BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – EMBATTLED Superintendent of Prisons Juni ‘Scrape’ Hodge is asking Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris to state what position he now holds at Her Majesty’s Prison.
Hodge, who recently spoke with WINN FM’s Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief Clive Bacchus on the subject, said he heard PM Harris mentioned in Parliament that someone was approached to take up the most senior post at Her Majesty’s Prison.
“Quite recently our Government went to Parliament and they changed the ranks structure in the institution. Of course that recommendation came from me while I was there in the office still. I sent a proposal to the Government to have the rank structure changed from Superintendent to Commissioner of Prisons/Correctional Services…but I have also heard the Prime Minister say in Parliament that there is someone who was approached and agreed to take up the post.
“Since then nothing has been said to me or my lawyers and that is why I want the Prime Minister to state categorically what is the status and the position of Juni ‘Scrape’ Hodge and the position that he holds, because he is still being paid. He was paid up to this month,” WINN FM quoted Hodge as saying.
He also claimed that so far a request for a hearing before the Public Service Commission has not been granted.
Following the retirement of Franklyn ‘Weatherman’ Dorset, Hodge was appointed Superintendent of Prisons on Monday, February 1, 2016 after he was found to be the most suitable candidate following an interview by a panel chaired by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Osmond Petty.
In late November 2017, while on vacation and amid rumours that he had received his termination notice, SKNVibes contacted Hodge who said he had met with PS Petty, who informed him that his services would no longer be needed on completion of his vacation.
“As it stands, I am still the Superintendent, but I met with Mr. Petty on Friday last [Nov. 24], and he told me he was told to inform me, or he was advised to inform me, that when my vacation expires I must not return to the prison.”
Hodge however indicated that he did not receive any formal notice of his impending termination from the PS.
“I am waiting for that, then I can do what I have to do!” he exclaimed.
His vacation was slated to end on Thursday, December 7, 2017.
Questioned about an official reason for his claim of termination, Hodge said there was none, instead he stated that “some of the senior officers made some allegations against me, one of which stated that they and I are untenable. So, as a result of that, he (the PS) was advised to inform me that I should not return to the prisons”.
“But what I find rather alarming is that if someone is in charge and a junior rank feels that he has a scene about the person - that is an institution where rank matters - and the rank must be respected, irrespective of how you feel about the person. But I would say there is more to it,” he added.
At his Monthly Press Conference on Wednesday, November 29, 2017, PM Harris was asked by a reporter to address Hodge’s issue, as he had taken to mainstream media to disclose his termination.
In response, PM Harris said that based on his knowledge Hodge was still the Superintendent of Prisons.
“As far as I am aware, he is still the Superintendent of the Prisons. Of course, he has applied for and is on vacation leave. I can’t comment on any other matter in relation to him at this particular moment in time.
“I think he had said previously, nonetheless, to a media house and so I can’t comment any further with respect to that matter. I am not sure what prompted that. That is the situation.”