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Daily Archive for Sunday, April 22nd, 2007

SET 88.9 fm – let the radio message follow

SET Radio 88.9 fm is up in gp kingston. the revolution has begun. feel it catching fire. on the phone i could feel excitement. inmates and officers of every color shirt. here is kevin’s report.

I woke up this morning feeling like today was going to be a great day, and it was. I went to bed last night excited to bits about what was to happen today and I can’t tell you how much I could not wait for the time when I would make it happen.

For the past three years Charley and I have been talking about the possibility of setting up a radio network within the prisons in Jamaica. We saw it as a way that we could get the message of rehabilitation and restorative justice across to the entire prison system, we saw us being able to facilitate discussions on all levels, we saw it as us creating an environment where everyone in the prison community could get together and discuss issues which are of importance to them. We were worried that if we don’t have total buy in from all the relevant parties then we would have problems but then we started having talks with the Commissioner of corrections, who with the assistance of his team helped us to strategically put things in place so that both officers and inmates would have a stake in the process. We took his advice and then went to the officers first, explain to them our thoughts on this medium and then sought their opinion. So after going on a sensitization campaign speaking to both officers and inmates we selected a compliment of ten inmates and five officers to train for the purpose of operating this radio station.

We built a radio studio with funding from CIDA we also received funding from UNESCO to provide training as well as equipment for the studio.

For the past months we have been conducting training sessions with both officers and inmates, to which they have responded quite well, however they questioned weather or not this thing was really going to happen. They did not see any antenna’s going up or anything out of the ordinary happening plus they were being asked questions by their fellow inmates about when this thing was going to happen so to put everyone’s minds at ease I decided to do a test today. Set up the equipment spread the word around the institution telling folks to tune their radios to 88.9 fm.

So today was the day to make it all happen. I told everyone that I would be at the prison at 10am to set up the equipment and that we would be on the air at 12pm. When I woke up this morning I would not wait to get to the prison so I could do this. As a matter of fact I packed up all the equipment from last night and placed them in my vehicle so this morning I could just go down and make it happen. I checked my clock every few minutes waiting for the time when I would go and pick up Wayne and then head out.

Finally it was time, jumped in the van picked up Wayne, the entire journey all I could think about was the look on everyone’s faces when they actually herd themselves and their colleagues on the radio. By the time we got there everyone was waiting on us. Within twenty minutes we were set up and ready to go. And with the flip of a switch we were live. SET 88.9 FM was a reality; Tower Street Radio was finally on the air. The excitement was too much. The environment was filled with laughter officers were coming in to make sure it was for real not to mention the inmates. At one point I looked around and for that moment there was nothing that separated anyone in that room but, they were joined together by one thing, Radio. The sense of unity was unbelievable, unity, solidarity, togetherness. In a prison, between keeper and kept, wow.
The programs which were presented were done by both officers and inmates there were no distinctions. Everyone had a role to play and they played it well. Some members from the Department of Correctional Services admin staff was there and you could see the sense of pride on their faces. In the round up discussion after the test I could not did not want to critique at that point I really wanted them to know just how proud I was of them. It was most amazing. To be on the radio for the first time and do that well is simply amazing. The name of the programs were

How can all the parties in a situation where a crime was committed heal? How can they make peace and move on.

What do inmates care about what are some of the things that are of interest to them? When its lock down time and the lights are off and the security personnel are not in direct air shot of what is been said, what do inmates talk about?

So you have been in prison for a while, each day is a different day; things are constantly changing around you, sometimes good, sometimes bad. Do you grow or does everything remain the same? It’s a choice but we chose to make a positive change.

I don’t always say the right things and I don’t always do the right things, but every day that is my quest. As a Student Expressing Truth I want to express my self. I don’t want to tell you from my thoughts I want to express it from my being. First I become then I express my self.

jamaica is the biggest little country in the world. let’s hear it for bob marley as national hero. let’s hear it from the twins.