A total of 89 officers attached to the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) were presented with national medals of honour during a ceremony held on Wednesday (June 27) at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston.
Of the number, 66 officers received medals for long service and good conduct, while 23 received the ‘First Bar to the National Honours and Awards’. The group consisted of persons, who have served the institution for 10 to over 30 years.
Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter Bunting in commending the officers on their achievement, noted that they play a very important role within the national security machinery.
“You are not only on the control side and the enforcement side, but you have the dual and very important role of rehabilitation,” he remarked. “I can only imagine that it’s not an easy task to balance these dual roles and also at the same time, to be concerned in protecting yourselves, the society at large, and ensuring that your inmates are appropriately rehabilitated to re-enter the society as productive persons,” the Minister said.
Mr. Bunting further thanked the officers for giving valuable service to Jamaica, pointing out that their extended tenure in the field of law enforcement exemplifies a high level of dedication to and sacrifice for their country, given the imminent dangers of their daily tasks.
He noted that over the years, officers of the DCS have risen to the increased challenges, persevering despite scarce resources and inadequate infrastructure in the correctional facilities.
Custos of St. Andrew, Hon. Marigold Harding, who was guest speaker at the event, congratulated the officers for their years of service and good conduct, noting that dedication to public service is “a honourable thing”.
“In no other endeavour can you more directly serve your country’s cause or support its values than in the public sector. You are in a position to teach, mold personalities and influence the behaviour of individuals. This is a powerful position you hold and it comes with some awful responsibilities,” she stated.
Custos Harding implored the officers to continue to do their work with integrity, commitment and bravery, further advising them to stay clear of corrupt practices.
Commissioner of Corrections, Lt. Col. G.S Prendergast, also congratulated the officers for their dedicated service.
“It is fitting that we honour you in this manner, because any individual, who dedicates the greater part of his life to this department and serving in the various institutions that we have, is worthy of commendation and honour,” he remarked.
Meanwhile, Overseer, David Spencer, who spoke on behalf of the awardees, said he was “humbled” to be honoured in such a manner.
He also gave the commitment that he and his colleagues would continue to do their best to carry out the mandate of the DCS, despite the many challenges they face on a daily basis.
By Athaliah Reynolds-Baker, JIS Reporter