Categorized | National News

“Breaking Point” for Correctional Officers”

A myriad of problems pouring out of the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services has brought dozens of members of the Correctional Officers Association to what they describe as “their breaking point.”

President of the Correctional Officers Association Sergeant Gregory Archer on Wednesday spoke to The Bahama Journal about a number of frustrating issues that his association has to deal with on a daily basis.

The first issue, according to Sgt. Archer, is blatant disrespect and disinterest from Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage, who made a promise nearly a year ago that Sgt. Archer said the minister simply could not keep.

“During Prison Week in November 2014, Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage promised us that we would have received promotions that following week,” Sgt. Archer said.

“Since then, there have been no promotions. The Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) and Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) have both had promotions since then, but not us. How is this fair if we do the same work as them?

“We were desperately trying to get an appointment with the minister since then, but were only able to meet with him nine months ago for a very short period of time. He promised another meeting, but has been giving us the run around every month. That is pure disrespect to us and we cannot tolerate it.”
Sgt. Archer said the officers haven’t received promotions since 2003; however, that is not the only issue that the officers are forced to cope with.

“We have been dealing with health concerns too,” he added.

“There are rodents and rats all over the vicinity. How can we work in these conditions? The prison is also packed to capacity. Back in 1952, this prison was built for only 300 people, but it is jam-packed with 1,500 inmates. We need money to make more improvements within the prison. I don’t even think we should’ve transitioned from a penitentiary to a correctional facility to begin with. We are supposed to assist the inmates to make them better individuals for life after prison but that task is difficult, we do not have the funds.”

As said by Secretary General of the association Anthony Butler, the issues are taking a toll on the workers who describe themselves as “patriots of our country.”

“It definitely hurts us,” Mr. Butler said.

“Workers are discouraged. They’ve been working hard for those promotions that never came. Are we worth less than the police and defence force officers? We deserve to be taken care of too, especially with the amount of hours we put into our careers.”

The officers are calling for the minister of national security to step up to the plate and deliver his promises.

The Bahama Journal made numerous attempts to contact the minister regarding the above mentioned accusations, but up until news time, the attempts were unsuccessful.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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