Is there any doubt that Nurse was the wrong man for the job at the time he was appointed? Who would appoint a career military man to manage an overcrowded prison supported by an untrained, unruly and underpaid group of wardens? We have already alluded in a previous article that it was a political appointment, the Nurse – Mia connection!
Over the years, we have read all manner of stories which have caused us to wonder if Glendairy prison was a penal institution. There were escapes from the prison with alleged outside help. Do you remember the Colombian convict who quietly disappeared after being sentenced by the Courts of Barbados? There was the female prisoner who was mysteriously impregnated; female and male prisoners according to prison policy are separated so the culprit pointed to a prison warden being the sperm donor. What about Juman who is said to have enjoyed comforts during his time at the prison which was unheard of in its history. We had prisoners who mysteriously died while in custody. The list is endless to describe the inefficiency at the prison over the years. To Nurse’s credit, he implemented security measures which stopped the absurd break-outs but that is all.
PRISON OFFICERS were asked to sign a petition seven years ago, aimed at urging authorities to rescind the appointment of Lieutenant-Colonel John Nurse as Glendairy Prisons’ acting superintendent. This claim was made yesterday by a temporary prison officer who joined the service after Nurse had taken up his position, but had heard about the petition in 2001. In fact, Arleigh Stoute said he knew a colleague who had actually signed the petition.
Many Barbadians continue to ask why has Lieutenant-Colonel John Nurse remained the prison boss for seven long years in the face of strenuous opposition from the warders in his command. After witnessing the unprecedented burning down of the island’s only prison, the publics outcry has risen. BU is forced to ask the question, can a manager who does not have the confidence of subordinates effectively manage to achieve the goals of the job? If the answer to the question is no, the next question is what should management do about it? Relying on feedback, observation and discussions with people close to the prison, BU know that Nurse uses outdated autocratic, dictatorial and sometimes rude qualities which we can write; generously describes his management style. Many say that it would have contributed a lot to why hell broke lose at Glendairy Prisons on the 29 March 2005.