Caribbean  Vizion visits her Majesty’s Prisons
Local Vibes
February 25, 2005
Caribbean Vizion visits her Majesty’s Prisons

For just over two hours last Tuesday, inmates at Her Majesty’s Prison in Kingstown enjoyed a taste of cultural and educational freedom. The impact of that presentation will continue to rebound for a long time, and the concept of regional unity has found some ground in the prison compound. {{more}}

Chief Prison Officer Brenton Charles looked at the venture as a “worthwhile” exercise. He observed that some sections of the programme “targeted all the ills in society.” He confessed that the visit should “enlighten” the inmates and stated: “people should take a new outlook on life.”

Charles’ comments were frank and in a manner of conciliatory satisfaction. The 353-inmate population was allowed an escape journey compliments the group Caribbean Vizion. This outfit is making the dream of Caribbean unity a reality.

Caribbean Vizion led by Kurt ‘Fire Foxx’ Allen has visited a number of institutions in a campaign of edu-culture. That is mixing education and culture, with a series of skits, interspersed with musical rhythms.

Andre Bowens, an inmate at the penitentiary declared that “violence and crime don’t pay.” He disclosed that a programme at the institution was helping him a lot. He added that Caribbean Vizion’s presentation “enhanced” his message of doing something to transform the society.

He was high in praise for Caribbean Vizion.

The excursion to the jail was as much an occasion for the members of Caribbean Vizion. As if inspired by the novelty of the moment, the outfit unleashed a silky performance.

Everything flowed in splendid fashion, to a captive audience, perhaps surprised to have received the package. But chairperson of the National Commission on Crime Prevention Genita Lewis was quick to endorse the move, as she regarded the prison population as part of the society.

Caribbean Vizion’s programme highlighted topics like Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME), music Piracy, teenage pregnancy, and abandonment of babies by fathers.

Interspersed with appropriate versions, spliced in pin point precision by accompany Disc Jockey, Caribbean Vizion left an ecstatic legacy within the prison walls. Applause and shouts of approval were spontaneous and instinctive, sometimes reflecting typical reaction to any cultural presentation.

One or two danced to the music, unashamedly lost in liberal bliss, oblivious of prison officers, some in uniformed others in mufti, engrossed in the presentation. Perhaps the effort might have been too late for some, but Choc’late’s dance to Ras Shorty I’s ‘Watch out my children,’ performed live and by her dad Kurt ‘Fire Foxx” Allen, peaked the dramatic depiction to realistic penetration.

Sarah Lee Smith, showed a versatility of talent that revealed the depth of talent in that northern neighbouring island.

Sarah Lee Smith is a replacement to Jany Williams, a foundation member of Caribbean Vizion. Jany died in a car accident three months after taking the St. Lucia monarch title.

A teacher, singer, and netballer, Jany was a formidable base of Caribbean Vizion’s dream.

Her soul drives the group and Sarah is an embodiment of a rekindled spirit of energy and commitment. Bill Rogers Junior with his pedigree in the entertainment industry blended his vocal and dramatic talents to near perfection.

Most of Caribbean Vizion’s members display varying roles. They support each other and ensure a smooth flow of the depiction. Vincentian Niesha John portrayed a secondary school student whose love for a Music Pirate named ‘Banka’ done by Keeshan Walwyn, lands her into conflict with Tabitha Johnson, who is pregnant with his child.

But Banka shuns his responsibility as a father and offers Tabitha the option of aborting the pregnancy. She refuses, and in the end, he is locked up by the Police after Rogers buys CD’s but goes through the trouble of getting a receipt.

And the overwhelming message is that education, is the key to escape poverty, or in fact overcome any obstacle to one’s progress. Caribbean Vizion entailed the reaction of the audience, and after the presentation, members posed for television footage with inmates.

Order seemed a feature of the institution, even with what must be over crowding.

That prison has been the centre of many a conflict. It was built in 1872, with space for less than one hundred persons. A series of additions and refurbishment have been undertaken in order to cope with the always-expanding population.

Matters peaked to open hostility with an outbreak of disorder in July 1999. Prisoners virtually took siege of the compound, and the prison operated as a veritable hellhole.

The deaths of inmates Leroy Roberts and Ron ‘Dumplin’ Sutherland two weeks after the stabbing of Superintendent Leroy Latchman in January 2001 served as a further escalation to the situation.

The killing of inmate Kingsley ‘Cruiser’ Henry, shot November 14, 2001 heightened the controversy. Superintendent Eric Rodriquez was freed of murder stemming from Henry’s death.

Caribbean Vizion’s performance in the prison, was a manifestation of some semblance of change in the correctional centre.

A new Prison is being built on the Leeward district of Belle Isle about 16 miles north west of Capital City Kingstown.