A group of Northward Prison inmates were in Bodden Town recently, helping to spruce up some outdoor areas. The prisoners carried out cleanup work at the Harry McCoy Sr. Park, Nurse Josie’s Senior Centre and Heritage House.

“We will continue to work with the community since the prison reintroduced the outwork scheme.”

As well as tidying up certain areas, the inmates also removed old and rotted thatch from cabana roofs in the park and repainted them white, and trimmed all the trees and plants.

“It has been a good thing for the guys, they really come out and focus, and work really hard and they feel appreciated as well, when they give back to the community,” said Paul Lorraine, manager of the prison’s Release on Temporary License program, which allows the lowest risk inmates to work outside prison walls.

The scheme also aims to develop life skills for prisoners by exposing them to the “real world” prior to their release.

One inmate removing the dead trees from around the cabanas said the active work kept him busy and he liked to come out and help.

“It’s a partnership with the community and we will continue to work with the community since the prison reintroduced the outwork scheme,” said Mr. Lorraine.

In the last three years, he said, the prison has had several groups of low-risk category prisoners go out in the community to carry out projects. They have gone to various places including beaches, community parks, people’s homes, and even the homes of prisoners who are being released and need their homes renovated.

Prisoners clean up fallen coconut branches.
Prisoners clean up fallen coconut branches.

Agnes McCoy, a member of the Bodden Town Heritage Committee, said the cleanup was welcomed as some sprucing up was needed so people in the community could sit and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere, a sentiment echoed by fellow committee member Caroline Allison.

Harry McCoy Sr. Park is located on Gun Square Road in Bodden Town. The site was founded in 2008 by Bodden Town residents Florence Wood, Betty Wood, Agnes McCoy and Ellen Eden.

Adjoining the park is Nurse Josie’s Senior Centre, a traditional Caymanian cottage fitted out with furniture and fixings from the times of old. Inside the house, visitors can view relics more than 100 years old and colorful artwork painted on the walls, giving a taste of the history and people of Bodden Town district.

The park site, which covers three-and-a-half acres, also includes a playground and children’s park. The heritage group has also constructed a stage that can accommodate a band. A gift shop is stocked with memorabilia and artifacts, and there is also a chicken coop, pig pen, outhouse, old-time kitchen and caboose.