Officials at Her Majesty’s Prison honored three of their fallen comrades Sunday during Remembrance Day celebrations observed at the Wall of Remembrance located on the Prison compound.
The Prison Wall of Remembrance was dedicated in January, 2008 as a testimonial to the men and women who served at the Prison.
The three: former Superintendent of Prisons Lawrence Major, former Chief Officer Freddie Ferguson and former Prison Officer Trevor Seiwnath were added to the list of men and women whose names are inscribed on the Wall of Remembrance.
Minister of National Security, the Hon. Tommy Turnquest said the Wall immortalizes “a special kind of Bahamian, those who were prison officers.”
“Today, as we reflect on those who have passed on during the course of the past year, we recognize with pride, the patriotism and commitment to duty associated with their service to the Prison,” Mr. Turnquest said.
“I continue to reiterate that the Prison Service is not an easy job and is certainly not a job for the faint of heart. There is much that this nation asks of prison officers. Today, we honour the service of three men who served Her Majesty’s Prisons with distinction, honour and pride,” Mr. Turnquest added.
Minister Turnquest said it was fitting that the ceremony of Remembrance at the Prison compound coincided with the national Remembrance Day Ceremony which was held at the Cenotaph, located downtown Nassau.
Mr. Turnquest said Remembrance Day is “one of the most patriotic” ceremonies on the nation’s calendar.
“It is a time when the nation recognizes and acknowledges the timeless and invaluable contributions of courageous Bahamians who made the ultimate sacrifice serving our beloved country. We respect and salute them,” Mr. Turnquest added.
The National Security Minister told prison officials that the Government of The Bahamas is mindful of the challenges that confront them and will continue its efforts to ensure that their work environment is safe and secure at all times, while assisting in their personal development and advancement.
“By their very nature, prisons are challenging environments that require a special measure of dedication and devotion to duty,” Mr. Turnquest said. “That is why this Wall of Remembrance is such an important aspect of the landscape at Her Majesty’s Prison. While no one is in a rush to have his or her name placed on the wall, it is gratifying to know that upon passing from this side to the next, there is in place a permanent memorial to the services and sacrifices rendered as officers of Her Majesty’s Prison.
“To the Major, Ferguson and Seiwnath families and to the family members of other officers already memorialized on the Wall, I encourage you to remain strong as you reflect positively on the lives of your dearly departed. I want you to know that we respect and salute them also and that we thank you for their service to our country,” Mr. Turnquest added.
Former Superintendent of Prisons Lawrence Major served in The Royal Bahamas Police and Defence Forces and upon his retirement, was invited to serve as Superintendent of Her Majesty’s Prison “at a time when there was a need to bolster staff morale and discipline.”
Known for his “no-nonsense” style, Superintendent Major was able to ensure that a regimen of discipline and respect for law and order among staff and inmates was maintained, prison records state.
Former Chief Officer Freddie Ferguson gave in excess of 30 years of service to Her Majesty’s Prison and at the time of his death in January 2008, commanded the exercise yard within the Maximum Security Housing Unit – a job that is considered a tough assignment reserved only for those who are “firm yet fair; fearless, yet reasonable.”
Former Prison Officer Trevor Seiwnath was recruited from his native Trinidad and Tobago and joined the Department of Prisons in 1968. Officer Seiwnath, according to prison records, had an “insatiable appetite and love for reading and education and used these skills and passions to help inmates learn to read.” He passed away in 2005.