Sat, Apr


The Fut­sal pro­gramme was in­tro­duced to the na­tion’s prison in April 2017 with the as­sis­tance of for­mer na­tion­al foot­baller Clay­ton Mor­ris. It seemed to be hav­ing a pos­i­tive im­pact in­side the jails. How­ev­er, the mur­der of Pris­ons Su­per­in­ten­dent Wayne Jack­son in Oc­to­ber 2018 ex­posed a dark side of the pro­gramme. Fol­low­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions, Guardian Me­dia in­ter­viewed Pris­ons Com­mis­sion­er Ger­ald Wil­son who spoke frankly about Jack­son’s mur­der and the Fut­sal pro­gramme. Here is the first part of his in­ter­view with GML’s Lead Ed­i­tor of the In­ves­tiga­tive Desk Mark Bas­sant.

I want to take you back to the Fut­sal fi­nal in Ju­ly 2018 which was on a Sat­ur­day. Pris­ons of­fi­cers I spoke with said Mr Clay­ton Mor­ris had a meet­ing with Mr Jack­son and oth­er se­nior of­fi­cers pri­or to the fi­nal to de­cide on the menu which was buss up shut and cur­ry chick­en. How­ev­er, when the food ar­rived and two black Navar­ras pulled up out­side, the first pris­ons of­fi­cer raised a red flag and he called up­stairs. A pris­ons of­fi­cer then said let them through and they got to the sec­ond gate and then to the gym and where it was dis­cov­ered there was pack­aged food which al­so con­tained wild meat. Mr Jack­son said he could not al­low the wild meat in­side. Can you con­firm this was the case?

Wil­son: That is cor­rect what you have out­lined on the day of the in­ci­dent that is what I heard. I was on va­ca­tion but that is what I heard. The Com­mis­sion­er of Pris­ons has the pre­rog­a­tive to au­tho­rise or not au­tho­rise food to come in. Some of the pro­grammes, for in­stance, some of the small church­es come in at Christ­mas time and then we al­low them to bring food at the end of the ses­sion in the spir­it of Christ­mas but it must be from a cater­er who we would have as­sessed. It can­not be from Tom, Dick, and Har­ry for se­cu­ri­ty rea­sons. When it comes in, we search, we al­so search to en­sure noth­ing is il­lic­it in the items.

At the meet­ing with Clay­ton Mor­ris he was told it was a cater­er and the cater­er must not be as­so­ci­at­ed with an in­mate, it must be an in­de­pen­dent per­son vet­ted by us. My in­for­ma­tion is that it did not hap­pen! I think in Clay­ton Mor­ris’s case he did a fan­tas­tic job in terms of the Fut­sal. In terms of the re­la­tion­ship, this is where the out­ma­noeu­vring comes in, so I do not know who would have con­vinced him be­cause, but Clay­ton Mor­ris came from UTT, which was a UTT pro­gramme. They would send him out and he would do these pro­grammes. So I un­der­stand the day of the fi­nals they re­alise it had wild meat and they were like who au­tho­rise this and then Mr Jack­son said that he was not go­ing to take it. But I’ll tell you this my in­for­ma­tion is too that Mr Jack­son said the food is here al­ready, we will not take the wild­meat but we’ll take the oth­er things and search them and what have you.

Did you think Mr Jack­son’s de­nial of the food could have been a rea­son for his death?

Wil­son: Whether Mr Jack­son’s death was due to the de­nial of food I do not know but pri­or to that in­ci­dent with the Fut­sal and the fi­nals, there was an­oth­er is­sue with Mr Jack­son and some­thing else he de­cid­ed he did not want to en­ter­tain and it is sug­gest­ed that may have been the rea­son and not so much the fi­nal of the Fut­sal.

What was that?

Wil­son: That would have been the Eid cel­e­bra­tion and the same bring­ing of the food and things like that, so I un­der­stand that some per­sons were not too hap­py about the de­nial of that meal and in­for­ma­tion is a bit not so con­clu­sive in terms of what would have cre­at­ed the ag­i­ta­tion. I sus­pect it would have been some­thing. I mean no one would have gone at a Su­per­in­ten­dent at that lev­el un­less there was some­thing that cre­at­ed that prob­lem, so we look at Fut­sal on one end and the oth­er thing on the oth­er end. Which one it is I do not know. But I am say­ing that is an­oth­er thing you can look at too, which one was it that was bandied about, these per­sons want­ed the meal and he said no, and it cre­at­ed some hard feel­ings and that type of thing and then they had the Fut­sal thing where some of the food was turned away so, when you look at both of them you can prob­a­bly weigh it.

In a pre­vi­ous con­ver­sa­tion with now Act­ing Com­mis­sion­er of Pris­ons Dane Clarke he said there was an in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­to all as­pects of Fut­sal as well as an on­go­ing po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Can you give us clar­i­ty on where this in­ves­ti­ga­tion has reached and why was the Fut­sal pro­gramme stopped?

Wil­son: My con­cern, when I got the in­for­ma­tion, would have been the food com­ing in and the fact there was a meet­ing held and how we could hold a meet­ing with Clay­ton Mor­ris. He would have been giv­en cer­tain in­struc­tions and in­for­ma­tion and then move con­trary to that that is one of the things I want­ed to be in­ves­ti­gat­ed. How­ev­er, the as­pect with Mr Jack­son and whether it was be­cause of that, that would be a po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion. But in­ter­nal­ly that both­ered me. Why would you have a meet­ing? You would have been told the yes’s and the no’s and then de­cide to do what you want.

Why would per­sons be able to bring those items if they were told dif­fer­ent­ly? So then re­mem­ber Mr Jack­son was a pop­u­lar Su­per­in­ten­dent and per­son and his death cre­at­ed some an­i­mos­i­ty among of­fi­cers, so in that re­gard, I de­cid­ed that be­cause Clay­ton Mor­ris would have been tar­get­ed as the per­son who would have al­lowed those per­sons to come in and prob­a­bly did not man­age the thing prop­er­ly and in or­der not to bring grief to of­fi­cers or con­tin­ued grief I de­cid­ed (1) we would in­ves­ti­gate to find out what would have caused that and (2) to cut the pro­gramme for a while so of­fi­cers will not see him and re­hash what hap­pened.

In ref­er­ence to the in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion al­lud­ed to by Mr Clarke and Jack­son’s death, where has that reached since it has been more than a year and a half?

Wil­son: We suf­fer from clo­sure most times when of­fi­cers die. We keep ask­ing the ques­tion how and of­fi­cers re­main with anx­i­ety and dis­ap­point­ment and we do not ever get clo­sure. We are still guess­ing what caused it and who would have done it. It is not a nice feel­ing.

There was an­oth­er in­ci­dent in­volv­ing Mr Mor­ris and him bring­ing in a civil­ian with him in his ve­hi­cle dur­ing the Fut­sal pro­gram at the Max­i­mum Se­cu­ri­ty Prison. I un­der­stand pris­ons of­fi­cers were very con­cerned about this in­ci­dent?

Wil­son: I had spo­ken to Clay­ton about it. I called him and I said I heard this tran­spired and I am to­tal­ly up­set about it I say be­cause the pro­gramme is not pop­u­lar you have to re­mem­ber I have a du­ty of care to of­fi­cer and in­mate so if of­fi­cers are ag­griev­ed about some­thing I have to un­der­stand where they com­ing from too and what you did there was ab­solute­ly wrong and even though you saw the per­son and you re­alise they walk­ing in and they late, let them go through the gate you can­not bring them in your ve­hi­cle.

I was re­al­ly was up­set, I told him the same way I en­dorse the pro­gramme is the same way I shut it down as fast as I en­dorse it.

Is it be­cause he cre­at­ed a se­cu­ri­ty risk?

Wil­son: Ex­act­ly and the of­fi­cers are right if they up­set about it they are quite right. I say I do not care who it is I called him and if you speak to him he will tell you I did that, I re­al­ly chas­tised him for it you know the pro­gramme not pop­u­lar among a lot of of­fi­cers they did not want it. They found a lot of these high-risk in­mates hav­ing it their way and there you are com­ing in now and say­ing you giv­ing some­body a lift. I say how could you do that and the rea­son we al­lowed him to come on the com­pound with his ve­hi­cle be­cause he brought in the balls and all the thing and we al­lowed him that and we would have searched him as any­body else.

Though Fut­sal has been stopped in­def­i­nite­ly, how would you sum up the pro­gramme’s per­for­mance in the pris­ons?

Wil­son: I thought it was a re­al­ly good pro­gramme and it cre­at­ed a bit of com­fort among those per­sons who were al­ways in fights and by the time they got to play, there was a lev­el of calm among those per­sons who were al­ways row­dy and use to fight. The pro­gramme I lat­er de­cid­ed to move to oth­er pris­ons then.

SOURCE: T&T Guardian