Superintendent of Prisons Lt Col John Nurse is denying charges of favouritism in the selection of officers for promotion.
Some prison officers have demanded an investigation into what they said was exploitation of a new academic qualification programme at the University of the West “to promote certain persons of favour”. At least one officer who contacted Barbados TODAY also alleged that warders were sometimes “accidentally promoted for a day, two days or even a week or two months”, and that prison authorities wrote their own rules on promotion while ignoring the normal protocol.
“Recently, a Prison Officer 2 had been promoted to an acting management position over many others. The new Qualifications Order and the General Orders of Barbados are clear on the selection process. The prison seems to have its own process contrary to what the Laws of Barbados have prescribed,” the prison officer complained.
However, Nurse has dismissed the claims as nothing but lies, telling Barbados TODAY on the periphery of yesterday’s Barbados Prison Service 10th anniversary parade and awards ceremony at the Dodds, St Philip penal facility, that all promotions were done by the book.
“There is no picking for promotion. When promotion time comes around, the posts are circularized or advertised, you apply . . . there are requirements, there is an interview process that is handled by the Personnel Administration Division, not the Prison Service. If you are successful, you are successful; if you are not, you are not. Fake news is not real news. People need to speak the truth. The prison service is not doing anything strange,” the prison boss contended, going on to insist that the penal institution operated within the rules.
Nurse said the requirements for
promotion were clear, explaining that it was up to individuals to pursue the necessary qualifications at the relevant learning institution.
“The Qualification Order says what is required. You seek out the educational institutions, get yourself qualified, then you present your credentials . . . nothing to do with the prison service. We don’t lay on any special course. Our internal courses are for our performance measurements and so on. If you are talking educational qualifications, you are talking about an educational institution. If you unhappy with an educational institution’s management of a particular source of education and training, then they should pick that up with that educational institution, not with the prison service,” Nurse said.
The prison boss said the prison had moved from a situation years ago where staff did not have qualifications to one where numerous employees have master’s degrees.
This, he said, was an indication that there were workers within the prison service who kept improving themselves.
“They are becoming more and more closely aligned to what we are trying to achieve. Of course you are going to have those detractors. My suggestion to them is first, identify what the organization is, what it intends to do and to identify how you can help the organization achieve its mission, its goals and its objectives instead of trying to do something else,” the prison superintendent contended.