Superintendent of Prisons, Albert Wade, will remain at the helm of Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP), at least until he is satisfied that the conditions for inmates and staff have improved.
This development was announced when the minister responsible for the prison, Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin met with “about 35” prison officers at his office yesterday to deliver the decision from Cabinet.
“We felt that Wade was so important to the prison functioning that he will remain there until he is satisfied that he has resolved all the problems [there] and he recommends somebody that he thinks is fit and proper to take over the prison’s administration,” Benjamin said.
The minister described the hour and a half long meeting with close to 40 prison staff as happy and pleasing.
For over 14 years, Benjamin said prison staff have been lobbying to receive risk allowance and on Thursday Cabinet agreed to begin the payments next month.
“They will also be paid their risk allowance in the suggested amount from July also and we have provided them with additional transportation — a 14-seater bus for staff, by Monday of next week,” Benjamin said, without disclosing the amounts to be paid in risk allowance and insurance.
Last week, both officers and inmates at HMP voiced their objections after they learned of the possible departure of Superintendent Wade who has been at the helm of the prison since November 2014.
Wade had requested his secondment from the Royal Police Force of Antigua & Barbuda be terminated, but staff did not wish to see their boss go.
The prison boss’ tenure has not been without opposition. When he took over from former HMP boss, Percy Adams, there was much disapproval over the policies he implemented, including all visitors to make their requests in writing in advance and utilising inmates for free labour on farms.