Former Director of Corrections Hilary Herman is back at his old job.
It’s Herman’s third stint at the helm of Saint Lucia’s Correctional Services, having served in that capacity from 2002 to 2008, from 2009 to 2014 and currently.
Herman was also Director of Corrections in the US Virgin Islands, a position he resigned after he was recalled to serve here from 2009.
Confirmation of his reappointment here has come from Minister of Home Affairs, Hermangild Francis, who also has responsibility for National Security and Justice.
“I promised the public that we would move very speedily to have a new director,” Francis recalled in an interview with St Lucia Times.
He thanked former director Vern Guard whom he asserted had done a ‘fantastic job’.
Guard is currently Superintendent of Prisons in the British Virgin Islands.
Francis expressed the view that the BVI recognised Guard because of his proficiency on the job as Director of Corrections in Saint Lucia.
He also thanked Leonard Terrance who ‘held on’ as director for almost a year and did ‘a very good job’.
The minister disclosed that there were about five applicants for the post of Director of Corrections.
“Mr. Hilary Herman topped the interview session,” Francis explained.
“His name was recommended to the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister has agreed, with my concurrence, to make him the director,” the Minister told St Lucia Times.
Francis spoke ahead of a meeting Wednesday with the newly appointed director and senior officials of Bordelais Correctional Facility (BCF).
He told St Lucia Times that the purpose of the gathering was to give the BCF officials a ‘synopsis’ of what he as minister required of them and request that they give the new director the help needed to bring the facility ‘back to what it should be.’
In response to suggestions that there has been animosity towards Herman, Francis said he did not know of any such feelings.
“I know for a fact that he is a very good individual. When you look at the prison – when you look at the uniforms; he was the first person to have come here and introduced that sort of uniforms for the facility.”
Francis described Hilary Herman as being a very experienced individual.
“Hopefully, with the assistance of the senior officers things will go on well,” the minister stated.
He said he had spoken with some officers who have indicated that they are very happy that Herman is back on the job.
The new Director of Corrections officially took up duties on October 2, the minister disclosed, adding that the length of his contract has to be discussed.
Francis said officers within the system had applied for the job but he declared that there is a process which was adhered to in that the the Public Service Commission (PSC) dealt with the matter.
“I am sure if it was left to the Minister or the Prime Minister to decide on their own to choose an individual, then you would hear political bias and everything like that. So the procedure was adhered to and this is the person who was recommended to the prime minister. The prime minister informed me and asked whether I was comfortable or not – I said ‘Yes, I am very comfortable’ and we appointed him,” the minister told St Lucia Times.
“We have to work with what we have and at the end of the day there are some very young officers there – this is one of the things I want to discuss with him; that the succession planning has to take place within the organisation.”
According to Francis, it is not a good thing to be recalling people to head an organisation like the prison.
“There is a defect and again, we are only here for three years and that didn’t start with us,” he explained, referencing the current tenure of the ruling United Workers Party (UWP) administration in office.
Francis said he was not blaming anyone.
“We want to go forward and in going forward, I am going to ensure that we have the succession planning in place,” he revealed.
Well informed sources told St Lucia Times that Leonard Terrance, who is ‘technically on leave’ will likely serve as Hilary Herman’s deputy.