That’s the question David Comissiong, legal counsel for the detained Raul Garcia, wants answered in response to what he says are false indications that former drug counsellor at the Prison, Cephus Sealey had any contact with Garcia during his stint in prison, enough to make proclamations about him.
“The irony of it all is that [Sealey] NEVER once counselled Garcia, and really had little or no contact with Garcia. Yet [Sealey] purports to know whether or not Garcia is remorseful,” Comissiong said in a release.
Comissiong’s strong words followed press reports where Sealey spoke out against Garcia’s full-release here and furthermore “subscribing… his isolation from our society at large”.
The lawyer took great issue with the statements, releasing correspondence from counsellor at the prison, Father Clement Paul as well as Assistant Superintendent of the Prison Service, DeCarlo Payne as testimony to Garcia’s conduct while imprisoned.
Father Paul’s document was not dated, but stated that during the time at prison, he had several sessions with Edilberto Coronell, the name by which Garcia was originally booked at the prisons before he revealed his true identity.
“He accepted his punishment for his antecedents and responded positively to many of the correctional programmes put in place.”
The letter went on to quote: “He was among the reliable inmates in the rehabilitation group ‘Mission Rehabilitation’ that I conducted and managed”, furthermore concluding, “It is with pleasure that I can attest to his reformed condition as a rehabilitated person”.
Likewise, Payne’s letter dated January 12, 2009, stated: “Inmate Coronell’s conduct in the past nine (9) years has been of a very high standard… Inmate Coronell is a true example of a person who has recognised his wrong and uses every occasion to talk to talk to other inmates about the dangers of illegal drugs.”
Comissiong, in Garcia’s defense over Sealey’s claims, said, “Mr. Garcia’s primary counsellor at prison was Oneatha Forde, and she, like Assistant Superintendent Payne and Father Paul, speaks highly of Mr. Garcia’s complete rehabilitation during his 20-year Prison sentence, and of his frequent and heartfelt expression of remorse for his past involvement in illegal drugs.
“Other persons who featured prominently in Garcia’s rehabilitation are Ms Daphne Fenty-Jiggets, the former Coordinator of the Prison Art Programme, and Dr. Sean Pilgrim the Prison Psychologist,” Comissiong stated.
He further maintained: “A further irony is that we ask the Prison authorities to rehabilitate prisoners that we send to them (and we spend substantial tax payer dollars on prison rehabilitation programmes) and then, at the end of some 18 years of effort on their part, when they tell us that they have achieved outstanding success with a particular prisoner, we dismiss their professional opinion and pour cold water on their effort. It just does not make sense!”
Comissiong has been fighting for the full release of Garcia, who since completing his sentence was first held at Dodds Prison and now at a residential detention area at the Garrison, St. Michael, due to issues associated with his deportation. (LB)