The Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB) says it will be throwing its full support behind President of the Barbados Prison Officers’ Association, (BPOA) Trevor Browne, who is facing four charges of maliciously endeavoring to seduce four prison officers from their duties between May 1 and 9 this year.
Around the same time this morning that Browne was being granted bail at the District ‘C’ St Matthias Magistrates’ Court, CTUSAB president Edwin O’Neal was describing the development as “unfortunate”.
“I am prepared to say that it is unfortunate that in 2018 a trade unionist is arrested in his role as a trade unionist. We are awaiting a full and formal brief because we cannot intrude into the judicial or investigative process,” O’ Neal told Barbados TODAY. O’Neal’s view was supported by his General Secretary Denis Depeiza, who said that the umbrella body was delving into uncharted territory as it relates to Browne’s arrest.
“This particular development is unprecedented in the history of the labour movement in Barbados. So therefore something like this pretty much out of the blue and CTUSAB does not have an immediate response but what we have to do is be more concerned about our member and our member organization.
“Our job is to get a handle on what has happened and support our member leader,” said Depeiza.
Browne, who has 34 years’ experience in the prison service, was taken into custody on Thursday for allegedly encouraging other prison officers to stage a sick-out at the prison.
It is alleged that on the dates in question, Browne maliciously endeavored to seduce prison officer Shanell Ellis-Vaughn from her duty and did the same thing to Ophneal Austin, David Davis and Stephenson Trotman during
the same period.
Browne was charged under Section 27, Chapter 168 of the Prison Act which states that any person who, directly or indirectly, instigates, commands, counsels or solicits any meeting, sedition or disobedience to any lawful command of a prison officer to any other prison officer, or maliciously endeavors to seduce any prison officer from his allegiance or duty, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of one year.
“That prison at Dodds has been a hot spot and the Prison Officers’ Association as well as CTUSAB recognized the potential impact that instability could have on national security. We spoke to it and there are files where the movement has been writing to Government about the need to do something in there and do it speedily. They (Government) have not moved with the alacrity and speed that situation merited,” stressed O’Neal.