A BRITON who spent three years imprisoned in Barbados has written a graphic and detailed
account of his jail time at Glendairy and Harrison Point prisons, on a website associated
with a support service for foreign prisoners.
The Glendairy Prison on fire in Barbados
A BRITON who spent three years imprisoned in Barbados has written a graphic and detailed account
of his jail time at Glendairy and Harrison Point prisons, on a website associated with a support
service for foreign prisoners.
Terrence George Donaldson, who was convicted on August 20,
2002 and sentenced to four years in prison for trafficking and attempting to export cocaine,
was recently released from Harrison Point.
Now back in his homeland, Donaldson reveals all
about what he witnessed during his term behind bars in Barbados including drug dealing,
homosexuality, the burning of Glendairy and the conditions at the temporary prison at
Today the WEEKEND NATION reproduces an edited version of his story.
The website, which was established in 1995, is a volunteer prison advocacy service for
families whose relatives are interned in a foreign country.
MY NAME is
Terry Donaldson and this is my story.
I was a junky, had been for years. At the time of my recruitment I had been back on the stuff - crack cocaine and heroin - for a few years.
Prior to my relapse, I had a four-bedroom house, a wife, a Mercedes Benz 320, and a career in television.
By the time the drugs had worn off, I was left with nothing, except debts totalling about 100 grand [$100 000] and an infection of Hepatitis C.
Then I was offered a trip abroad - to "do a run" - to fly out to some place and bring back a suitcase full of cocaine.
For this I was to be paid five grand [$5 000]. Believe it or not, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Next thing I know I'm being held at Grantley Adams International Airport, Barbados, by about a dozen gargantuan types, a collection of police and customs officers.
I must have seemed quite out of it - they seemed to think I wasn't all there.
Next day - court appearance.
I was actually relieved when the magistrate, a Mrs. Marva Clarke, handed me a four-year sentence at Oistins Magistrates' Court. It could have been a lot worse. If I hadn't been nearly doubled up with the pains from heroin withdrawal, I might even have danced a jig.
The cops seemed pissed off that I got off lighter than a local man who'd been caught stealing bottles of mauby - and he had just got a five-year sentence.
I arrived at Glendairy Prison in a police minibus with its siren bleating. I passed through reception, watched as the stooges that were toe-ragging for the system ripped my towel in half.
These were the motley collection of prisoners that the system there made
a point of turning into arch informants who ran around and used their powers to try and have sex with young male prisoners that they might be able to inveigle into drug-taking.
Their activities were well-known by all the staff at Glendairy. The principle of institutionalised rape was always held over the heads of anyone that the system might want to strike down, or make an example of.
Senior officers would delegate considerable powers to certain prisoners - such as Nook Nook, who was one of the first to get murdered when the riot broke out, having his head smashed in with a hammer by a group of prisoners, at the orders of one of the prison employees.
The issue of Nook Nook and the massive sexual abuse of the young male prisoners was the single most significant cause of the riots which broke out on March 29, 2005.
In the run-up to the outbreak, a certain prisoner had developed the reputation for forcing "blow jobs" on many of the younger males.
One employee was known to have a strong interest in the welfare of particularly this age group, and a few months before ordered that all of the younger males be placed in A Corridor, which was immediately in front and adjacent to the front yard and shower unit.
One prisoner serving an indeterminate Queen's Pleasure life sentence for murder was allowed to live in his own cell in this same area.
Another prisoner tied up and raped a young male prisoner on the D &E Corridor.
On this occasion, the officer who was patrolling the corridor discovered this going on, and the molester was arrested and placed in the security wing H &I. But that was to be the only extent of his punishment.
He was there for a few months, but in Glendairy to get a cell to yourself was for many, anything but a punishment. Men were often pushed three or more into a cell, before the place was burned down.
One of the strongest men in the prison was repeatedly reported to a senior officer on matters connected with interfering sexually with some of these young males. His operating method was to offer them "free drugs" on which they would then develop
a dependency. Then he would insist on sex.
Prisoners would often die from the sheer ignorance of some of the care-takers.
On one occasion, a prisoner from Guyana, known to me as Humpty Dumpty, complained of severe chest pains.
He was told to clear off, which he was forced to do.
Within an hour he was down with a heart attack.
It took over an hour before an ambulance was called, there being no facilities for dealing with a heart attack in the entire prison.
In all my travels I can honestly say that the contempt which some of these prison warders showed for the lives of their fellows easily equals even the most contemptuous racism I've seen in other places.
But what happened after this incident was also interesting.
One prisoner from Britain, a tiny, five-foot tall lad who weighed about eight stones, wrote a letter to one of the island's newspapers - it might have been THE NATION or The Advocate - and succeeded in smuggling this letter out of the prison, telling them what had happened in this incident.
When the story came out, Superintendent of Prisons Lt. Col. John Nurse directed the full scope of his resources - not to discovering why this foreign national had died unnecessarily in a Bajan jail - but to the source of this "security leak".
Eventually it came to light who the author was, with the result that the offending culprit - a man from Hornsey, north London - was cast into the condemned section, allowed out only whilst wearing leg irons, even in the presence of British consular officials.
Sexual innuendo was very often the order of the day at Glendairy. Women employees were allowed very close proximity to male prisoners, especially those who were
in for rape.
One of them had, over the years, developed an affinity for one of the prisoners.
She put that prisoner in charge of looking after the cigarettes of the non-nationals and, strangely enough, there were always several packets missing each month.
If anyone ever complained to her, she would always react very negatively to the person who complained, accusing them of "making up stories" to try and discredit her protégé.
This woman was known for wearing bright dresses, bright shoes, with matching handbag, and always slowed down on her ceremonial walk up the steps, where she would change into her uniform.
On one occasion she offered herself to a friend of mine - whose identity I will protect, as he is still there and serving a life sentence - saying that "for the front door she wanted $60 (Bajan), while for the back it would be more - $120".
Drugs were always flowing into the prison. John Nurse tried to cut back on it, probably on the basis that drug-taking was a negative activity.
But, unfortunately, as time went on more and more of his own people were discovered at the centre of drug-dealing inside the prison.
Where he uncovered this, John Nurse would invariably sack the person.
But these things are organised and involve maybe 20 or 30 people.
They generally don't like anyone who betrays their own kind and tend to shield one another in times of trouble.
But there were dozens of mobile phones, large quantities of weed and cocaine available in the prison at any time, and although much of it came over the wall there was some that came through via the very people who were supposed to be upholding the law and setting an example.
Having given you a bit of background about the prison, I'd like to take you now straight to the events on the day of March 29, 2005. I was there, and saw quite a bit of the action.
The rest I heard about from those who had actually seen certain things, such as the murder of Nook Nook, or the near-fatal assault on Most Wanted (another prisoner).
It must have been about 11 a.m. that one of the prison officers called Most Wanted into his office to question him about a conflict that was ongoing between him and
a much-younger lad from A Corridor.
Most Wanted was standing in the officer's office, when suddenly the other lad in the conflagration drew his jooker (home-made knife), and made to attack Most Wanted.
Most Wanted drew his jooker and the younger lad called out and found himself supported with about a dozen or so others from A Corridor, also carrying their jookers.
They were ready to kill Most Wanted.
From somewhere in the room he managed to pick up a spare brick that just happened to be lying about, and with all his force he flung it at a prisoner called Badmouth, the leader of this posse.
The rock missed, but hit someone else, taking their left eye clean out. Those who saw it said that they could see it hanging outside the smashed eye-socket by its stalk.
By now there was blood everywhere.
During this part of the action I was in the Mess Hall, but even though I didn't know exactly what was going on I could see from the milling around of the crowds outside that something was about to go off.
Someone slapped the officer on his head and he left, locking the door of his office behind him, with only Badmouth inside. But Badmouth and the other youngsters were baying for the blood of Most Wanted by now. There was blood on the walls, on the floor, and the smell of it tends to have an effect.
Continued in tomorrow's saturday sun.
News Source - The Nation News Barbados
Terrence Donaldson Case Information