The former Home Affairs Minister has issued a strong call for the government to end the uncertainty over the ‘missing’ Prison Governor.
Rumours began circulating among States Members and on social media in June that Nick Cameron, who took on the post in 2018, was no longer in the leading role following a reported fall-out with the Home Affairs Department.
Ministers later confirmed that an HR “process” was underway, but the government has repeatedly declined to share details.
Further questions were raised last week when Express revealed that the process had been initiated despite a sparkling review of HMP La Moye earlier this year from the Independent Prison Monitoring Board – a member of which resigned in July over the treatment of Mr Cameron.
Pictured: Nick Cameron, Prison Governor.
In reply to her resignation letter, the Home Affairs Minister wrote that he regretted that Mr Cameron’s absence had “become the subject of ill-informed rumour”, adding that he “would encourage everyone to cast these aside.”
However, he did not elaborate further on the status of the HR investigation or the reasons behind it.
According to the previous Home Affairs Minister, Senator Kristina Moore, who was copied into the response, the continued uncertainty over one of the island’s most important roles has now gone on for too long and the resignation of an IPMB member should be seen as a clear sign.
“It’s an ‘enough is enough’ moment… It’s not right for the prison officers, it’s not right for the prisoners, and it’s not right for the public,” she told Express.
“It’s important that someone who is doing a good job is allowed to continue to do a good job and offer their abilities to the public.
“It was clearly a very strong ship and it is very well-run, a calm environment, and we as islanders should be really pleased to have such a facility. However, the role of the governor is a pivotal role and despite the fact he has a good team around him and will have embedded those requirements into that team so that they can continue in his absence it’s important that a leadership team carries on in a proper and complete fashion and a four-month period of absence is not proper.”
Pictured: Caroline Strachan, who resigned from the Independent Prison Monitoring Board over the treatment of Mr Cameron.
She continued: “The States Employment Board needs to conclude whatever it is that is going on. It’s not even clear from our perspective – it’s certainly not in the public domain. Is it a disciplinary process? Nobody knows. It’s just not normal to have a personnel matter continue for a four-month period without any proper communication of what is going on.”
Senator Moore, who is the Chair of the Scrutiny Liaison Committee, said she had raised the matter directly with Constable Richard Buchanan, who is Vice Chair of the States Employment Board, but says she was “simply told, ‘Well, the Governor knows why he’s not at work.’”
“That’s not good enough after four months. The IPMB clearly have praised what [Mr Cameron] has achieved and therefore this needs to end and I would hope that a positive conclusion is reached.”
Uncertainty over the prison’s leadership comes as the government continues with its large-scale restructure of the civil service, and bid to make £100m of savings.
Pictured: Current Home Affairs Minister Constable Len Norman said Mr Cameron's absence was the subject of "ill-informed rumour" - but declined to provide any further information about the matter.
Prison staff, who had already found £400,000 in savings, spoke out last year, saying that the government’s drive to make even more efficiencies may risk their ability to “protect the public and reduce reoffending.”
Of this, Senator Moore said: “The budget of the prison has flatlined for ten years so they’ve been continually achieving more with less therefore the only way of achieving greater savings is by taking quite radical steps and, as we’ve already indicated, we have a well-run and calm and secure environment in the prison, therefore any cuts would potentially impact upon that, so it would not be very wise in my view.”
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