Prison Officers’ Day celebrations reflect on sacrifices by dedicated staff and achievements of over three decades of service
‘Prison Officers' Day was celebrated with great jollification and reverence at the prison’s conference hall in Point Blanche on Monday, October 16, 2023. An award ceremony and luncheon was executed to recognized the sacrifice of the unsung heroes behind the prison walls that provide safety and rehabilitation.
Noteworthy, was the presentation of awards to three (3) remarkable prison officers who have devoted more than three (3)decades of their lives to the Prison of Sint Maarten. Miss. Omaira S Gario, Mr. Norwin S Reenis, and Mr. Ronald F Lake were honored for their impressive track record of maintaining safety and justice within the society. These exemplary individuals received tokens of appreciation from the Honorable Minister of Justice, Anna E. Richardson, and the Acting Director of the Prison, Henrietta Doran- York. It's also worth noting that Mrs. Henrietta Doran-York herself was one of the pioneering female prison officers in Sint Maarten, the first female prison officer of Sint Maarten and first female prison supervisor of the Netherlands Antilles.
In addition to the awards, the celebration featured exciting raffle giveaways for its staff, adding an extra layer of festivity to the joyous occasion.
Henrietta Doran-York, in her dedication speech, lauded the prison officers and emphasized the daily challenges they face and the personal sacrifices they make to fulfill their duties. Doran-York added that while their hard work may sometimes seem to go unnoticed, it's all in the pursuit of justice and the betterment of Sint Maarten; a mission shared by the entire team.
Honorable Minister of Justice, Anna E. Richardson, took the opportunity to stress the importance of recognizing and appreciating staff through "love languages" in the workplace. She noted that these expressions of recognition can differ for each employee and emphasized the need to conduct research to better understand each employee's unique preferences. Surveys will be carried out across the entire Justice Ministry to ensure that recognition is tailored to individual needs. The Justice Minister commended Henrietta Doran-York for consistently and thoughtfully recognizing the Prison Officers throughout the years.
The event also provided a moment to reflect on the prison's history. Henrietta Doran- York shared some historical facts, including that the first prison was opened on October 16, 1990. It was Ms. Eulalie Meyers who laid the first stone at the prison. Prison Officers' Day, is originally celebrated annually on the second Saturday of October, but was graciously postponed to enable prison officers to participate in the Police Week activities held around that time.
The celebration of ‘Prison Officers’ Day was a heartfelt tribute to the dedication, sacrifice, and invaluable contributions of the prison officers who continue to safeguard Sint Maarten's society. It was a day to honor the past, recognize the present, and inspire the future of prison services in the region.