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Only 13 out of 72 staff are locals at Her Majesty’s Prison

- Holder said he reports to both Governor & Minister, claims of poor salaries for prison officers disputed!
Superintendent of Prison Richard Holder told the Standing Finance Committee that BVIslanders are not applying to work at HM Prison because the salaries and packages are very low and not attractive, however, information shows that the salaries of Prison Employees are the same as many middle management posts within the public sector including other post that requires four year college degrees.
Her Majesty's Prison falls under both the Governor, and the Ministry of Education and Culture. It remains a place where local employees are a disproportionate minority with only 13 locals out of 72 Prison employees. One former employee has called for something to be done about this situation before it becomes another “police force
Her Majesty's Prison falls under both the Governor, and the Ministry of Education and Culture. It remains a place where local employees are a disproportionate minority with only 13 locals out of 72 Prison employees. One former employee has called for something to be done about this situation before it becomes another “police force".
 Royston Percival, a Prison Officer holds the post of Principal Prison Officer and was named Employee of the Year for 2011 for the Public Sector. Percival who is from St. Kitts has local status and is confirmed in his post. Photo: GIS
Royston Percival, a Prison Officer holds the post of Principal Prison Officer and was named Employee of the Year for 2011 for the Public Sector. Percival who is from St. Kitts has local status and is confirmed in his post. Photo: GIS
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - After learning when the Governor’s Office appeared before the 2012 Standing Finance Committee (SFC) that both the Governor and the Ministry of Education and Culture were responsible for the prison with “gray” areas, the Superintendent of Her Majesty’s Prison Richard Holder has also added to the confusion.

In response to a question from the Third District Representative Julian Fraser RA, about the role of the United Kingdom appointed Governor and who had responsibility for the Prison, Superintendent Holder told the body that the prison falls under the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Governor deals with security and early release and matters that pertain to Prison Rules.

The Member for the Third District asked the Superintendent, if he reported to the Governor. The Superintendent replied “yes”. Mr. Holder told the SFC that he reports to “the Governor under Prison Rules 1999 and I also report to the Minister”. He said the rules deal with early release matters and sick persons.

Holder also explained that the Governor has the executive authority over the Prison and the responsibility for all matters in relation to security. The Minister has the administrative responsibility to ensure that the prison is provided with the necessary resources to be able to provide all services required to operate under national and international laws.

Hon. Fraser asked Mr. Holder, if he had any conflict in his mind as to who to report to. The Superintendent replied, “I report to both persons.” The Minister for Health and Social Development Ronnie W. Skelton asked, if there are more security issues than administrative issues. To this Mr. Holder replied that there are more security issues.

Only 13 out of 72 staff are BVIslanders, Holder blames it on low pay

Territorial At Large Member Archibald C. Christian asked how many of the staff at HM Prison are BVIslanders. The Superintendent replied 13 including cooks. The Member of the Eight District Marlon Penn, himself a fifth generation indigenous Virgin Islander, asked what the total staff is. To this the Superintendent replied 72.

Hon. Penn asked, if it is a matter that BVIslanders are not applying. To this Mr. Holder said that, “we must have an attractive salary, the salaries are way below and they are not attractive.” The Superintendent reiterated that low pay and conditions had kept BVIslanders away from working in the prison system in response to another question by Hon. Christian.

Research contradicts Holder’s reason for why BVIslanders are not working in Prison system

A Virgin Islands News Online source close to this matter told this news site that like the Police Force, locals are allegedly shut out from employment opportunities at Her Majesty’s Prison and it has nothing to do with pay, as it’s a government job.

He said currently, the prison officers working at HM Prison are mostly from Guyana, St. Vincent, St. Kitts, Jamaica and even Prison Officers from Trinidad and the likes.

A look at the 2012 Draft Budget shows that the pay for Prison Officers are comparable in some instances to the same as that of Police Officers, Fire and Rescue Officers, Engineers, Immigrations and Customs Officers, and Teachers, to name a few. Therefore, Mr. Holder’s assertion is questionable and could be misleading.

For example, a Prison Officer I is in grade 6 and makes a salary of $22,770-$36,184 per year. This is the same salary made by a Customs Officer II, Fire Officer, Constable of the Police Force, Immigration Officer II, Telephone Services Technician, Assistant GIS Information Officer, post all filled in the civil service by BVIslanders.

Another look at the facts shows that a Prison Officer II post is in grade 8 and earns a salary of $26,492-$42, 091 per year. This is the same salary that is earned by a Detective Constable at the Police Force, a Sub Officer of the Fire and Rescue Department, a Professional Cadet, someone who has returned from college with a four year college degree (Prison officers do not require a degree as neither the Superintendent nor many of his senior staff have four year degrees), a Teacher Grade II and Veterinary Assistant III - someone who is required extensive training in veterinary medicine.

Furthermore, a Principal Prison Officer and a Prison Rehabilitation Programme Coordinator, two posts within the Prison Service attracts a salary of $28,818 -$45,785 in grade 9. This is the same salary made in the civil service by an Administrative Officer, Civil Engineer I, a post that required a four to five year degree, Finance Cadet another four year degree post, sergeant of the RVIPF, and a Senior Accounts Officer to name a few.

Another look at the claim made by Mr. Holder that locals are not working at the Prison because of the low and unattractive salaries contradicts his assertion. Take for example a Prison Counsellor earns a salary of $34,634-$55,040 in grade 11. This is the same salary made by a Surveillance Immigration Officer, Marine Biologist, Teacher Grade IV, Budget Officer II, Engineer II, Education Officer I, and the Assistant Comptroller of Customs, for the most part posts that are filled by locals.

The training required to be a Prison Officer according to what Holder told the SFC, includes knowing English, trained in certain methods of control and restraint of prisoners, how to deal with matters, problem solving and creativity and how to negotiate.

A former local prison officer who wishes to remain anonymous and is a Virgin Islander told this news site that, “what Holder told the Politicians is nonsense, it’s a system to keep BVIslanders out and give their friends from the islands jobs….I am surprised the amount of Guyanese working there some of them only in the BVI for three to four years and working in the prison system, do you think this is right? The prison system is like the police force.”

“It’s a shame and I am disappointed that the Politicians ate up what Holder said without some research and challenging him. Indigenous Virgin Islanders are catching hell in the private sector and it seems like the same thing applies to the Public system.”

The same source said when you check the list of indigenous BVIslanders (persons born in the BVI and can trace their roots to three and four generations) the numbers for the Prison staff drops even more dramatically to less than 7 in the entire system. While the source said he agrees that the Police Force, for example, salaries are more attractive than the Prison with many benefits and allowances, “but how come it still does not have majority locals there?.....someone needs to look into the Prison hiring system as something is wrong.”

65 Responses to “Only 13 out of 72 staff are locals at Her Majesty’s Prison”

  • born here (16/04/2012, 08:04) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I am calling for a UN commission of inquiry to investigate the minority indigenous people of the BVI and how they are been discriminated against.
    • busted (16/04/2012, 08:36) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      holder need to stop his follishness about salary. the evidence is really what is the problem? why aint bvislanders joing the police force and prison?
      • Jack johnson (17/04/2012, 12:34) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        The answer is simple...Most BVIslanders look down on these jobs and think thast being a Police or a Prison Offficer is beneath them. Others are simply not prepared to subscribe to the the discipline required by these professions. That is the plain and simple truth. Oh! the third thing is that some are afraid of the risk posed by these jobs.
    • I don't get it (16/04/2012, 10:26) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
      The BVI is not a member of the UN, idiot.
      • to: I don't get it!!!! (16/04/2012, 12:58) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        I guess the blogger's point is someone got to step in and do something for the locals/indigenous peoples in tola being pushed aside...
        • Not2Sure (16/04/2012, 15:06) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          What we should do is pass a law making it so that a foreign cannot get a job or buy land if a local person wants that job or that piece of land. Oh wait a minute, that is the law already....
          • joke again (16/04/2012, 23:09) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
            the labour code gives locals first preference but the labor department is the biggest joke!!!
          • cuzzz (17/04/2012, 14:55) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
            why dont you take your little island and stuff it, am really sick and tired of this foolishness about who is from here and who cant get a job, you all sound like little children
  • ausar (16/04/2012, 08:17) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    In my view, because the prison system falls under the governor and the governor is a representative of the Kingdom, and in the Kingdom the non-white nationals are treated like crap, expect similar treatments for Virgin Islanders(British) !
    • tired of the race card (16/04/2012, 10:30) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      You need to go to the UK and see how many different colours, shapes and sizes of people you can find that are from there, instead of coming on here racist nonsense.
  • seeker of the truth (16/04/2012, 08:24) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    It is a fact that Mason Brother Holder runs HMPS as his own private kingdom, who he is for prospers, who he is against really has to swim against the tide.
  • facts man (16/04/2012, 08:25) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Ha ha where is the funny man to call for BVIslanders to be hired??? This is a subject right under he Ministry…I told ayo he was forny.
    • joab (16/04/2012, 18:21) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      What about the BV Islander who has more qualifications than him and to boot extensive military training and expertise, and he keep reporting lies to the governor because he scared he will soon be he boss, he up there seem to be putting the officers against each other. Them guyanese like to carry news for position and he like news so he will hire them over any BV islander
      • police officer west end (16/04/2012, 23:51) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        but he loves news I believe he move up in the police force by carrying and bringing news...see what he trying to do to one of them...but the world is a circle
  • critic (16/04/2012, 08:25) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    what!!!!! kind of ratio this is? and that is a lucky 13
  • CHEK SHE (16/04/2012, 08:28) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    he was never a man of integrity..from ever since in police force. so nothing he says surprises me
  • lily (16/04/2012, 08:33) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    vino you all on the ball. I really thought Holder had stopped this we worked together and I warned you about that look what ....the evidence is crystal clear.........seems like them politicians got caved
  • TOXIC (16/04/2012, 08:38) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    blacks from the caribbean are flocking to the UK in record numbers because they get free housing, free food, free medical etc, unlike in their own countries , so this nonsense about not being treated badly is crap.
  • ABC (16/04/2012, 09:02) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    i must say kudos to VINO for doing good reasech on matter!!! this ah good job...jeez um bread Holder BUSTED in a lie!
  • Not surprised (16/04/2012, 09:15) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The 'Old Boys' Club (Lodge) at it again.
    • KILLER (16/04/2012, 15:07) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Holder get busted in his trap!!! good reporting...this is shocking very shocking deman
    • (((((((( (18/04/2012, 00:28) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      people stop acting like you are so surprise...
  • shara parlin (16/04/2012, 09:56) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Come on locals get with the programme the prison was built to lock up locals not for you all to work in there get with the real plan where have you all been?
  • BRAD BOYNES (16/04/2012, 09:58) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The biggest problem with Prison is who is in charge. He needs to be investigated about the way he treats the second in charge at the prison. Too many time people here who should know better keep quiet, their silence is deafening. Politicians do not have the internal fortitude to call a spade a spade in dealing with this. Lead, follow, or get out of the way.
  • loveann (16/04/2012, 10:02) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The Government need to send him on Leave or better yet they should retire him. Every where he work he does nonsense like carrying news on people and kissing up to get where he his. Send him home.
    • act up (16/04/2012, 15:16) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      send him home for what???see how the elected memebers never even acting concerned
  • leaving out the facts (16/04/2012, 10:23) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Vino gave the base salary which most prison officers are on unlike teachers and admin, engineer posts. You must read all the facts. I'm not saying Holder is correct but these wages across the board not just in the prison service are very low with the high cost of living in the country. Also these Prison officers keep the criminals locked away from joe public and so should be compensated inline with other proffesions that require more college. Bottom line Government wages are shockingly low until you get to higher grades with all the perks.
    • talk girl talk (16/04/2012, 11:18) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      to leaving out the facts: That is beside the point fool…the impression one gets from Holder from reading what he said in the meeting was that prison officers salary was lower than others, therefore no local will apply. It turn out that it is a big fat lie as others who are local making the same $$$$ in other government jobs some are requiring a degree and some in the prison staff does not require any…now that is the facts of the matter yall.
      • big girls rules (16/04/2012, 23:58) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        un believable??? only 13 out of 72 are locals?...and when you further break it down its really 7 out of 72 damm jeeze Um bread man can any body see that something is wrong with this picture???? this could have never happen in Jamaican, Guyana , Antigua, St. Kitts and St. Vincent they would have already run the expats out...stupid BVI people
  • qc (16/04/2012, 10:47) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    this is somthing meshon..vino you sure know how to dig for good information...all the other site missed this!
  • Iron Lion (16/04/2012, 11:04) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    That's why there's no way in hell I can work for Government. I want to know how some Govt workers are able to purchase vehicle, property, build a home and take care of kids on those measly salaries. It is ridiculous to be paying people those salaries, especially the base, in these times. That is why most qualified locals work for private companies.
  • Observer (16/04/2012, 12:00) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
  • faith (16/04/2012, 12:10) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    You all need to stop blaming Holder. All those officers were there before he took charge of the prison. fair is fair. Stop accusing the man of wrong doing. He inherited those expatriate workers; he did not hire them
    • Seeker of the Truth (16/04/2012, 13:25) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Your submission in part, is true. That still does not change the fact that under our Masonic head his treatment of locals and those who dare to disagree with him give a true definition to the term "bias". he is fast getting a well earned reputation for unfairnes and favoritism.
  • MJ (16/04/2012, 12:19) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Whilst the salary may be same with some other government department do u think that the people working in the prison is being paid fairly with that kinda money for being around convicted murderers n mentaly unstable kinda allowance for them risk....prison is a very sensitive issue and u cant just pick up any young person and send them into a prison setting and say look takes lots of years and experience to get it right..i believe that young people should be given attachment with the prison for periods of time n slowly get them into the reality of the life at the prison and you will know who is good from who is not..
    • small money (16/04/2012, 13:19) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      the real question at hand is whether BVI locals will work for that salary and the answer is YES YES YES they will as they do it all the i aint want to hear no fart from Richard bout no local because money to small..locals custom of small money!!!
  • CeCe (16/04/2012, 12:38) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I would like to see a similar report for Port and Airport Authority.
    • fish market (16/04/2012, 14:43) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      i will like to see the numbers for the hospital....dem say dey full of island people
      • name (16/04/2012, 16:33) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        what is is with yall and down island people? y is this country so discrimintive against black people... further more there hispanics philipenos other ethinic groups
        • Mary J (16/04/2012, 16:50) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    • taxpayer (16/04/2012, 16:05) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      To qualify for a job at the Air Port Authority, fore most you must be a member of the New Testiment Church or be a close friend of Management. Qualification is not a requirement.
  • Ridiculous (16/04/2012, 12:47) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Despite the low tax-rate in the BVI those salaries mentioned are pretty low for the level of responsibility and personal risk that both the police officers and prison guards face. Add to that the fact that a decent apartment is at least $1000/month a families monthly grocery bill runs at least $300/month and electricity can range anywhere from $100-$300/month depending on the time of year, I wonder how these people can afford a lifestyle other than that of poverty level!!! The government really should have their wages reviewed...or perhaps the people would benefit from labor unions.
  • shark (16/04/2012, 14:18) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    i have filled out applications from the time i came home here in 2007.5 different times,how is it that your personal vital information is given to the human resources department,when you call for a follow up on your application they could never find how can they say that local are not looking for work,i know of several other British Virgin Islanders who applied for positions there at the prison and were never called or their application even looked at.
  • shark (16/04/2012, 14:28) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    i have filled out applications from the time i came home here in 2007.5 different times,how is it that your personal vital information is given to the human resources department,when you call for a follow up on your application they could never find how can they say that local are not looking for work,i know of several other British Virgin Islanders who applied for positions there at the prison and were never called or their application even looked at
  • US Teacher (16/04/2012, 14:38) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Question: Who is doing the hiring? BVIslanders are responsible for the downfall of their own country. PS. When we stop doing favors for people then this will all come to a hault. I have been saying for years that the BVIslanders who are in the key management postions do no try hard enough to hire their own as it relates to police and prison. I am sick of everybody complaining about situations such as this when we all know they did not hire themselves.
    • tell teh truth (16/04/2012, 15:00) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      i blame the PSC and Ministry of Finance and the PS in education and culture who are fast asleep..when you have an Island man in charge of Prison, an Island lady PS , an Island man Minister Myron what the hell you all expect???strupps
      • Valley massive (16/04/2012, 16:00) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        no man i read on vino that myron waz born here as vino said they saw his birth cert but the other two are from Jam and barbdos
      • Well well... (17/04/2012, 09:44) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        You blaming Myron for Holder and his PS? They were all in place before Myron was elected.
    • Not2Sure (16/04/2012, 15:09) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      You're a teacher but you don't know the correct spelling of the word "halt"? Aye Caramba.
  • Mz (16/04/2012, 15:56) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    It's not a case of hiring "their own" US TEACHER...have u every thought that not many locals want to be police officers??? the positions aren't pushed to expats but mainly because only an expat would apply for the position. Likewise, a local cannot get a job if he/she does not have the qualifications. This isn't rocket science because this has been going on for quite some time and the reasoning behing hiring someone would not change! @Not2sure, NICE ONE lol!
    • ... (16/04/2012, 16:53) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      You people need to stop the nonsense about BVIslanders aren't qualified. There are qualified persons who applied to the police force, but for some strange reason everytime the application was submitted the application would dissappear and the office personnel would say it wasn't received even if it was emailed to them. People who work in those offices are just worthless.
  • ship of state (16/04/2012, 19:40) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    We need our own in these key position to avoid this!
  • The prison staff (16/04/2012, 22:09) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Myron come up n talk to us we want both of them gone cause if the heads of the dept. can't get along wa u think going happen their going pull down who ever they can with them
    • Seeker of the Truth (17/04/2012, 16:59) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Join the britherhood - Holder will treat you fine then!
  • friend (17/04/2012, 06:28) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    did not know this Royston Percival dude was from St. kitts...he acting like he born
    • Precious (17/04/2012, 10:27) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      You aint no "friend" of Royston Percival so keep you damn opinion to yourself. Jealousy is your damn problem, if you have a problem with him tell it to his face. People like you just like to much confusion and strife no wonder our society is the way it is. Go and be productive in society and stop hating so called "fren-e-my"!
  • child play (17/04/2012, 14:07) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Look how holder ran rings around 13 blind mice
  • love bird (17/04/2012, 15:47) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    the sad thing about this is not a thing will be done to increase local hiring at HMP
  • in the news (17/04/2012, 23:52) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    holder up to his tricks again...
  • ABC (18/04/2012, 07:07) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I am sure there are many other gorvernment departments with this same sistuation.

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