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Ready to act

With an injection of US $1.45 million from the United States government, authorities restated their commitment to the training and development of members of the Barbados Prison Service especially in the area of emergency response.

Assistant Superintendent of Prisons, Cedrick Moore, stated that government had “thrown its full support” behind the training as it would not only prove beneficial to our local prison officers but for regional prison officers as well.

He was addressing the opening of a 10-day emergency response training workshop today at Dodds Prison, St. Philip which will see prison officers from Barbados, St. Kitts, St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Grenada participating in a training exercise.

Pointing out that the training was based on discussions between the US, regional governments and their respective National Security Ministries, the Assistant Superintendent noted that it was under the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative that Barbados commenced talks in June 2011 with visiting security experts from the US.

“The CBSI is known to us in the region as the latest pillar of a US security strategy geared towards safety in our hemisphere. CBSI brings all members of the Caribbean Community and the Dominican Republic together to join forces with the United States as a partner to maintain regional security,” he said, while maintaining that the three core objectives to combat threats facing the Caribbean were to substantially reduce illicit trafficking, increase public safety and security and promote social justice.

Admitting that we in Barbados would benefit directly from several of the programmes and initiatives of the training exercise, he said: “These benefits will complement our efforts to seamlessly remove an unjust concept held by many of our citizens locally, regionally and internationally…

“The average citizen, in most countries, does not see the Prison/correctional Services as an eminent service in their justice system, but it is a very critical one within the Barbadian society.”

The prison official also contended that it was his hope that at the end of the training, participants would become a cadre of specially equipped trainers for Emergency Response Prison Officers throughout this hemisphere.

“As professionals, you will be called upon to balance the skills and defensive techniques you have learnt during the next 10-days. At one end of the scale, to be detectives of contraband; members of tactical response teams who respond to incidents and other emergencies, and to assist with the maintenance of security of our facilities. On the softer end, you must be counsellors, mentors and facilitators of behavioural change programmes, and promoters of service excellence,” he said.

Meanwhile, Director of the Narcotics Affairs Section at the US Embassy, Kurt van der Walde, said the US government was happy to support corrections management in the Caribbean, as it was often “ignored” yet extremely important.

He added: “The ability to respond appropriately to prison emergencies is one of the key components in the public’s mind… This CBSI programme is all about sustainability… Our key goal is that after CBSI winds down that there is a sustainable, human capacity left over.”

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