111 prison officers promoted

One hundred and eleven correctional officers were promoted to the rank of corporal during a ceremony at the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services (BDOCS), Commissioner of Corrections Charles Murphy said yesterday.

Minister of National Security Marvin Dames said there are more promotions “in queue” for BDOCS.

“We have to get their career path and we’re addressing that now,” he said.

“We’re supposed to have that rectified within the next week or so.”

Dames said yesterday’s promotions are part of the Minnis administration’s plan to bring parity to the law enforcement agencies.

He said previous governments have talked about it but “very little had been done”.

“This was a very complex, a very demanding process,” he said adding that this has been in the works since 2017.

He continued, “I am pleased to say the most critical issues have been addressed, like the suspension of salary when those officers and the principal officers would have reached the age of retirement and were applying year-to-year.

“Previously, what would have happened was that their salaries would have been suspended … and so, it meant now that they couldn’t meet their rental obligations.

“They couldn’t meet their [obligations if] they had a mortgage of if they had kids in school and just functioning on a daily basis. This was unacceptable and so we would have worked assiduously to address this issue. I’m pleased to report that, that has now become a thing of the past.”

The Correctional Officers Staff Association has raised concerns about a lack of promotions within the last year. In 2018, two principal corrections officers and 101 corrections corporals were promoted at BDOCS.

Corporal Hervie Culmer, who serves as president of the association, said yesterday’s promotion exercise was welcomed.

“Today was bittersweet for everyone … who would’ve met with the minister afterward,” he said.

“When I say bittersweet, you know we were ecstatic for those officers who did receive confirmations and promotions today. We wish that the entire exercise could’ve been completed today. But, again, you know, understanding the process, what it took to get us where we are now, we’re hoping that the remainder of those officers can get sorted out within the coming weeks.”

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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