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A telling story of last year's uprising at Glendairy prison in Barbados

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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 4 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 totaling 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 5 grand [$5000]. 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 4 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. His name was Williamson- a Rastaman- and he had just got a 5 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 rapists that the system there made a point of turning into the so-called 'redbands'- the arch informants that ran around with little red bands on their sleeves and used their powers to try and bull the 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 institutionalized rape was always held over the heads of anyone that the system might want to strike down, or make an example of.

Senior officers such as Mr. Carrington and Mr. Moore would delegate considerable powers to the known Bullermen- 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 the officer in charge of the carpentry shop.

The issue of the bullerman and the massive sexual abuse of the young male prisoners was the single most significant cause of the riots which broke out on March 29th, 2005.

In the run-up to the outbreak, one prisoner known as Badmouth had developed the reputation for forcing 'blow jobs' on many of the younger males. Senior Officer Moore 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- Patrick Graves- serving an indeterminate Queen's Pleasure life sentence for the murder of his mother- and a notorious bullerman was allowed to live in his own cell in this same area. Another prisoner by the name of Richard Grazettes tied up and raped a young male prisoner called Michael Thornton on D&E Corridor. On this occasion, the officer that was patrolling the Corridor discovered this going on, and Grazettes 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 food servers- known as Most Wanted- and one of the strongest men in the prison, was repeatedly reported to Senior Officer Carrington 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 'some pussy'.

Prisoners would often die from the sheer ignorance of those who were supposed to be medics. On one occasion, a prisoner from Guyana, known to me as Humpty Dumpty complained to the lady nurse in charge of the medical unit about severe chest pains. She told him to clear off, which he was forced to do. Within an hour he was down with a heart attack. It took the staff over an hour to even call an ambulance, 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 these prison officers 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, 5' tall lad that weighed about 8 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 Mr. Robert Brown, 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 officers were allowed very close proximity to male prisoners, especially those that were in for rape. One of them, a Miss King, had, over the years, developed an affinity for Orlando Lorde, in for being part of a gang of 6 that had held up a ZR bus, raped, and then killed the conductress. She put Lorde 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 Miss King, who was supposed to be the overseer of that section, she would always react very negatively to the person who complained, accusing them of 'making up stories' to try and discredit her protégé.

Miss King was known for wearing her bright red dresses, red shoes, with red handbag, and always slowed down on her ceremonial walk up the steps to the reception office, 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 dollars(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 officers were discovered at the centre of drug-dealing inside the prison. Where he uncovered this, John Nurse would invariably sack the officer, but in this situation officers are rarely in on this kind of thing individually. These things are organized, and involve maybe, twenty or thirty 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 officers that 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 29th, 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(Jones)

It must have been about 11 a.m. that Mr. Carrington called Jones into his office to question him about a conflict that as ongoing between him and a much-younger lad from A Corridor. Jones was standing in Carrington's office, when suddenly the other lad in the conflagration drew his jooker( home made knife), and made to attack Jones.

Jones 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 Jones. 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 Badmouth, the leader of this posse. The rock missed, but hit someone else, taking their left eye clean out. Those that 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 Carrington on his head, and he ran off, locking the door of his office behind him, with only Jones inside. But Badmouth and the other youngsters were baying for Jones' blood by now. There was blood on the walls, on the floor, and the smell of it tends to have an effect.

To escape being hacked down, Jones succeeded in bending back a set of iron bars which had been up in the window of the room that Carrington had made into his office. Those bars had probably been there since 1832, or whenever the prison had been built. Within moments Jones had turned them into putty, escaped through them, and was now running across the back of the prison, behind the Mess Hall.

The youngsters were after him like foxes after a hare. They saw him pass by the back of the Mess Hall, then climb the fence which separated that from the back of the Tailor's shop. Through the double gates of this they charged, and began throwing rocks and bricks. It was quite a shower they set up, and it brought Jones down. Down on the ground he lay, while one after the other the youngsters rained heavy bricks upon his head and stabbed his body in a frenzy.

The prison guards had all started vanishing at this point. In the main building fires started to break out, in individual cells. Mr. Carrington - single-handedly- tried to put out the fires but he came under a barrage of stone-throwing and had to take cover. Lt. Col. John Nurse came on the scene, very prominently wearing his red-banded hat, but his authority in the situation was totally undermined by the antics of Officer Blackman trying out his latest aikido holds on unsuspecting inmates, each of who began to resist to the max! With antics such as these, nobody was listening to John Nurse. I actually heard him say, 'Everyone to the Mess Hall', and started to move in that direction. But Sergeant Paine, one of the Dog Men, so-called because they were the dog-handlers, had already locked the Mess Hall so no-one could get in. Men were just milling about with literally no officers at hand.

There was a sudden rush of about ten to twenty guys up the stairs to the reception room. Moments later, they reappeared on the top of them, clutching armloads of other people's cigarettes in their arms. Some of these they threw down to their compatriots. I myself even managed to grab a couple of packets, something at least against the two cartons that I had just lost!

Then there seemed to be a concerted attack on the kitchen. I was there when a bunch of fellas stormed in and swept mason, the chief cook, to one side. He jumped back pretty sharpish, too, rather than get cut down by these very determined men. They proceeded to trash the place, upturning the freshly-boiled urns of white rice, and taking off with hundreds of cans of sardines. The smoke was building up by now, getting very thick, making it hard to breathe, so there was a sudden rush of everyone to get away from it all, and we moved, herd-like- down to the Farm Extension buildings.

We passed a single officer on the gate that didn't seem to be doing anything to stop anyone, and flowed on down the gully. Some of the fellas started banging on the gates of the female prison. I think their idea was to grab some pussy along the way, but luckily enough they were discouraged from this idea by a small cadre of single-minded lads that insistently moved them on. The crowd flowed down to the gates of the farm, and there some serious stoning began. Officers began running up the step there for their lives, windows were crashing inwards under a hail of stoning.

Prisoners down there had been locked up in their cells when the trouble first broke out, but now people were busy firing the cells on the ground and upper floor. Doors were crashed in and people liberated, often, in the nick of time before being fried alive. People were frying up all the chickens in the place. One guy even started to eat a raw chicken, ripping it up with his teeth. Others were firing up big pans of boiling oil into which they cast dozens of chickens. They were cooked within ten minutes or so. While we were milling around, keeping out of the way of the ever-increasingly thick level of smoke, high above us we could see a spy-plane circling round us, watching us lazily like some great vulture that has picked up the smell of death on the winds.

The next thing we knew, dozens of troops had appeared at the crest of the hill, and were escorting the female prisoners away. Many of these were in a very emotional state, and had to be escorted. Then it was our turn. We were all told to line up, and as we passed through a search, our belongings were taken from us. These were all stashed in the little cottage that lies at the top of the hill. We were escorted in small groups of three or four into the Enclosure in front of the Main Building. This is a wired-off area with a padlocked gate, and about two or three hundred of us were kept in here. It was crowded, but there was a carnival atmosphere that night, and inmates just dosed down on the ground next to one another, here and there sharing a laugh, or a joke. No-one knew much about what was going on, or what had happened to such and such. It was a bit like being at Woodstock.

I recollect that some food, even, was delivered, but in the mad scramble to get it I was bowled over, and failed. In any case, I had eaten my fill of chicken, earlier! Even the scramble for food was in a good-natured spirit, at this stage. The following morning we all woke up behind the wire, and mostly in a heap. We were all bundled up together, but the men were still mostly in good spirits. No one had lost patience and climbed over the ten foot high wire which was keeping us contained in this area.

During the night, armed soldiers had been placed around us, and had warned us that anyone attempting to escape from this enclosure would be shot for attempting to escape. They seemed very serious, and no one saw fit to disagree with them.

The sun was coming up. We had no water, and were hungry. One hour passed. Two, then three. Still no sign of anyone or anything coming our way. Most of the men were expecting to see Lt. Col. John Nurse come out and give us some reassuring words, to get us some tea and bread. Nothing came. Then the last few straws snapped, and the men split the wire with their hands and climbed through. Those of us who went to the toilets managed to get a shower in as well. There were plenty of spare bars of soap strewn all over the ground, along with clothes, shoes, and books. The entire yard was in a mess.

Some of the others ran back into the building, in order to salvage their own possessions- or even someone else's! Within moments, all up on B and C Corridors I could see dozens of people frantically dragging wooden boxes out from the opened cells and smashing them open. Then they would grab everything inside and throw it all down to a friend that would be waiting below. Some of these excavators seemed to be working in teams. Meanwhile, great balls of flame were beginning to whoosh out of more and more cell doorways. The air was growing thicker with dust and smoke. The next thing I knew we heard a shotgun blast from behind the Mess Hall, in the area of the toilets. Someone later- who said that he had seen the whole thing whilst hiding in one of these toilets- said that Officer Bourne had blasted a fella called 'Serial' with his 12 bore. The man Serial was so-called because he had been a serial rapist on the outside. It may have been the Bourne had been waiting a long time to get him. There may have been other factors, but my witness said that all Serial was doing at the time of his death was trying to get a drink of water from a tap.

It was beginning to look grim. It was beginning to look as though we were now in for a general massacre from the guards, such as you often hear about in south American prisons. Just then I saw something that quite amazed me. It was a safe- the prison safe- being dragged along by a small group of men. They got it to the top of the steps at reception, and then cast it over the side. It fell about ten feet to crash on the ground. These men then jumped round it, and, using chisels and hammers, began to crack into the side of the safe. Within minutes it was open, the thick steel door hanging open, the lock inside having been bent right back. I looked, and the thickness of the steel was about three inches. What happened to the contents of this safe? Remember, in this was all the prisoners' money, gold, Rolex and other similar watches, and other valuables. It was all gone in a flash. I later saw people walking around selling rings, or offering to buy a single cigarette for $20 U.S. bill, and other mad things. Then there was a rush to go up to the prison library. I presume some of them wanted to fire it. A number of armed guards appeared from round the back of it and shouted out that anyone going up the steps to the library would be shot. They were determined to protect this. It had only just been refurbished, and turned into Miss Coombe's private little office. Miss Coombes was the real bitch that nobody in the prison liked. Even the staff found her awful to have around. They shunted her from pillar to post trying to get rid of her. In the end, they dropped her off in charge of the library, where they could give themselves a well-deserved break from her company, even if it meant hell for the prisoners. She was just gross. Weighing about twenty stone, she was fat, ugly, and really nasty in her manner. I later heard that when the riot started some of the men went upstairs and got hold of her. I heard that 'they played with the bubbies, and the pussy'. They were all later charged with sexual assault, and, to my mind, rightly so.

I did see her staggering out of the yard after what must have been her sexual assault. She looked really freaked out, the whites of her eyes clearly visible, wheeling a small trolley behind her.

Bearing in mind the mood of the men, and the way she had been treating people there for years, she was lucky she wasn't killed. In fact, none of the officers were particularly bashed up, during the whole of the riot.

There were a couple of shootings, but nowhere near what you would have thought might happen under these circumstances of complete breakdown.

In that John Nurse really did maintain control, at least over his own men.

They must have been itching to let loose with all their canonry. But Nurse would not let them go for it. The smoke was building up something fierce by now. Thick, so much so that you had to try and get away from it. I didn't want to go back into the building. In that situation, anyone could hit you with a rock or a hammer just for the fun of it, and no-one would see a thing. I stayed out where everyone could see me, and where I could see what was going on around me. We tried to get back down on the farm, but by now soldiers had been brought in and they had stretched a series of thick strands of barbed wire across the way. On the other side of that, about thirty of them were lined up, all with gas masks on, protecting themselves against the thick fumes.

We begged them for shelter, to be allowed to cross, to escape the smoke.

They replied that anyone crossing would be shot, and they seemed to mean it.

Just then there was yet another sudden whoosh of flame.

Someone had torched the rehab building. The beautiful wooden house which had been mad so nice and in which I had spent many a morning with my rehab group, was now no more. By now I was lying on the floor with my T shirt over my face, keeping still. This way I could breathe. Doing anything else had become impossible. Doing anything else meant that the smoke would be burning your eyes right out, and that you would be rolling on the ground, coughing your lungs up, trying to get some air into your system. Around me other people were firing up other buildings, such as the bakers shop, the tailors shop, and increasingly the back prison. But there was nowhere to go. We just had to ride it out there, difficult as it was.

The day wore on. This was now the second day of the riot; March 30th. Bit by bit the men formed themselves into loose clusters. Someone had the idea of salvaging some of the beds from B and C Corridors, and several of us stretched out on these as best we could. I saw a group of young Rastamen standing in a circle doing a ceremony of some kind. They were facing the front of the prison with their hands formed into what I later came to be told by one of them as 'the Six Pointed Star' hand position. They were reciting a mantra-I think it was 'Bubba Bingi…….Bubba Bingi……..' over and over again. Behind them they had erected a picture of Haile Sallasie in uniform. They were consecrating the fall of the prison as a symbol of the end of Babylon. Just then an interesting thing happened. Inset into the very front of the face of the front prison was a very old clock, whose hands had been frozen in place for many decades. Its hands had been stuck at 8:20 ever since anyone could remember. Just then it came crashing down to the ground! It was almost as if time had unfrozen itself!

The night came, and the atmosphere inside the wrecked building became incredibly spooky. It became like a lunar landscape, a battlefield, or a film set somewhere. Surrealistic. Here and there people were dotted around in small groups, talking, standing, sitting, sleeping, if they could. From time to time little glows of red fire would spring up in the midst of them where someone had lit up a spliff, or, worse, was smoking some of the massive amounts of crack cocaine that were openly floating around.

People's reactions were starting to become strange. The entire spirit of the experience began to change. People were becoming paranoid and fearful.It was beginning to dawn on them what they had done. That there would now be consequences to their actions. That they were going to have to pay for the damage done.

Faces would appear around corners and dart back again. The look of extreme suspicion began to appear on more and more people's faces as the drug usage continued. Even more spooky, like something out of a 'Predator' film, a mobile crane lifted its head above the perimeter of the prison wall and glared over the top like a dragon. Affixed to I was a spotlight, which added to its appearance of a mythological beast.

On the platform were armed soldiers, who every now and again would point their rifles at something that was moving in the main prison and fire. I preferred to sit by myself out in the open. Even I started to get afraid that certain people wanted me dead. I kept away from everyone, especially the other British inmates who I became convinced were part of a conspiracy of some sort. All around were dozens of books. I picked up a couple, thinking I was going to get the time to finish them. I could not have been more wrong.

We were eventually corralled together, strip-searched, and taken, one by one, through a series of gates into the two large cages at the back of the prison, directly opposite the medical block. These had only been constructed a few months before, originally with view to giving the men from D&E and F&G Corridors the opportunity to exercise periods.

We were each given a meal, on a paper plate, and then led into one of the two large cages. I was one of the first to get into my cage. There was one chemical toilet, in the middle of the enclosure. As the night wore on the guards brought some two hundred or so into this space. As the sun came up you looked out at a beautiful dawn, over a sea of bodies. There was no protection from the sun, either, so as it rose in the sky and its rays intensified, men started ripping off shirts, pieces of cloth, and hastily erecting improvised shelters. Pieces of cloth were woven together and became tents, and clusters of men gathered under these to escape the fierceness of the sun. Luckily I had on my denim cap, which I reinforced with a vest under the top.

Over the next few days while we were in the cages, it seemed to work.

The men were thirsty, and every now and again a guard would grab a big pile of water bottles and pass them over to us. In particular the efforts of Officer Sobers was appreciated. Food became an issue, and some of the men were just plain greedy in going back again and again to collect a food parcel, three or even more times. That they might be depriving someone else of their food they just didn't seem to care. Inside this compound we spread ourselves out in rows upon the ground. For under my head, I managed to find a small space of cylinder which I shared with another five men. Three of us on one side, three on the other, alternately, like sardines. That night, for the first time in years, I could look up and see the stars and moon traipsing over my head as they made their way from one side of the sky to the other. When they arrived at the other far point, I knew, then there would be a sudden burst of golden light from the other side of the sky. It was one of the most magical nights of my life. All around me swirled people walking around, as if they were out at some carnival or a market. While above two bright stars and then a gibbous moon sailed across the wide expanse of sky like a fleet of ships crossing the ocean.

The following morning it rained. Heavily. Men were rushing around trying to find a piece or two of cardboard with which to hide under and shelter. It was faintly ridiculous- standing under a small square of cardboard with another three men trying to avoid the rain- but it worked. The cardboard we let dry out and used again, when it continued to rain later, and then the next day.

But some of the men had received a right soaking. Colds started to break out, although it wasn't until we were shifted to the big warehouses at Six Roads that this became apparent.

For the few days that we were sitting in the sun and the rain in those cages, the regional security force was busy putting up barbed wire and reinforcing the defenses at a set of warehouses in Six Roads, in St. Peter.

A cavity search came next, in which we were each forced onto our knees, naked, and forced with our hands to pull back the cheeks of our arses whilst an officer looked up inside us. This was to make sure that there wasn't any contraband hidden inside us as we were transferred, handcuffed, onto the busses which took us out of the ruined prison buildings of Glendairy. With warning lights flashing and sirens wailing we were driven at high speed through the many roads of the island, to where these grim improvised fortresses stood awaiting our arrival. As we disembarked, we were again searched.

Since my release, I have only ever once seen something similar to the sight which I saw as I entered this place. It was like the Dome building used by the emergency services in New Orleans for their people. There were beds laid out in rows, and to acquire a sleeping space was now the game of the day. You really had to know people, and have back-up, to be able to take a bed and hold onto it. Otherwise you had little chance. I myself settled for a collection of pieces of cardboard which I put together -in the end like a jigsaw- onto the ground to sleep upon.

Inside at night there was quite a breeze blowing, as my sleeping spot was right near the inside toilets and showers. I got around this by getting hold of a big piece of plastic which was covering a new bed that came in, and using this as a sleeping bag. It was brilliant, keeping me as warm as toast throughout the entire two weeks we were to spend under these conditions.

The food situation was chronic at first, often being given out in a 'couldn't care less' way by certain guards who seemed intent on provoking maximum possible friction amongst prisoners. Eventually, though, things normalized and orderly queue lines were formed.

The prisoners even began forming their own hierarchy, as well, something that I personally found very encouraging. Brutal Bob, Tanty and Jet-Lee were amongst others that brought order- and hope- to many of us still traumatised by what had happened.

But then 'the Purges' began. By purges I mean 'wash offs', i.e. systematic beatings of large numbers of prisoners by the various gangs that were now roving around unhindered. There was now no constraint on their activities.

The guards were just keeping us all penned up like a huge herd of animals and not risking coming past their grilles through which they could see us. Even the food and drink packets was handed out so as not to have to touch - or be touched- by any of us.

Up till this point the men had amused themselves with playing on improvised chess and draught sets, or playing a kind of 5 a side football made out of rolled-up paper. On a humorous note, there was even a wheelchair race from time to time, with different people sitting in from time to time in the chair and others pushing them as quickly as they could.

Then, there had been a progression to bare-knuckle boxing matches; Fight Club. The main rule here though, was no punches to the face. I remember that Sandeford especially demonstrated considerable prowess, being able to take dozens of really heavy punches and still be able to dish out as good as he was getting. There was no two ways about it- Barbados is certainly able to produce some really tough characters.

It was the night after the day when oranges and bananas had been given out that the real trouble began. After the fruit had been delivered, many people started to scrape the inside of the skins off their fruit. This they then dried in the thin rays of the sun that actually streamed down from the ceiling onto the floor, throughout the day. They would have to get up and move their skins as the sun's ray moved across the floor, but by the end of the day they were ready to 'roll', which is precisely what they did.

They rolled these skins up as a kind of herb, using the white paper from the food bags as a skin. From a 'thunder box' which the two Surinam guys smuggled in, they were able to produce a light. Then, great heavy clouds of this obnoxious smoking mixture were filling the air. Even being around while it got smoked by others made you feel 'trippy', i.e. gave a slightly 'weird' feel and look to everything.

Earlier in the day teams of men had been busy in the toilets sharpening up the scores of thin shards that one of their number had been successful in breaking off from one of the internal security gates. There was a platform above which was screened off from which the soldiers could look down on the entire space, and there were, by now, some ten to twenty soldiers actually doing that.

Nervously fingering their rifles in their hands, they were very uneasy at what they were seeing.

Then the hunt was on, and about a dozen men, led by Fix-He, Rebel, and others led a charge towards some men that they clearly knew. These men were trampled to the ground and beaten mercilessly. It went on all night long, night after night. You could actually hear men's ribs crack under the rain of hammer blows and kicks.

Some men tried to fight back, but this just resulted in an even heavier beating. The trick was, if you found yourself 'selected', to make a run for the inner cage area which led up to the entrance gateway. It was a semi-circled area which unofficially became designated as a refuge-zone, or at least relatively so. I saw people getting knifed, eyes gouged, bones mash up, hardly able to stand let alone walk in the end dragging themselves towards this area, where they were left in relative peace. Sometimes, though, their tormentors returned to dish out further punishments, such as forcing two men to fight together, or both to get a heavier beating. Many dozens had their heads pushed down the toilets, their heads banged repeatedly on walls, or just beaten over again and again. In all this there was never any intervention from the so-called guards. For the first two or three nights these wash-outs continued unabated, with their victims still lying strewn in front of the exit gates. No-one had as yet been taken to hospital. The guards had no orders, it seemed, for dealing with events such as these. All in all I saw it must have been about eighty men being taken away to the hospital in a single shift, groaning, crying, many of them having to be dragged out by the burly guards, before being handcuffed and trussed into the bus. I remember Lt. Col. John Nurse coming round one evening to give a pep talk to the men, which wasn't totally reassuring. Mia Mottley, the Attorney General, also came round and made a speech, which was addressed to the men in the adjacent hall, but we in ours could hear her and the muffled applause she drew.

An evening or two after the wash-outs started we heard the sound of three rifle shots being fired from the troops in the next hall, and later discovered that they had shot Packman dead, and wounded Bullets in the neck. The word was that they had ordered these to stop stabbing the other prisoners, but as they desisted, they were stopped anyway by lead. Although it wasn't verbally expressed, there was an undercurrent that it was high time these intimidators were shot. Anyway, this shooting seemed to cool off the perpetrators, and the wash-offs slackened off, then finally died out.

HARRISONS' POINT-ST. LUCY

We were about two to three weeks in Six Roads. Then the word was out that we were off to some former U.S. Naval base. It sounded from the descriptions like a nazi prisoner of war camp. When we got there, this is exactly what we did find it to be like. Right on the side of the sea, with rings of razor wire running around it, John Nurse had had placed around it a series of bright lamps, lighting up the entire complex, all night long. I arrived at D building, and was placed upstairs on Level 2 in cell 13, right at the end ,on the left.

There seemed to be very few prison officers around. Mind you, Glendairy always seemed to suffer from that problem. Even on exercise you were lucky sometimes to see even one or two guards. Sometimes it actually got lonely without them.

I found myself inside what looked like that infamous picture of a slave-ship.

You know, the one where you're looking down on all the people that have been stacked in like sardines. The cell was about twenty feet long and twelve feet wide, but inside were crammed another 25 men. This number, over my final four months of my sentence varied up and down slightly, depending.

In the corner were three shit buckets, which were emptied out twice a day.

If the guard was late in opening us up in the morning it meant problems as the buckets tended to get full after a certain point. That meant that no further pissing was possible. Some of the men would get desperate when this point was reached. Most of the so-called disciplinary problems at Harrison's Point that I saw stemmed directly from officers deliberately being proactive when it came to bucket times out, whilst maintaining a thin veneer of 'reasonableness'. They tried to engage the prisoners in unruly behaviour- to provoke them into reacting so they could get to use the little spray guns that John Nurse had started giving them.

Men were denied access to medical facilities, despite having huge rashes - gaping sores sometimes- and screaming out in extreme pain were still not allowed any real medicines. Sometimes an aspirin or two might be given out, depending on whether the prisoner begged hard enough and on the capricious whim of the dispensing officer- Officer Callender.

The section I was in became designated at the Chicken Pox area, as this infection decided to break itself out in my cell. As men became infected, as they did throughout the entire complex of several buildings, they were brought into this little sealed-off area to nurse themselves through it.

Some of the men became nearly unconscious with it. The pain- the irritation- must have been incredible, given the huge sores that were opening allover their bodies, particularly their private parts, under their arms under their feet, even under their tongues. They were given the scantiest attention, even from someone purporting to be a doctor, who came round once, wearing a mask and barely even looking at the men's faces, let alone their condition. It was a sick mockery.

At night I could hear some of the men, particularly from neighbouring cells crying out like babies from then agony of what they had. I saw some of these sores and to me it looked like shingles, only really bad versions. I have always thought that white people were cruel to blacks, but to see black people treating their own with such callousness shocked me a hell of a lot more. It was akin to seeing the Nazis treating the Jews. Men that even verbally rebelled against this were dragged off to a set of containers that John Nurse had brought by crane into the complex. Here, they were shackled- arms and legs- and made to stand upright, handcuffed to a point on the ceilings.

In this position they were forced to stay for days, shitting and pissing themselves, often without food or water for the duration of their stay. The heat inside these containers was supposed to be fierce by day, freezing by night. Prisoners were usually given a beating -by the so-called Dog Men- as they were brought in, and then sprayed with CS gas. When I was released I saw a whole row of these containers lined up, one after the other, like trains waiting at a railway station, with little doors cut into their sides. It was reminiscent of something out of Hitler's Germany- the trains they used to transport the Jews in.

This story is republished from Foreign Prisoners Support Services

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