BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Friday December 7, 2018 – The President of Barbados’ Prison Officers Association is facing the possibility of having to reside in the same place he now works – but on the opposite side of the prison bars.
That’s the penalty Trevor Browne could face if he is found guilty of encouraging four other prison officers to stay off the job in May this year.
Browne, who has been in the Prison Service for 34 years, pleaded not guilty to the charges when he appeared in court this morning, with several prison officers on hand to offer moral support, and was granted BDS$1,000 (US$500) bail.
It is alleged that that between May 1 and 9, he maliciously endeavoured to seduce prison officer Shanell Ellis-Vaughn, Ophneal Austin, David Davis and Stephenson Trotman from their duties.
Browne was charged under Section 27, Chapter 168 of the Prison Act which states that: “Any person who, directly or indirectly, instigates, commands, counsels or solicits any meeting, sedition or disobedience to any lawful command of a prison officer to any other prison officer, or maliciously endeavours to seduce any prison officer from his allegiance or duty, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of one year.”
He returns to court on February 18 next year.
Industrial relations consultant to the Prison Officers Association, Senator Caswell Franklyn, told online newspaper Barbados TODAY that the development was a “sad day” for the workers’ representative movement.
“…For that to happen to one of [the trade unions and staff associations in Barbados] as a result of exposing themselves to represent workers, it’s a sad day,” said Franklyn, who is also General Secretary of the Unity Trade Union.
Browne won a lawsuit against Superintendent of Prisons John Nurse three months ago, in which the High Court ordered the prison boss to promote him.
He is currently seeking to have Nurse held in contempt of the court order handed down by Justice William Chandler. On September 4, the judge ruled that Browne was entitled to be paid the salary of an orderly officer during the period he worked as such; that he was wrongfully passed over for promotion by not being appointed to act in available posts of orderly officer between April 4, 2009 and September 30, 2015; and that he merits being appointed to the post whenever it next became available.
Justice Chandler also ordered that he be paid, as damages, the difference between the salary of an orderly officer and the lesser salary that he was paid for, all previous periods that he worked in the post of orderly officer but was not paid the salary of that post, and the period that he should have been appointed to act in available orderly officer posts but was not placed so.
He had also instructed Superintendent Nurse to immediately take “appropriate” action to facilitate the claimant being appointed to act in a post of orderly officer by the Public Service Commission.