Minister praises prisoner education success
A Westgate inmate posted the Island’s highest score in mathematics in the General Education Diploma and was one of 22 former and current inmantes from across the Island who graduated this month.
The prisoner’s achievement was highlighted by Michael Dunkley, the Minister for Public Safety, as he congratulated the recipients in the House of Assembly, yesterday.
Minister Dunkley, who attended two graduation ceremonies this week, also revealed how the inmates spoke of the deep sense of achievement graduating had given them, and how several were reduced to tears on receiving their certificates.
“At the Co-Ed facility, five inmates graduated, three of whom had been released,” he said. “Of the graduates, a 20-year-old female returned to the facility specifically to receive her certificate. Graduates spoke in moving terms of the positive impact the programme and the officers administering it have had on their lives.
“At Westgate, there were 16 graduates. Honourable Members will be interested to know that one of the Westgate graduates attained the Island’s highest score in Mathematics.
“Those inmates who spoke shared their deep sense of achievement as a result of this milestone in their lives. It was especially moving for me to see inmates sentenced for a wide variety of offences reduced to tears when receiving the certificate recognising their success.”
The Minister also acknowledged the department’s Education Officer Shawnette Somner who oversees the programme.
Teachers at Westgate include Erlor Dean, Dr Glen Bascome, Mark Trott, Daltonell Minors and Cordell Riley. Anita Monk and Maxine Saunders teach at the Co-ed facility.
“The thriving GED programme represents the culmination of a year’s hard work. The value in this is seen not only in the transformation of the inmates but in the resource they represent for this community on their release,” said Mr Dunkley.
“If we fail to rehabilitate inmates; if we fail to properly equip them for a return to society, we are investing in further criminality and doing a disservice to the community at large.”