The following is a press release from GIS:
Her Majesty’s Cayman Islands Prison Service (HMCIPS) in conjunction with the University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus hosted its Inaugural Awards Ceremony after the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding in August 2021. Certificates were presented to the Forty-six graduates who had successfully completed their programmes.
Addressing the graduates during the ceremony, H.E., The Governor Martyn Roper, commented: “This is an inspiring programme and I want to congratulate the organisers. To the graduates, it is admirable that every one of you has been able and willing to take on this opportunity to turn your lives around, by developing your skill set. I hope some of you may use these skills to pursue opportunities for entrepreneurship, which is a major focus of this educational programme.”
“Above all, I hope that, by taking part in this programme, you will be able to develop your self-confidence and support your overall wellbeing while in custody. I also want to pay tribute to our HMCIPS officers on your success in completing your management course”, the Governor commented.
The partnership between the HMCIPS and the UWI Open Campus is aimed to modernise and extend the portfolio of educational and skills training programmes available to HMCIPS officers and inmates. This agreement was both ground-breaking and pioneering for the region and reflects the Cayman Islands’ role as a regional leader in rehabilitation services amongst the overseas territories.
“This partnership aligns with the Ministry of Home Affairs’ overall strategic and national priorities, which include strengthening public safety and promoting resiliency. A key aspect of this is prioritising rehabilitative services for inmates in our custody”, explained Hon. Minister of Home Affairs Sabrina Turner
“Innovative and impactful programmes like this are important as they support the Government’s broad policy commitments to improve education, promote lifelong learning and greater economic mobility, as well as provide solutions to improve the well-being of people and help them to achieve their full potential. I salute you, graduates, on a job well done. You embody the benefits that innovation, education and partnership represent to our community. As Home Affairs continues the investment in rehabilitating offenders, we implore both government and private entities to partner with us in providing employment, as well as other opportunities, for people who are embracing positive change. Rehabilitation is about reducing crime, and everyone has a part to play”. Hon. Minister Turner continued.
Of the 37 inmates graduating, eight were females, from Fairbanks prison, and 29 males from Northward prison. Certificates range from Introduction to Computers, and Small Business Management to basic English language courses, with some inmates receiving more than one.
Out of this year’s cohort, inmates have applied for acceptance into the UWI Open Campus’s Associate Degree and Bachelor of Science programmes, and other inmates are being encouraged to pursue bridging courses to expand their educational capabilities to enable matriculation into degree programmes.
“By providing inmates with opportunities to develop and build skills, increases the likelihood of them gaining employment and thereby allow for a smoother transition as they reintegrate into the community,” noted Acting Director of HMCIPS Daniel Greaves.
“A dual purpose of this initiative is to build the institutional capacity of HMCIPS by sharing a range of UWI programmes, instructional resources, and professional development support with Prison Officers”, Mr Greaves continued
This year saw nine HMCIPS officers: Officer Austin Williams, Officer Oscar Owen, Officer Marlon Watson, Supervisor Derron Watson, Officer Cesar Tilo, and Supervisor, Dr Dwight Simms. Supervisor Steve Miller and Adult Education Facilitator, Ms Tamar Barclay all received Certificates in Supervisory Management.
Speaking to the MOU between HMCIPS and the UWI Open Campus programme, Dr Beverley Shirley expressed on behalf of the UWI Open Campus, “heartfelt gratitude to the Government for their continued investment in the academic and professional growth and development of the Caymanian people, and their overwhelming confidence in us, without their support, this would not have been possible.”
As part of its strategic objectives this year, the Ministry of Home Affairs and HMCIPS are committed to the continuing development and professionalisation of the prison system. Notably, HMCIPS Prison officers will have opportunities to gain tools and strengthen skills where needed in support of the Cayman Islands Government’s vision for a “World Class” Civil Service.