Candidate calls for heads to roll at prison

| 07/04/2009

(CNS): In the wake of the announcement that a serving inmate at Northward Prison has been arrested for the murder of Sabrina Schirn, political candidate in the prison’s district of Bodden Town, Sandra Catron, has called for not only an immediate investigation but also the suspension of prison management and staff involved. Catron said it was shocking and abhorrent that someone who was incarcerated because he had already broken society’s laws should be afforded the opportunity to re-offend while in prison.

Although no one has yet been found guilty and no charges have been brought against the prisoner, Catron expressed her dissatisfaction that there was any possibility of any offender committing a crime while serving time. “This is by far one of the most unreal situations I have ever heard of,” said the independent candidate. “How can any of us feel safe knowing that even after incarcerations we are still not safe from criminals.”

The Acting Chief Officer in the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs, Franz Manderson, said today that following the judicial process there would be an investigation and a review of what happened. However, Catron said in a statement that the people could not wait that long and an investigation needed to be undertaken now. She said that Commissioner of Corrections and Rehabilitation Dr William Rattray was in post from overseas because Cayman is said not to have the level of expertise, and we should continue to hold him to such a high standard as they are accustomed to overseas and put him on immediate suspensions pending a full independent investigation. “The officers on duty that day should be afforded the same just treatment,” she said.

The prison stated today that the farm release programme had been suspended since Schirn’s body was discovered however, it did not say if other programmes were continuing and whether inmates were still being released into the community for sporting and other local events. Catron called for the immediate suspension of the work release programmes until adequate security measures could be implemented.

She said that before workers returned to the farm, security lookout towers with armed guards needed to be erected, prisoners must be stopped from using and collecting cell phones when on release, and law enforcement tracking bracelets should be attached to all prisoners outside of the prison.
Reacting to Rattray’s comments that the prisoner in question was not a violent offender, she said the general public needed to realize that because someone was incarcerated for a particular crime did not mean they were not capable of committing a more serious offence.

“The fact of the matter is, often the prosecutor is only able to get a successful prosecution on one of potentially numerous offenses. We should not take comfort in this to the point of ignoring all sensible security measures,” she said. “The comparison of teachers to prison officers in my opinion shows a real lack of understanding that the prison is not a school. These are two very different types of institutions and should have internal procedures that reflect that," Catron added, regarding Rattray’s comment at the press briefing on Friday 3 April.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    "Do business with a fine gentlemen who is guided by common sense ( McKeeva Bush)"?

    Well, that’s precisely the problem. Most people would love to do business with him.  He’s not a gentleman at all – unless you count selling out our country to other people. AND this is not doing business this is running the country NOT into the ground; but for the betterment of all of our people.

    Now we see what the problem is. Maybe IF he had a little education he would not be so damn greedy as he COULD actually come out of politics and do something else with his life.

  2. Anonymous says:


    Why Do We hire UK Persons at Prison? Have a look at this latest prison ordeal there:

    • Anonymous says:

      In answer to why do we hire uk persons at prison?

      Mainly because the Caymanians won’t do the job – they find themselves threatened by inmates into bringing in drugs or making concessions to them which they should not get because the inmates know where their families live.  As to the disturbance at Ashworth it was caused by the fact that the prison was a Category C prison housing more dangerous Cat B inmates without the facilities and personnel do deal with such persons.  As a consequence the privilege system within prison – mainly of TVs within their cells – was divided unequally leading to a feeling of disparity between the inmates who subsequently rioted.  Please try to be properly informed before you post in a knee jerk fashion.  Thank you

      • Anonymous says:

        you will find that there are only about 3 or 4 prison guards from Uk at Northward.

        As for the problems at ashwell (not ashworth) it happened due to the year on year budget cuts and cutting safe staffing levels where guards are unable to control situations on the spot.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Prison leadership has been fired for far less – recall Smith?. Sandra calls for an immediate suspension, investigation and then we cansee what investigation has to say.

    The bottom line is we need to have some standards and just because the head guy is from overseas does not mean that anything has improved at the prison. We are just wasting more money is all.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Yes, that’s right – Rattray was not here then. We brought him in for a reason or are we paying him a BIG salary for it to be business as usual? What exactly does he do sitting in the glass house anyway?

  5. Anonymous says:


  6. Anonymous says:

    Good job Sandy. Please keep bringing these issues to the forefront. The mere fact that you are willing to speak out is important. We need these issues to be exposed fully with changes to follow.

    Keep being a government watch dog! You will take Bodden Town with flying colours!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Reglardless of whether a prisoner has been incarcerated for a violent crime or not – they are still a prisoner and there is obviously a reason for them to be kept away from the rest of the public.

    Perhaps he went to jail for petty theft, should he be left to roam about to steal again? Unfortunately this case is much worse than robbery – (although he has NOT been proven guitly).

    Prisoners do need to be watched better. "Even a teacher can’t keep their eye on every student" – PATHETIC EXCUSE!! Firstly: THEY ARE NOT STUDENTS!

    Secondly: Not enough prison guards to watch them? Then less prisoners to be watched! OR INCREASE THE AMOUNT OF GUARDS WATCHING OVER THEM so that they can be kept closely watched.

    I agree, ANKLE MONITORS is a good way to go – even if it is only for when they are off prison grounds – even if we have to go back to the CHAIN GANG DAYS! At least 1 wouldn’t be able to run off!!!!!!!

    OUTRAGEOUS & disenheartening to know that our Police/prison staff are more concered about covering it up, than protecting us!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Sack him yes! Sandra has every right to call for this – I’m not sure what you mean by who is she?! If we had more persons’ like Sandra in the community we woudl be BLESSED!

    As Sandra said, we have hired Rattray because he has such experience and comes from a place where they have such high standards. Well they should know as the UK has the highest incarceration rate per capita in all of Europe! In the UK he would still not have a job; that much is certain. They are completely lacking:

    Read this and educate yourselves:

  9. Anonymous says:

    She had my vote last time and will get it again.  

  10. Anonymous says:

    Sandra’s recommendations are completely appropriate:

    Rattray needs to go as well as the officers on duty at the farm that day.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I’m glad to see Sandra has spoken out about this. Her voice and persistance impress me the most. We need a voice like hers!

  12. Truthfinder says:

    Get a Grip,

    You certainly CANNOT be talking about Sandra Catron. This young lady has proved herself more than capable and the people are well aware of THAT FACT. This young lady is more than capable and able to represent the people of the Cayman Islands. Moreover, she actually has a track record. Trust me when I say if you want to do get something done SANDRA IS THE GO TO PERSON!

    Bodden Town needs and deserves a person like Sandra. Sandra will get into Bodden Town from all that I see.

    Also, Sandra has NEVER said that she has all the answers. In fact, I just heard her this week on the radio saying that she does extensive research and then sees what can be applied and tweaked for the Cayman Islands. Why are the other candidates and even current members of the LA not doing that much? With the research capabilities that are available to them it’s a crying shame that they don’t do better.

    Sandra remains consistent and as a result has earned my vote. She’s just sharing her opinion on this matter and how outraged she is and has suggested some security measures that are well known the world over.

    Keep going Sandra – Right to Victory on 20th May!

    • Anonymous says:

      One ting dey can’t throw at Sandra, is that she is uneducated. Right now she is the only female on the trail that will soon hold her Doctorate.  You go girl!!

      After having said that–  now bear in mind,  formal education does not make one better or even smarter than the next, nor does it mean that one even has common sense.  After all, no amount of studying will gain you that.   But Cayman, when we continue to cry down those who don’t have a college degree we disrespect the very people who got us where we are today; our uneducated forefathers.  They did not go to university, probably some did not even go to school, yet they had more sense that the majority of us who now call Cayman home and did’nt have to go to university to get  sense etiher.  So lets get over our snobbish selves:  education is an excellent  quality but does not define an individual,  At the end of the day its good ole common sense who win  everytime.  In fact I would much prefer to do business with a fine gentlemen who is guided by common sense ( McKeeva Bush) that one who is educated (??) and a complete idiot to boot. 

      • Anonymous says:

        Education vs. Common Sense:

        One thing is for sure when you talk to Sandra you see that she can talk to anyone. She’s not above anyone and uses words that the average person can understand. More than I can say for other candidates that have 1/2 her education and talking above people’s heads.

        Make no doubt about it – Sandra may have prioritised her education but as she says on numerous occassioins she’s all about hard work and getting things done. There are many components to a good candidate. I like what she has on her website – balance! It’s more than a piece of paper; but yes, she does have that and she has gotten it through hard work.

        We all know where Sandra comes from. Neither parent had a college education and most of her siblings do not either. So no one GAVE her anything in life. She has worked damn hard for what she has and none of us should begrudge her for that. I have always found her to be a woman of the people. Most people have no idea that she even has that high level of education.

        Her comments always make sense to me and despite what people say they are well thought through and researched. I must say that I wish we had more options like her.

  13. Anonymous says:

    What gives her the authority to call for heads to roll?  Hasn’t everyone (or most at least) called for heads to roll?  Why when she asks is it "NEWS"?  Last time i checked she doesn’t run the prison or have any position of power to call for such a thing.  Am I missing something? 

    • Anonymous says:

      More people should be callinig about this. I’m surprised that there has not been more of an outrage and protest. It certainly says something about us here. Yes, this girl may not have been perfect – but she still did not deserve to lose her life.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Just a reply to a earlier comment.

    This person has not been convicted and formally charged for this crime but keep in mind that it does not mean that he isn’t guilty either! It is a scandal that a prisoner would even BE ABLE to commit such a crime and if one can get away with it then you will have more in the future.

    It is sad for the part that the ones who actually rehabilitate will no longer have these privilages but this is the real world. They would not be able to roam like the way they do here if it was any other part of the world.

    To be able to KILL,MURDER, COMMIT ANY CRIME wilst still in prison and be able to get away with it because you know it will be the last place they will look and plus have the governmet saying that it can’t happen seems like the PERFECT CRIME!!!!

    The reality is some people never change, and for the better does not mean they remain the same….SOME GET WORSE!!!

    For those who have a relative, friend, boyfriend or "babydaddy" in prison and these little activities are what gives you all extra comfort and so forth, is understandable you may get upset at the fact of losing these opportunities but someone has lost a life here! REGARDLESS OF WHAT, someone’s life was taken. This possibly could help stop the re-offenders and help give them second thoughts about going there in the first place.

    I don’t know Sabrina well, I am not her friend, relative or enemy. I am a person who wants this Island to be a better place and fight against any such crime. I live here and so does my family and children. I plan to raise my children here because this is my home and this is their home. I don’t want that to be my child one day comitting that kind of offence or being the victim.

    I pray that they find out who did this, convict them and change every system that needs to be changed so everybody can get shaken up over this and not just the community and family of Sabrina BUT EVERYONE…………….

  15. Lois says:

    It seems to me that Sandra Catron, is the only politician, thus far, who have any interest of the safety of citizens, while these prisoners are out in the open working. Imagine, convicts are out doing work, and the guards are paying no attention to these individuals who are suppose to be working in the open. If the prisoners were supervised properly, I am almost certain, that any of them, who went missing, actions would have taken place immediately, and that individual accounted for.

    Sandra cares about the people of the Cayman Islands, and she will be for the people of the Cayiman Islands, not just for Bodden Town, but an all arounder


    Sandra for Bodden Town

  16. Anonymous says:

    Good for Sandra for speaking her mind – and speaking on a subject that is actually valid and relivant – not choping at other politicians "charater" but choping at the problems that are ripping our community, family and values to pieces – sandra has a voice and is making it heard – before she became a candidate and now and I’m sure after everything with the political race is said and done.  Thank you Sandra – you have my vote and admiration!

  17. Get a grip says:

    She makes a valid point, but at the end of the day she is jumping on the bandwagon and telling people what they want to hear.

    It seems that in this election, the candidates know that few of the voters are knowledgable of the real issues and just think they are stupid and so just shout about a few of the current hot topics to try and get votes.

    Seems a lot easier than actually having a decent campaign and a clear vision of what they want to do and how they are going to pull this country out of the dire straits it has been sailing down for some time now.

    The next assembly needs to be elected on the basis of who is the most likely to have the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to get Cayman out of this rut.

    What are they going to do when the cruise ships have stopped coming and tourism is devastated?

    What are they going to do to ensure businesses still want to do business, when the tighter financial regulations start to impact them and the rising crime rates and rollovers and increasing costs of living starts sending more qualified expats scarpering home? If they can’t employ competent and qualified motivated staff these companies are not going to hang around.

    What steps are they going to take to reduce crime (especially violent crime)? which per capita is probably one of the highest rates in the civilised world.

    These are the real issues these candidates should be discussing, but unfortunately they have threadbare manifestos and instead hope they can get people to like them more by saying what people want to hear.

    Caymanians will do a massive injustice to themselves and their homelands if they do not research the candidates and vote for the most competent candidates and not just the ones throwing about the hot potato topics.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Guilty until Proven Innocent….

    I think that it MUST be noted that the person currently arrested for this offence is simply a suspect, he has not been charged and most certainly not convicted of this offence.

    It is not yet a certainty by any means that someone from the prison did kill Sabrina, and if it turns out that he did not, then all this finger pointing and passing of blame will be what most things are on this gossip infested island – speculation.

    So can i respectfully suggest that we wait to see what the outcome of the enquiry is before making all the other inmates suffer by stoping programmes, and suspending staff etc. Of course due dilligence is always important but before any one is found guilty it is important to not jump the gun.


    • Anonymous says:

      I concur that the accused  prisoner is  innocent until proven guily; however, that does not take away from the fact that the prison is glaringly lax, and no matter what the verdict, should be investigated.  Too many things go on there that are covered up. It would make your head swim and keep you wake nights if you only knew how many times those prisoners are allowed to roam amongst an unsuspecting public.  I say, you are only as strong as your weakest link, and in this case, the link starts at the top.

  19. I could’nt agree with her more!!

  20. Anonymous says:

    Sandra has made very valid points in her statements and it is a crying shame that our society is apparently still operating on re-inventing the wheel.

    Why are we treating any criminal in our society with pity as an "underdog"? We need to save or pity for others who are worthy of it.

    Thieves can get away with stealing!

    The victim is treated as a criminal!

    Immodest women who drink and commit crimes against others are treated as ladies and men are treated harsher than women for the same crime!

    Incarcerated criminals are treated with pity and basically given freedom – the freedom to choose what they want to eat, want to do, instead of being treated as they are: Criminals!

    My question for my Cayman Society is: "When are we going to uphold our Laws and stop giving preferential treatment?" This is so blantant here.

    A crime committed at any level in this society should be treated as just that! A crime!

    People in Leadership positions who commit a crime of any sort should be responsible and pay the price – but, no, instead we scream and holler that they should not take responsibility for what they have done because of their position! Fine examples!

    Our Criminal Justice System should be just that. And  it should take measures of security at all levels – from the Police Station (the first point of entry) to the Prison should present an air of what it is representing, instead here, both of these areas ooze an energy of laxity. I have witnessed it.

    Both the Police Station and the Prison needs to present a more professional sense of security for themselves and for the public’s benefit at large, as there is not much trust in such a system when it appears and operates on a level of softness below what it should be.

    Many times I do not want to turn to the our Justice system here, why? They are not showing me that they can be trusted!

    Take crime serious Cayman, then we can have faith in our own system – do not ask me to have faith in a system which is basically hypocritical. The system must prove itself.

    It is time to make HMS Northward prison a prison, not a B&B babysitting criminals!


    • Anonymous says:

      " My question for Cayman Society is"When are we going to uphold our laws and stop giving preferential treatment".

      You mean like treating foreigners equally under the law (best applicant gets the job even if its not a born Caymanian), not throwing them off island when their lover finds someone else and all sorts of other things that we all know about for years and years.???? Yeah right!  It na goin’ happen. Upholding our laws means giving Caymanians all the rights and foreigners none. I’m not saying it’s wrong, just that it’s the status quo. But the modern world is gradually encroaching on us whether we like it or not and our attitudes to change as promulgated by the people like Pastor Al (a basically decent  religiously deluded person) and Nicholas "Psycho" Psyches (aka Sykes) are just  the tip of the iceberg. They are obsessed with gays etc and are out of touch with other than religiously bigoted persons. Cayman is changing. Thank God.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Why is she the only one who has something to say about this? Why are not any of the other politicans or potential politicans taking a stand and voicing their concerns, opinions and action plans in relation to this?