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Impact Justice symposium on prison reform

By: IMPACT Justice, Press Release

BRIDGETOWN – July 19, 2022 – From July 5th to 6th, the Canadian Government funded Improved Access to Justice in the Caribbean (IMPACT Justice) Project hosted a Symposium on Prison Reform at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort, Frigate Bay, St. Kitts and Nevis. The Symposium was attended by representatives of 9 CARICOM prisons virtually and in-person and commenced with an opening ceremony on July 5th at which His Excellency Sir Tapley Seaton, GCMG, CVO, QC, JP, LLD, Governor-General of St. Kitts and Nevis gave opening remarks and Professor Velma Newton, CBE, SCM, Regional Project Director of the IMPACT Justice Project provided an overview of the IMPACT Justice Project and provided a backdrop for the Symposium.

Following the opening, Hon. Mr. Justice Jacob Wit, Judge of the Caribbean Court of Justice reviewed the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (The Mandela Rules) as well as select European Standards, and this was thereafter followed by a presentation by Dr. Janeille Matthews, Lecturer in Law, Faculty of Law, The UWI, Cave Hill Campus on contemporary issues affecting prisons.

The Jamaica Director of Public Prosecutions, Ms. Paula Llewellyn, CD, QC also attended the Symposium and shared her perspective of the prison system and the treatment of accused persons. Her presentation was followed by a report from Mr. Peter Alleyne, Director of Legal, Dominica on perceptions of inmates interviewed in Dominica, on its prison conditions and their treatment.

After this presentation Mr. Rashad Brathwaite, Junior Research Fellow, The UWI, Cave Hill Campus, spoke on Caribbean Prisons and COVID-19 followed by a report on the Antigua and Barbuda Prison Act by Mr. Adlai Smith, Director of Law Reform and Special Legal Projects, Ministry of Legal Affairs, Antigua and Barbuda.

After these general presentations, the proceedings switched over to the attending representatives of CARICOM prisons to speak about the conditions of their respective prisons, and the proposed measures being contemplated or implemented to address some of the concerns raised. Presentations were heard from Mr. Jermaine Anthony, Superintendent of Prisons (Ag.) Antigua and Barbuda, Mr. Decarlo Payne, Superintendent of Prison (Ag.) Barbados, Ms. Maria Del Carmen Lopez, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Kolbe Foundation, Belize, Mr. Rupert Neckles, Commissioner of Prisons (Ag.) Grenada, Ms. Joyce Stone, Deputy Commissioner of Corrections, Department of Corrections, Jamaica, Mr. Terrance James, Commissioner of Corrections, St. Kitts and Nevis, Mr. Leonard Terrance, Deputy Director of Corrections, St. Lucia and Mr. Leonard Clarke, Assistant Superintendent of Prisons, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

At the end of the proceedings, Dr. Janeille Matthews presented a summary of the recommendations coming out of the presentations which IMPACT Justice will share with regional governments.

IMPACT Justice wishes to thank all of the persons who attended this conference including members of the media and extends a special heartfelt thank you to Professor Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith, PhD, Fellow of the Caribbean Policy Consortium and Global Americans for chairing the Symposium.


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