The prison officer who spoke out last Friday in a story published by Barbados TODAY over a pay cut and injuries he claimed were sustained while on the job has been suspended from duty.
In a letter dated June 3, 2020 and signed by Superintendent of Prisons Lieutenant Colonel John Nurse, Adrian King was informed that his suspension takes effect today.
“Pending the outcome of an investigation into the matter as outlined in a newspaper article that appeared in the online publication of Barbados TODAY dated May 29, 2020, I hereby suspend you from the performance of your duties from June 4, 2020,” stated the letter, a copy of which was obtained by Barbados TODAY.
The correspondence told King that his suspension was in accordance with paragraph 4 (2) of the Code of Discipline set out in the Third Schedule of the Public Service Act Cap 29 for breaching section 143 (1) and (2) of the Prison Rules Subsidiary Legislation Cap 168.
Barbados TODAY was reliably informed that the letter was handed to the prison officer today by his boss Nurse on the warder’s return to work from sick leave.
It states in part: “A prison officer shall not directly or indirectly make any unauthorized communication to the representative of the Press or other persons in reference to matters which have become known to him in the course of his duty.
“A prison officer shall not, without authority from the Minister, publish any matters or make any public pronouncements relating to the administration or the inmates of any prison,” added 143 (2).
The article quoted an unnamed prison officer saying that he could no longer suffer in silence, while claiming that prison authorities were being insensitive to the lingering effects of three major injuries he sustained on the job.
He also alleged that the final straw came to light just days before he went public when he went to the bank to check on his May salary and realized it had been cut in half while he remained on sick leave. This was done without warning, he said.
The prison officer admitted to being on and off sick leave regularly ever since he first sustained a serious injury to his shoulder while trying to subdue an inmate in 2004; fell into a hole on patrol in St Lucy in 2007 and hurt his back while lifting crates on a truck on the prison farm in 2015.
He charged that the prison administration has not shown any empathy regarding his pain and suffering but has instead accused him of malingering.
Minister of Home Affairs Edmund Hinkson told Barbados TODAY last Friday that most of the claims made by the officer had nothing to do with the prison but were the purview of the Personnel Administration Division.
Asked what his next step would be regarding his suspension, officer King would only say the matter has been referred to the Prison Officers’ Association.