One hundred and twenty inmates of the Sibley Hall / Mazaruni Prisons graduated with technical and vocational skills on Monday to help prepare them for reintegration into the society and reduce the number of repeat offenders.
The course of training focused on imparting skills to inmates with the aim of equipping them for reintegration into society and reducing recidivism.
In brief remarks, Acting Director of the Guyana Prison Service, Gladwin Samuels encouraged the graduates to see the positives that can result from their incarceration, and use it as a building block for a better future.
“We need you to see your incarceration not only as your fall, but as your opportunity to get right back up, rehabilitate, go through those gates on the completion of your sentence and realise your full potential,” he was quoted as saying by government’s Department of Public Information (DPI) at the graduation exercise held at the Mazaruni Prison.
Samuels announced that the Guyana Prison Service was collaborating with other agencies to ensure that the qualifications that prisoners earned would be accepted not only in Guyana but also overseas with the aim of ensuring successful reintegration into society.
“With these collaborations, come 2018, inmates will be able to expand their areas of training and receive certificates which will be recognised beyond the shores of Guyana making it possible for you to leave prison and gain meaningful employment with the skills you would have acquired while doing the time for the offence you committed”, Samuels temphasised.
He added, “As you graduate, see this ceremony as the commencement not the completion. You will face many challenges. The fact that you are coming out of prison, like it or not ,there will be some amount of stigma attached. The fact is most things are difficult before it becomes easy. However, can assure you that it is not what happens to you that is important, but it is what you make of what happens to you … I want to challenge you today to see the best in yourself. See yourself as successful and not let your past determine your future”, Samuels said.
Encouraging the graduates to be the best they can be, the Prisons Director told them to, “dream since the future belongs to those who dream.”
“At this Mazaruni location and at other locations the Guyana prison has worked at expanding your understanding and improving your skills and helping you to expand your knowledge. With these you can build your dreams you can equip yourselves to take yourselves as productive citizens when you are lawfully released from prison,” he noted.
The Director of Prisons said that the number of graduates represents 106 of the current 452 or 26.5 percent of prisoners housed at the facilities, “I believe this is a great precedent we are setting here today.”
Further, Samuels delivering a brief message from Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan said, “the Ministry of Public Security is ready and willing to work with all stakeholders to ensure the well being of offenders, and the general security of this nation.”
Of the one hundred and twenty (120) prisoners who graduated 14 are certified in Burning of charcoal, 8 Landscaping, 3 Fishing, 7 Tailoring, 17 Art and Craft, 10 Culinary arts, 11 Chronic illness treatment, 16 Literacy & Numeracy, 15 Joinery and block making, 13 Domestic violence counselling and 6 Veterinary science.