Saint Lucia’s Director of Corrections, Vern Guard, has tendered his resignation, disclosing that to foster the development of his own career he had decided to take up a post elsewhere.
He is due to become Superintendent of Prisons in the British Virgin Islands (BVI).
“The issue with me now is that I am currently between contracts and because I am between contracts, I am in a position where I can look at what my options are and choose accordingly,” Guard told St Lucia Times.
He disclosed that on February 27, he officially retired from the public service.
“From there, I did get an extension of my situation, facilitated by contract. However the contractual arrangement was not, and still is not really prepared to a point where I could have signed off on it and there were other opportunities that I was faced with, and I looked at what is better for my career development right now,” Guard explained.
He asserted that there have been several achievements at the Bordelais Correctional Facility (BCF).
“To measure and say which one is greater than the other – it would be quite difficult.”
“But I would say the fact that I could have followed the Correctional Service Act as it is required, to me that in itself consolidates my achievements,” Guard remarked.
He said he inherited a facility where things were not being done ‘in a particular way.’
“Corrections is a very, very difficult job. You have to make very, very difficult decisions. However, the decisions have to be fine tuned and fine tuned at all levels. So I was able to work within the context of the Correctional Service Act to ensure I deliver a professional service,” the outgoing Director of Corrections sated.
Nevertheless, Guard observed that there had been quite a few setbacks.
He told St Lucia Times that the main setback has been the issue of funding.
“The funding with regard to rehabilitation has been very tight because Saint Lucia is not in the best of fiscal positions and so you find that a lot of what we want to do , the funding prevents from doing it.”
However, Guard said none of what has been achieved at the BFC would have been possible had the facility not had such a good officer and civilian corps.
“They are the ones who really have to take the credit for what has happened at Bordelais for the last three years.”
He said he has no doubt that the officers will continue to create a good national security environment at the prison, under a new command.
Guard’s resignation takes effect on July 1, 2018.