Prison gets new head just as BP projected in December – Rahming heads to Washington DC…

Outgoing Superintendent of Prisons Elliston Rahming says farewell remarks at the Handing Over Ceremony of the Office of Superintendent of Prison at Her Majesty’s Prisons, Thursday, April 12, 2013.

NASSAU, The Bahamas — Dr. Elliston Rahming said he leaves the post as Superintendent of Her Majesty’s Prisons with his “head unbowed” and his “name intact”.

“Despite the stubborn problems that persist, I believe history would confirm I left the prison a certainly better place at least than I found it,” Dr. Rahming said at the Handing Over Ceremony of the Office of Superintendent of Prison at Her Majesty’s Prisons, Thursday, April 11, 2013.

Long Serving prison officer Patrick Wright is the new Superintendent (Acting) effective April 12, 2013. He is the recipient of the Long Service and Good Conduct Awards for his outstanding service to the prison and achieved the position of Assistant Superintendent in March 2013.

Dr. Rahming said, “Whenever my posting to the Prison was questioned by those who thought I was depriving them of their divine right I always reminded them I was sent here not just to run the Prison, but to transform it.

“Though incomplete, the work I believe is well on the way. Whatever transformative steps were taken over the past eight years, the real credit must go to the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Perry Christie who appointed me; the Hon. Cynthia Pratt who nurtured me; the Hon. Tommy Turnquest who sustained me; Dr. the Hon. Bernard Nottage who inspired me; the Hon. Keith Bell who challenged me and the three Permanent Secretaries who supported me and indeed to the dedicated hardworking officers of Her Majesty’s Prisons.”

Dr. Rahming said there would still be those who belittle the love of progress.

However in response he said, “There is none so blind as he who refuses to see”.

Dr. Rahming added that the journey from 2005 to the present has been challenging and exhilarating.

“I say without hesitation that there is no greater way to serve The Bahamas than to look after the welfare, safety and reformation of those whom the Good Book calls ‘the least of these’. There is no higher calling, no nobler endeavour, and no greater honour.”

Dr. Rahming explained that his connection to Her Majesty’s Prison goes back to 1982 when part of his portfolio was relations with the prison during the period he was the special assistant to then Prime Minister Sir Lynden Pindling.

Since then he headed the Prison Reform Commission, Chaired the Prison Sub-Committee of the National Crime Commission, and served as Consultant Advisor on Crime within the Ministry of National Security with particular focus on Her Majesty’s Prisons.

“So this has been a 30-year journey; a 30-year on and off relationship that culminated in 2005 with my appointment as Superintendent.”

Dr. Rahming also had some words for his successor.

“The Government has chosen for a veteran officer to succeed me and I wish him well.”

He said, “When I thought that perhaps my successor might have come from the outside, I thought that I would borrow the phrase from Harry Truman, a former American President and give him the advice that Truman gave his successor.

“Truman said to him, ‘If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.’”

Dr. Rahming said, “Yet I must leave some parting words for my successor.  So I will borrow and paraphrase the words of Mark Twain.  Only to remind my successor that gossip and untruths will do 100 laps around the prison compound before the truth gets its shoes on.”

He also added that he hoped that Wright’s appointment means the practice of promotions based on next in line will be a thing of the past.

“Next in line promotions at the executive level promotes mediocrity and cripples individual initiative and personal endeavour.

At the executive level it is my submission that promotions should be based on the six E’s of excellence – experience, education, exposure, ethics, enthusiasm and effort,” Dr. Rahming said.

Dr. Rahming next appointment will be as Ambassador to the United States and Permanent Representative to the Organisation of American States.