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Inauguration of prison officers at the Prison and House of Detention

On Wednesday, February 16th, 2022, the Minister of Justice, Ms. Anna E. Richardson swore in six (6) prison officers and one civil servant at the Prison and House of Detention Sint Maarten. As of date, Xiomara F. Romney, Jermila M. Carty, Lissaira A. Ortega, Lyshon G.H. Hemmings, Oren J. Howell, Rodalio Flemming and Carlos Gomez, will officially be taking up their position as prison officer and prison sewing instructor.

The ceremony, hosted by Ms. Sabina Amparo from the human resources department, started off with a prayer by pastor Vernon Illidge followed by an opening speech by the prison director, Mr. Steven Carty, who congratulated the officers: “Today we are not only celebrating the swearing in of correction officers, but we are also acknowledging the rise of leaders. We are celebrating leaders who are committed to excellence and to professionalism. Fairness represents predominant characteristics of a grounded corrections professional, and we live it daily. We execute our responsibilities with precision, with integrity and with humility. I am honored to be part of this process and to share in this occasion and I count it my honor to be here and to be a support to my team.” The prison director thanked the Minister of Justice for making this a priority and his staff for getting the job done.

The Minister of Justice was invited to say a few words of encouragement and stated: “This day was long overdue and a longtime coming, but it finally came. Despite the length of time, the changes and the missed promises, on this day, the class of 2012 and 2014 finally crossed the proverbial stage, were recognized and officiated to be known as a prison officer. In spite of the delays, these officers remained committed and in service to the facility, the residents and the community of Sint Maarten and for that, as Minister of Justice, I am grateful. Once again, I express a heartfelt thank you to these and all officers, staff and management at the Point Blanche Prison for their committed service”.

There was much anticipation for the long-awaited swearing in ceremony. The prison is often seen as the forgotten child, and the staff have been neglected for years. The prison has been one of the main priorities of this Minister of Justice since her tenure and she will continue to fight for the urgent improvements needed within the entire prison system. During the Minister’s speech she wished the prison officers well in their chosen paths and expressed thanks to the graduates for taking up the call to serve in the justice field. “All justice agencies have a particular role to play in the justice chain, and your duty will not be overlooked”.

The prison officers, led by senior prison officer Mr. Ronald Lake, took their oath before the Minister of Justice at the prison facility in Point Blanche and received their official statutory declaration.

Carlos Gomez, who has been the sewing instructor at the prison for multiple years, was also sworn in. For years, Mr. Gomez has been responsible, together with the inmates, for creating the uniforms for prison personnel and the inmates. The uniforms worn in the photo by the prison officers were made by Mr. Gomez and the inmates. He has also been employed in Curacao for some years where he was responsible for organizing a similar sewing facility in their prison and has created uniforms for inmates and personnel there as well.

As prison officers, it is their duty to execute their profession with fairness, precision, integrity, and humility. The ceremony was well attended as the prison management team, fellow colleagues, friends and family were present to witness and celebrate the swearing in of the prison personnel and congratulated the graduates on their inauguration.

Photo from left to right: Lissaira Ortega, Jermila Carty, Xiomara Romney, Minister Anna Richardson, prison director Steven Carty, Lyshon Hemmings, Carlos Gomez, Oren Howell, Rodalio Flemming and Ronald Lake.
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