Prison officials and guests this morning celebrated the tenth anniversary of HMP Dodds, the St Philip penal institution that replaced the 162-year-old Glendairy Prison.
It was a fire caused by an inmate uprising in 2005 that led to the closure of Glendairy at Station Hill and the construction of Dodds.
However, today the focus was on the positive with a parade and awards ceremony witnessed by Acting Minister of Home Affairs Michael Lashley, Permanent Secretary Gail Francis-Vaughn, current and past prison staff, as well as representatives of voluntary organizations involved in inmate rehabilitation.
Immaculately-dressed troops put on an impressive show for guests as they displayed a high degree of precision during the parade in very windy conditions.
It was a first-time show for the armed unit of the Prison Service, bedecked in their bright red tunics and black trousers. It was also the inaugural parade for a women’s unit at the St Philip facility.
While the armed unit showed drill precision and skilful handling of arms, the show belonged to those officers who simulated a fight between two inmates on a prison bus while being transported back to base.
The ‘incident’ resulted in a prisoner and an officer being ‘injured’. An ambulance, the special emergency prison force and the canine unit arrived at the scene and teams of officers demonstrated their combat and martial arts skills bringing the situation under control with the help of a trained dog and handler. An inmate who tried to escape during the melee was ‘captured’ at the gate of the prison.
During the event some of the near 100 guests who included retired staff and prison volunteers were also rewarded for their efforts.
However, the employee who took the top award was Derick Morris copping the Prison Officer of the Year prize. The Minister’s Award went to officers Arlington Bourne and Deighton Davis, while Civilian of the Year went to Annalee Harewood. The Service Award for Humanitarian Contribution were presented to Roman Catholic priest Father Clement Paul, Angela Simpson and Sonia Trotman Payne.
Seven people were presented with Outstanding Service Awards, 13 were given the Service Commendation prize, 20 received the Service Certificate of Appreciation award, three shared in the Prison Service Team award and 24 got the Special Award.
Among the 24 given certificates of retirement were Grenville Jordan, Bertrand Belgrave, Trevor Alleyne and William Harvey. Superintendent of Prison Lt Col John Nurse delivered his report, Acting Home Affairs Minister Lashley inspected the parade and took the salute while president of the Prison Ministries Mary Bruce did the invocation.