An official within the Ministry of Legal Affairs is offering much needed advice to four residents of Her Majesty’s Prison who are about to take advantage of an educational opportunity.
Inmates Kaniel Martin, Joel Kwame’ Seraphin, Colin Murraine and Kenisha Whyte were yesterday awarded scholarships to pursue studies within the lifelong Learning Unit at the UWI Five Islands Campus.
They will be pursuing studies in Entrepreneurship. People in some quarters have expressed outrage about the selection of at least one of the prospective students because of his conviction.
However, Adlai Smith, Director of Law Reform within the Ministry, is encouraging telling them do not be deterred by their past.
“Do not let your past define you. See yourself as that productive individual producing in society. The International Legal Instrument speaks to the right to an education in the present. The Mandela Rules which were adopted in 2015 also known as The Standard Minimum of Rules For Prisoners – they were named the Mandela Rules because of his fight for the prisoners. The United Nations Basic Principles For The Treatment of Prisoners also provide for the right of education and even Section 184 of our Prison Regulations speak to educational opportunities being provided for persons who are capable of benefitting nearby. More than ample legal justification for this programme,” Smith detailed in his presentation at the ceremony.
Executive Director of the Unit Paula C. M Lee also spoke to the importance of the programme indicated that education is an equalizer and not a divider.
Lee also stated that more scholarships will be made available in the coming months.
The lifelong learning unit was established in August last year to expose adult learners to a diverse range of options to help sharpen their skills and prepare them for the workforce.