Minister of National Security and Immigration the Hon. Tommy Turnquest along with Superintendent of Prisons Dr. Elliston Rahming at the Her Majesty’s Prison Wall of Remembrance. A wreath is carried in honour of Prison Officer ASP Wilfred Ferguson at the dedication ceremony for the Her Majesty’s Prison Wall of Remembrance on Sunday, January 20, 2008. (Photo/Patrick Hanna)
By: Matt Maura
NASSAU, Bahamas – The Her Majesty’s Prison “Wall of Remembrance” will not only provide the unsung heroes of Prison Service with the opportunity to retain their place in Bahamian history, but will also help to keep their sacrifices and faithful service forever imbedded in the consciousness of society, Minister of National Security, the Hon. Tommy Turnquest said Sunday.
Minister Turnquest was addressing the official dedication ceremony for the Wall of Remembrance at the prison.
“It has been said that to live in the memories of those we leave behind is to never die. Today, Her Majesty’s Prison dedicates this Wall of Remembrance to those who served in Prison and have passed away,” Mr. Turnquest said.
“In doing so, it etches in the minds of the men and women of the Prison Department and all those who enter this impressive garden setting, memories of those in whose footsteps current Prison Officers walk, so as to ensure their memories will live on.”
He pointed out that some of the men and women of Her Majesty’s Prison may have died unexpectedly, following illnesses, as a result of accidents or may have been killed in the line of duty.
“This Wall tells us who they were and that their lives were more than a journey from the cradle to the grave. It tells us that they were a special kind of Bahamian, that they were Prison Officers,” Mr. Turnquest added.
Minister Turnquest said employment in the Prison Service is not an easy job and is “certainly not for the faint of heart.” He noted that Bahamians as a people and a nation require much of their Prison Officers.
Mr. Turnquest said the Prison is a “stressful and demanding” environment within which to work, but that it is taken for granted in some quarters that Prison Officers will be disciplined, orderly and courageous.
“We mandate them to be responsible for the safe and secure custody of those who would trouble our peace and security, some by committing heinous crimes,” Mr. Turnquest said. “We expect them to provide safekeeping for the Remand Population of our Prison, those accused of wrongdoing, but who have not been tried for such.
“In these days and times, we look to Prison Officers to implement policies focused more on rehabilitation of offenders and less on punishment and to be catalysts for change in the Prison Service.
“We presume that they will be compassionate and caring and that they will take every opportunity to provide the kind of moral, mentoring and other support that might encourage inmates to walk a different path when they are released from Prison (and) we imagine that their families will be understanding, patient and long-suffering and would support them in their very demanding and oftentimes extremely dangerous career.
“It is good to know that this Wall of Remembrance, now and for the future, will give Prison Officers their own place in history and in the consciousness of our people and our country,” Mr. Turnquest added.
The Wall and decorative garden which surrounds it was constructed, planted and cultivated by Corporal Charlton I. Ferguson and his team comprising inmates of the Prison.
“This is a masterful piece of work,” Mr. Turnquest said. “Importantly, it shows that there are important and marketable skills among inmates in the Prison. This, augers well for what our primarily male prison population may have to offer the job market upon release, provided they stay on the straight and narrow road.”