Not on my watch!

AG refutes prison officers’ claims

Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs Adriel Brathwaite has strongly dismissed reports that officers of Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) Dodds are being victimized by superiors, leading to heightened tensions at the St Philip penal facility.

As matter of fact, the minister who has responsibility for the island’s major correctional facility, asserted that officers were overreacting and had failed to give Government enough time to adequately address their concerns.

Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs Adriel Brathwaite has denied reports that officers of HMP Dodds are being victimized by their superiors.

The Barbados Prison Officers’ Association (BPOA) through their attorney-at-law Gregory Nicholls, filed a constitutional motion in the High Court back in March, challenging the constitutionality of amendments to the 1982 prison law, which the officers say explicitly prevent them from having formal representation by a trade union or other lobbying agency.

In a press briefing last Thursday, Nicholls charged that immediately after the action was filed, a process was started that resulted in eviction of the BPOA from its office at the St Philip jail.

He also asserted that pressure on officers had also intensified following last November’s BPOA annual general meeting at which president Trevor Browne delivered a scathing attack on Government and the prison administration over their treatment of officers.

However, speaking with the media following today’s UNICEF certificate ceremony at United Nations House in Hastings, Christ Church, Brathwaite said by taking their matter to court, the officers essentially removed the longstanding issues of appointments and non-payment to temporary staff from his ministry’s domain.

“I sat with the prison officers and I said to them, ‘please send me a complete list of your concerns’ and they sent me a list of their concerns one day with a writ the following day. So I said, ‘now what foolishness is this? You don’t give us a chance to actually try to address your issues’. So I have taken the position that this is what the court is there for, if they want to take us to court then they are free to take us to court; that is their right. I don’t have a problem with it one way or the other,” Brathwaite said.

He further explained that he had been given assurances by prison administrators that neither the officer nor the association has been victimized as a result of their stance.

He added however, that while the officers “had rights, they did not have the right to disobey management of the institution”, noting that there had been challenges in this area, which had inevitably led to a firmer hand by those in charge.

Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs Adriel Brathwaite (centre), flanked by Ombudsman Valton Bend (right) and UNICEF Eastern Caribbean Representative Khin-Sandi Lwin today at United Nations House in Hastings, Christ Church.

“We cannot go back to the dark days of Glendairy and I will do all within my power as minister to ensure that does not happen. It has to be a two-way street with respect from both sides. I have said to the Superintendent [of Prisons John Nurse] to ensure that when I go out to bat for you that I am on good ground. Ensure that if there is a cry of victimization that it is untrue; ensure that you dot your I’s and cross your T’s. I am not aware of any victimization at the prison,” he said.

Acknowledging that he was aware of the officers’ concerns, which included non-payment of salaries to temporary staff and appointments, Government’s top legal advisor stressed that his ministry has endeavoured to ensure that officers were not unduly disadvantaged as a result.

This was a stark contrast to the grim picture painted by Nicholls, who warned that protests may be imminent even though prison officers are prohibited by law from taking industrial action.

“My clients have reached boiling point. They have had enough. They are at the doctor’s clinics today getting sick leave because they cannot emotionally deal with having to go work in a system where the Superintendent [of Prisons] is looming large around the prison,” Nicholls said, adding that “this [sick leave] is what they have had to do to get some relief from the pressure”.

colvillemounsey@barbadostoday.bb

27 Responses to Not on my watch!

  1. Frank Fowler
    Frank Fowler June 22, 2017 at 1:48 am

    It’s a good thing no one will have to deal with you and your kind for too much longer.

    Reply
  2. jrsmith June 22, 2017 at 4:14 am

    This is the guy who doesn’t even know his job description, he is what the barbados government is all about ( nothing )……..

    Reply
  3. Troy R Stuart
    Troy R Stuart June 22, 2017 at 4:40 am

    Not on your watch is right cause I feel you mean your wrist watch
    You are clueless to what goes on in this country

    Reply
  4. Mark Rudder
    Mark Rudder June 22, 2017 at 5:33 am

    Your comments just made the officers Case.

    Reply
  5. Ali Baba
    Ali Baba June 22, 2017 at 5:38 am

    EVERYTHING WANNA DISMISSES, OR NOT AWARE ON AN ISLAND THAT IS ONLY 166 SQ MILES….WELL WE ARE WATCHING AND PRAYING THE TIME WILL SOON BE HERE, TO EVICT ALL AH DEM ONCE & FOR ALL.

    Reply
  6. Mark Rudder
    Mark Rudder June 22, 2017 at 5:42 am

    How can you say that you are withholding appointments due to a court case. Which was brought on about constitutional Motion (right of presentation).

    Reply
  7. Buun June 22, 2017 at 5:44 am

    I wonder why you feel this way and what can be cause of so many young men committing crime today? Could this be the cause of what you now think is problem? Well route out the problem of crime in Barbados and stop creating more problems for public services to deal with.

    Reply
  8. Eddy Murray
    Eddy Murray June 22, 2017 at 5:46 am

    Another shot of rum talk

    Reply
  9. Rawle Spooner
    Rawle Spooner June 22, 2017 at 5:51 am

    Seriously do we expect this joker of an AG to admit anything is wrong,just deny stonewall and maybe it will go away.

    Reply
  10. Alwin Ellis
    Alwin Ellis June 22, 2017 at 6:04 am

    The most Clueless Attorney General there ever had in the whole West Indies

    Reply
  11. Itz Queen
    Itz Queen June 22, 2017 at 6:12 am

    This is the same exact words Chris use when Mckenny said we will march.this pic is an appropriate pic ,we need leaders that are well rounded,These prison officers was crying out for a long time.prison officials have to be working under severe stress,these officers have the island security in hands and they needs should be address promptly.look we got some real ignorant people running this island ya .

    Reply
  12. Astra Babb
    Astra Babb June 22, 2017 at 6:21 am

    I was at a party one time when I realized I lost my watch.. after about an hour of searching I saw some guy standing on it on the other side of the room. He was harassing some girl so i walked straight up to him and punched him in the nose.

    Couldn’t let him get away with it. Not on my watch.

    Reply
    • Ali Baba
      Ali Baba June 22, 2017 at 6:38 am

      HAHAHAHA AH GOOD ONE

      Reply
    • Toyab June 22, 2017 at 9:56 am

      hahahahahaahahha…nailllllllllllllllllledddddddddddd itttttttttttt

      Reply
  13. Angus Benn
    Angus Benn June 22, 2017 at 6:31 am

    ACTORS

    Reply
  14. BaJan boy June 22, 2017 at 7:16 am

    This guy is such an embarresment to Barbados that to to even see him in the paper makes you want to puke. I just pray that the people of St. Philip south treat him the same way they treated Freundel Stuart in 1999.

    Reply
  15. Mack June 22, 2017 at 7:26 am

    This Attorney General has no ability to do nothing, every problem his response is that he is looking at it. He is a NATO man. NO ACTION TALK ONLY. I don’t think he understand the importance of the job he was given.

    Reply
  16. Alex Alleyne June 22, 2017 at 7:38 am

    Every time the PM/citizens hear this AG open his mouth he do remind us of a proper-pork commercial, “WE KNOW OUR CLOWNS PERSONALLY”.

    Reply
  17. Arthur Collymore
    Arthur Collymore June 22, 2017 at 8:43 am

    Not on your watch but on mine. I’m counting down the months, the weeks, the days, the hours,, the minutes, the seconds till elections.

    Reply
    • Joy Waldron
      Joy Waldron June 22, 2017 at 9:00 am

      Hmmm boy some stupid foolish ppl might vote them back in. Don’t call government until last vote count.

      Reply
    • Arthur Collymore
      Arthur Collymore June 22, 2017 at 9:16 am

      Joy Waldron, there will always be the foolish among us. Some of the foolish in 2013 have suddenly became wise. While not counting chickens, there’s a certain knowledge in Barbados when govts are about to be changed. In the 1976, 1986, 1994, and 2008 elections, all the signs were there that the ruling party will lose, not that the opposition will win. 2018 is yet another of those years.

      Reply
    • Joy Waldron
      Joy Waldron June 22, 2017 at 9:34 am

      We will see. Nobody going go down easy even tho some need go money sweet draw backs sweeter.
      Let’s hope gifts don’t cause the wise ppl to forget.

      Reply
  18. Leroy June 22, 2017 at 8:56 am

    So problems been brewing in the prison for such a long time to the point where the BPOA sent a list immediately followed by a demand, sir your response should not be to take me to court.

    Reply
  19. Milli Watt June 22, 2017 at 9:17 am

    absolutely shameful………all of your type sat in the house under the last administration and passed that legislation knowing it to be discriminatory unconstitutional and wrong. getting rid of the likes a you will not solve this problem just won’t

    Reply
  20. Kerrie Eversley
    Kerrie Eversley June 22, 2017 at 9:23 am

    The accompanying photo though…

    Reply

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