After completing three months of intense training at the Police Training School at Camp Saline, forty-five junior prison officers claim that they are now ready to commence playing a role in the reform process at Her Majesty’s Prison.
The exercise culminated last Thursday with a passing out parade attended by senior ranks of the Royal Grenada Police Force and Her Majesty’s Prison, government officials, members of the diplomatic community, family and friends of the participants. Some of the skills taught at the course were displayed as part of the ceremony.
Director of Training at the Police Training School Superintendent Gregory Mathurine was among officials present.
In a brief address outlining the scope of the training undergone by the officers during the three months, Mathurine said it was rough going, but when all was said and done, the exercise was a major success.
Mathurine said the three-month course was broken down into modules, among them life skills, administration, communication, interpersonal skills and relationship, personality types, conflict management and financial management. The officers he said were drilled in technical skills, in the areas of searches, patrols, use of force, the skill of arms and internal security. The training he said also took on an aspect of self-defence, physical training and hands-on training on the work site.
The training director reminded the junior officers that although they have completed the basic training to carry on their daily duties, they should never be satisfied with just the basic. He urged them to continue to develop themselves, ask questions of their superiors if necessary and be examples to other officers.
Acting Prison Commissioner John Mitchell also addressed the gathering and commended the young officers for getting through the first phase of the process and the Grenada Government for seeing the need to take on board forty-five new officers to help in the reform process at the facility amidst tough financial times.
The acting commissioner reminded the new recruits that have completed phase one, that the eyes of inmates, fellow officers and the public would be on them. It is therefore important he told them, that they carry themselves with dignity. He warned them not to bring Her Majesty’s Prison into disrepute. Being a prison officer, Mitchell said is a noble profession and they should let no one tell them otherwise, “People would dislike you, for who you are or what you represent, please” he told them “don’t take it personally.”
Mitchell further reminded the officers that the skills acquired during the training are perishable skills and must be replenished frequently, to stay on top of your game. He warned them never to let their guards down.
Addressing the officers on behalf of the Minister of National Security and Prime Minister Dr Hon. Keith Mitchell was Senator Winston Garraway. He commended the officers for going the full length of the course. He encouraged them to strive to become better officers and not settle for just completing the training. He assured them that there would be detractors along the way as they carry on their duties but that should always stand firm and do what is right. “Stand firm on the principles as true officers of Her Majesty’s Prison.”
Garraway said the government is fully aware of the many challenges at Her Majesty’s Prison. In recent times he noted, there have been officers who act as if they are inmates and do things to bring the institution into disrepute. He, therefore, warned the new officers to hold their heads high, and help restore the integrity at the prison. “Wear the uniform with honour pride and dignity, and be proud to be servicemen and women of excellence who help to keep this nation safe.”
Other speakers were Bishop Dave King who was the motivational speaker while officer Nike Baptiste delivered the Valedictorian address.
The distribution of special awards was also part of last Thursday’s exercise and among the officers excelling on the course was Junior Officer Nike Baptiste who was awarded the Baton of Honour in addition to the award for best drills.
Junior Officer Tammica Georges was awarded for having the highest aggregate. Best pistol shooting award went to Javas Mann, best turnout and best at first-aid award went to Krystal George, the award for best turnout male went to Dwayne Modeste, the award for best female at physical training went to Shemica Roberts while best male at physical training went to Christon Courtney.