A local charity, which assists former inmates from Her Majesty’s Prison at Dodds, St Philip with their reintegration into society, has been hit by bandits.
The robbery, which is under investigation by police, occurred sometime between 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday and 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday at Prison Fellowship Barbados’ Carrington Village, St Michael home.
A devastated Executive Director Thomas Watts told Barbados TODAY this afternoon that the thieves apparently gained access through the back of the building after breaking two windows and were able to make off with thousands of dollars in cash, equipment and other supplies, including two new weed whackers valued at $1,500 each, $160 in cash and new school uniforms for children of ex-prisoners who will be returning to the classrooms next week.
“It kind of set me back [the robbery] because they [the suspects] took two brand new weed whackers that were to help those inmates when they are released from prison,” the 89-year-old retired seaman said, adding that the most shocking thing about the break-in was that the bandits “had a key to my office”.
“That one kind of shook me up. How they got the key? I didn’t give them the key, but they have a key. But thank God they left the key. So I don’t know how many they got cut or whatever, but any time they come back into the building they are going to get caught,” he said, while revealing plans for stepped up security at the building which formerly housed the Carrington Primary School.
An emotional Watts decried the fact that he and his two assistants carry out their charitable work without any pay, only to have their efforts severely disrupted persons who he said could only be described as uncaring and insensitive.
“At the same time, they are not doing Thomas Watts anything, they are hurting the children and families we are catering for . . . and that is where my feelings and contentions are. . . . The children have not committed any crime and the society wants to punish the children too. The prison fellowship is not here for that. It is here to comfort the children, to help them go back to school. We want to see them get their education,” he said, while appealing for urgent help from corporate Barbados and private individuals.