Minister to Prison Service: Be agents for change

Guyana Chronicle
June 25, 2003

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MINISTER of Home Affairs Ronald Gajraj has issued a challenge to employees in the Prison Services to be agents for change.

The Minister threw out that challenge while delivering the feature address at the conclusion of a five-day training exercise for middle managers, hosted by The Institute of Distance and Continuing Education in collaboration with the Guyana Prison Service.

The exercise took place Saturday at the Cheddi Jagan Lecture Theatre of the University of Guyana.

Minister Gajraj cautioned that the caliber of prisoners entering is different from what it was a decade ago and urged the key players in the prison service to make the necessary adjustment and change.

While acknowledging that people do not generally take kindly to changes, he advised the participants that the purpose of the seminar was to broaden their horizon so they could appreciate their need for changes.

“As managers you are expected to display certain qualities since the juniors will look up for guidance, and encouragement,” the Minister pointed out.

“You are the catalyst for change whether good or bad,” he reiterated, adding that the junior staff will react according to how they perceive their seniors.

“Your work attitude must be exemplary. How you conduct yourself will determine if you show potential for upward mobility,” he stated.

Director of Prison Services Dale Erskine encouraged them to develop a sense of awareness so that they can change and reshape their environment.

They were also counseled to accept full responsibility entrusted to them and to develop the capacity to perceive in advance.

Mr. Vincent Alexander, representing Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana, said, “If you grow and develop your service will grow and develop.”

Mr. Alexander also stated that the area of greatest change must be of character, if not they will be a disservice to the organization they represent.

He admonished them not to fail to initiate change because of lack of the other resources, since the human resource is the key factor to change.

The seminar focused on the effective promotion of more harmonious relationships between the officers and inmates of the Prisons.

As a result of the conference it is expected that they will develop better listening and communication skills.

The event brought together different levels of management and had representatives from the City Constabulary and the Guyana Fire Service.

Issues looked at included concern about the services, self-management, goal setting, human relations and staff appraisal.

Also making brief remarks was Director of IDCE Mr. Samuel Small. (Shirwin Campbell)

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