Kolbe 14th Anniversary

Lionel Arzu, Ombudsman of Belize
Keynote Address
14th Kolbe Week, Belize Central Prison
Hattieville, Belize District
August 8, 2016

Good morning ladies and gentlemen. First and foremost let me express my utmost gratitude to CEO Virgilio Murillo, Kolbe foundation management and staff for inviting me to be the guest speaker on the 14th anniversary of shouldering the great responsibility of managing Belize Central Prison. Nobody would have refused or passed on the opportunity of humbly delivering the keynote address at an occasion as momentous as this. Who so ever knows who Kolbe was would know the extent of the sacrifice behind the formation of Kolbe foundation as a non-profit agency. Kolbe paid the supreme price at the hands of the Nazis and in his honor the Kolbe Non-Profit Agency was established. The refurbishing and reorganization of the Belize Central Prison was a labor of love started by Mr. David Whalen in collaboration with the Rotary Club fourteen years ago. Over these fourteen years, this facility has evolved and transformed into what it is today. Despite all that has been achieved here thus far, the work must continue.

It is important for me to stress that the aim of Kolbe Management is ‘to provide a secure, humane facility geared towards meaningful rehabilitation’ end of quote. In order for this aim to be fulfilled there is bound to be: a spirit of teamwork, partnership, integrity, conviction and confidence among all the stakeholders. All of these ideals are encapsulated in this year’s theme which states and I quote “We are committed to continued success with integrity, conviction and confidence that we are achieving our mission”. The anniversary committee in their wisdom realized that in order to live up to the foundational principle of Kolbe management, a lot of team work is required.

The prison staff which comprises of the: officers, civilians and volunteers in commemoration of the 14th anniversary of Kolbe management, they will all participate in a week-long of activities. These activities are geared towards enhancing team work needed for the staff to effectively do their work. They are also for the relaxation of the minds and spirit of Kolbe management and staff. In order to maintain the safety and security of the prison, the staff must be of strong body and mind. The work that you do here is a vocation not a job. It requires you to have the skills of: negotiation, self-control, good judgment and resourcefulness. Supervising inmates, maintaining reports, records and data logs are responsibilities that require collaboration and a spirit of partnership. To keep the prison safe and secure for prison workers, visitors and inmates, Kolbe’s staff must exude conviction and confidence. Kolbe management on the other hand must believe and practice due process and fair play. The staff should feel and rest assured that their concerns are heard and addressed as soon as is humanely possible.

Each staff member will give their all or their best once they know that management is there for them, Creole would say, “got dey baks”.

I implore each and every one of you who are participating in this year’s Kolbe week competition to compete hard and fair so that the best from the four teams will emerge the winner. Howard Cosell a soldier, lawyer and sports commentator once said and I quote, “that the ultimate victory in competition is derived from the satisfaction of knowing that you have done your best and that you have gotten the most out of what you had to give”.

I pray that God continues to give you all the spiritual fortitude that you will need to continue to maintain safety and security of this facility under your control. Finally, Congratulations on your efforts and continued commitment and happy fourteenth anniversary ladies and gentlemen (please give yourselves a round of applause). May Kolbe management continue to grow from strength to strength.