The Bahamas Dept. of Correctional Services holds recruitment exercise in Grand Bahama

The content originally appeared on: ZNS BAHAMAS News
Commissioner of Prisons, Mr. Don Cleare (seated left), along with Detrice McCarty, Corrections Sergeant in charge of public relations (standing) and Corrections Corporal Malderese Newbold (seated, right) interview two individuals during a recruitment exercise for BDOCS at the St. Georges High School Gym in Freeport, Grand Bahama on Thursday, February 8, 2024.

The Bahamas Department of Correctional Services (BDOCS) conducted a one-day recruitment exercise on Grand Bahama on Thursday, February 8, 2024 at St. Georges High School Gymnasium.

Don Cleare, Commissioner of Corrections at BDOCS, who led a team of four officers from the department to Grand Bahama, said that the department was looking to fill a quota of 100 officers (70 men and 30 women) and sought to do so with Bahamians from throughout the islands of The Bahamas.

He stressed the fact that recruitment was not limited to individuals solely from the capital, Nassau.

“Yes, we have recruitment going on in Nassau today, but we are travelling to all of the major islands of The Bahamas to conduct recruitment exercises as well,” said Mr. Cleare. “We have been mandated by our Minister to touch every major family island to see who would like to join the staffing of the Department of Corrections.”

It’s the second consecutive recruitment exercise the department has carried out in Grand Bahama, having employed nine individuals from the island in 2023 to join the department — a first time in the department’s history, according to the Commissioner.

“That’s why we’re back here again, to look for no less than nine or ten persons to join the Department of Corrections.”

The recruitment exercise for 2024 was opened to men and women between the ages of 18-30.  Candidates must have at least five BJCs, inclusive of Math and English. Once that qualification is met, candidates would then be administered a drug test and undergo a psychological evaluation.

“Once we leave this island with the potential candidates, those individuals have a higher chance of being hired,” added Mr. Cleare. “The only thing that could prevent them from being hired would be a negative toxicology report and a bad police record.”

The Commissioner of Corrections noted that the new squad of officers for 2024 must include individuals from other Family Islands. He pointed out that even if Nassau could fill the Department’s quota of 100 candidates, that number would be weaned down in order to accommodate the number of people recruited from the Family Islands.

“Every island will be represented in the 2024 squad,” he added.

“I should point out that for our department, as well as for the police department, immigration and for the defence force it has been a challenge to find sufficient males to join the ranks. We have a lot of females who sign up.  So far in this process of recruitment, we have had more than 400 females who have applied. And remember, we’re only looking to fill 30 females to the squad. So, that’s been a major challenge for us.”

He said this is just an example of what’s going on with the men in our country. He’s hoping this changes in the future.

The recruitment exercise was a one-day event and those who may make a decision to sign up once the recruitment team left the island would have to travel to Nassau – at their own expense – to sign up, although there is no guarantee of being accepted.

Commissioner Cleare said that the Department of Corrections is not just seeking officers for the prison, but that they were also looking to hire teachers, nurses, pharmacists and computer technicians.

“But everyone must be trained as an officer in the department and then those who specialize in those areas will be posted to their respective fields,” he explained. “We have a school at the Department of Corrections that meets every day.  So, it’s not only security minded persons. That’s why we’re encouraging individuals with backgrounds in other vocations to consider joining the Bahamas Department of Corrections.”

By ANDREW COAKLEY/Bahamas Information Services

More Photo Highlights Below:

Mr. Don CleareGabriel McDonald oversees the filling out of forms by candidates during the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services recruitment exercise in Freeport on Thursday, February 8, 2024 at St. Georges’ Gym. (BIS Photos/Lisa Davis)