Col Edward Lamb Commissioner of Corrections spoke to us about the state of our Village and Making a Difference.  The "big picture" of what is going on in this Country, covering People in Corrections;   My Vision and Aims; how we all can make a difference

 

My first point relates to the people who make up The Department of Corrections.  Of course, there are two categories of people - those doing the caring, the staff, and those being cared for, the inmates. Among our numbers are highly dedicated, honourable and capable people, and the entire Corrections team contributes to the overall well-being of our Community.  The employees in our Department are directly responsible for ensuring the safety and security that many in Bermuda take for granted as they go about their daily lives the other component is the people who are incarcerated.  These are the people who have been sent to jail for their transgressions against society or are awaiting trial for similar iniquities.  But, WHO are they really?  Well, I can tell you that in our prisons we have some very talented, beautiful and wonderful men and women.  Of course, these are men and women who have made some poor choices and are enduring the consequences of those choices - and rightly so.  But, should they be deemed to be discards from our Village?  Can they be redeemed? I believe that inmates and staff should be treated with dignity, respect, compassion, decency and courtesy.  In return, I expect that they will act in a manner worthy of being treated as such.  So, how does Corrections make a difference for the Village?  Well, in the global sense, we provide not only safety and security, but also opportunities for rehabilitation, vocational development and education for our charges.  Collectively and individually we are trying to make a difference and touch lives in the process.

             M y second point - my vision and aims.  Yes, I do have a dream!  I envision the Department of Corrections being an adaptable, robust and professional unit comprised of highly trained, well disciplined and motivated men and women, who individually and collectively are ready and able to render effective and efficient service to our Country.   I envision an organisation in which everyone, including the inmate, is given the opportunity to excel and progress, and is provided with the proper training, development and tools with which to do so.  Anyone can change for the good and I believe that we all have the power to change lives or at least influence a positive change.  We as a community must focus on what is right, not wrong; what is good not bad; what is positive not negative; the solution not the problem.  My aim is to, as Confucius said, light a candle rather than curse the darkness.

My third point - how can we all make a difference?  Firstly, we have to recognize what is going on around us.  We cannot afford to live in cocoons and be oblivious to the social blight that is spreading like a rampant cancer in our village.  In case people have not noticed, our village is in serious peril.  You do not have to just read the newspapers to know this - take a close look at what is happening - more and more disenchanted young men hanging on the sides of the streets; younger offenders in our systems; fatherless children growing up without any sense of security, love or stability; people strung out on drugs; young men caught up in the "thug life"; people consumed with the acquisition of "things".  It is shocking.  But, is everyone really paying attention?  I think not!! 

In conclusion, let me say that I took this position because it is a calling for me, not a job.  I want to serve my people not myself.  We ALL have to ask ourselves in the privacy of our own consciences:  what am I giving to this Country and secondly, am I really making a positive difference in someone's life?  Remember what Churchill said:  "We make a living by what we get.  We make a life by what we give".