More than four dozen Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) inmates graduated from an in-house training certificate programme Thursday.
In recent years HMP has been touted as a rehabilitative institution as opposed to a correctional facility.
In this vein, HMP introduced a training institute to provide inmates with the opportunity to enroll in various training and educational programmes, some of which were Bahamas Junior Certificate (BJC) courses.
Graduates were honoured yesterday during a special certificate giving ceremony.
Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage said he was proud of the inmates’ accomplishments.
“I am so happy to be here today to see all of you successfully receiving your certificates in these various disciplines. So many people never graduate from anything, but you all have proven that you can do things which many have failed to achieve,” he said.
“You have taken inmate education to another level and I hope that we are soon able to take the experience to another level for you all as well. The next step is to try and have these certificates recognised and credited by institutions like the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute.”
Dr. Nottage said he intends to make the prison experience more productive so that prisoners emerge self-reliant.
The minister is hoping the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC) can introduce special programmes, including a farming project.
“I understand that the superintendent has been in talks with BAIC about the establishment of a farming programme here. I am proud of these efforts and I offer to assist however I can,” he said.
“There are other programmes offered by BAIC that can also help to enhance the prison’s educational and training initiatives. These additional programmes include shell jewelry manufacturing, straw craft production and handicraft skills.”
One student who successfully completed his programme congratulated his fellow inmates.
“I can do better is easy to say, but if you want to do better, then start today. Put down crime and drugs right away or we’ll be doing the same things as we did yesterday. While trying to do better we must keep strong, be encouraged and have faith that we all will be better, just you wait,” the inmate said.
The prison graduates completed studies in BJC language, basic mathematics, BJC mathematics, Auto Skills 1 and 2, food and beverage services, drug awareness, basic welding, tailoring, food preparation, agriculture, computer basics, auto body repair, entrepreneurial skills, electrical workshop, Microsoft windows and word, inmate enterprises, construction, concrete products, building and repair and welding workshops.