the child's teeth loose. I was shocked and, later, outraged.

Jay Kay admitted on a national news program that he had used pepper spray on children, then added he hadn't needed to use it in a few months. Mr. Kay's employee, Randal Hinton, also admitted he used pepper spray on a child up to three times a day, for months, at Tranquility Bay. Mr. Hinton admitted to me that he had diapered a child with a plastic garbage bag, forcing the kid to urinate and defecate in the bag. Mr. Hinton later stated, "Restraints could be used, mechanical devices could be used, pepper spray could be used to gain control of your child. It's just a job that helps people."

If the actions of these men do not constitute criminal child abuse, what does?

I personally heard a girl screaming for more than twenty minutes at Tranquility Bay. When I nervously inquired if she was okay, the casual staff person laughed and said the girl always screamed at home too. The child had mental problems, she said. I later learned the staff routinely grinds children's joints into the ground and twists their limbs as punishment, sometimes causing dislocated joints and broken bones.

Credible reports of child abuse at Tranquility Bay have streamed in for years, and in my opinion, any parent who knowingly leaves a child in conditions of this nature, after hearing such reports, is participating in the child abuse and neglect. Both the Jamaican and American governments should be ashamed to allow this program to continue.

We need stringent federal laws to prosecute such businessmen and to regulate this booming billion-dollar industry. American children are the hot marketplace commodities of the 21st Century, yet no one in our government is paying adequate attention.

Paula Reeves
Via the Internet

I was saved: Regarding Joanne Green's "Rough Love": I think the state's child welfare department should look into taking custody from these unfit parents. You don't give your child's custodial rights to strangers from a foreign country. You no longer have rights in other countries, and parents who send children to Tranquility Bay are stupid. These kids deserve to be raised by someone who cares enough to research the possible consequences of such acts!

What basis do I have for such an opinion? I was a troubled teen. I could've gotten worse. But the state (Oregon) stepped in and found a program to help me.

There are other alternatives throughout the United States. Here there are laws to protect children and teens, especially from careless parents!

Michael McIntyre
Miami Beach


Corrections

Francisco Alvarado's article "The Ghetto Governor" (July 20) misidentified Al Maloof. He is not a lawyer. Also, a review of Oasis restaurant by Lee Klein, "Welcome Home" (July 20), incorrectly described the pie filling. It is fresh, not canned.

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