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Is Kolbe Foundation being protected by GOB?

A family member of former BDF Lieutenant, Mervin ?Ranger? Reyes, who is serving prison time and whose parole was revoked when the prison?s Parole Board met on July 28, 2004, sent the newspaper a copy of Reyes? parole ?Revocation License.?

The one-page document bears the signature of Parole Board Chairman, Allan Usher, who is also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Amandala was also informed that following our report on Reyes (see Amandala edition No.1883, Sunday, Aug. 1, 2004), Kolbe removed him from the regular prison population and placed him in ?maximum security??and has, for no reason, been denying him visits from family members, ?until further notice.?

After citing Statutory Instrument Number 50 of 1998, which gives the Parole Board the authority to grant parole to inmates of the prison, the Revocation License cited, in paragraph two, that ?Whereas Section 272 of the (Amendment) Rules 1998, provides that the Board may for any reasonable cause at any time, direct in writing that a parolee be recalled. On the giving of the direction, the Parole Order shall be deemed to be revoked.?

While this recently signed revocation license may be the legitimate authority to re-imprison Reyes for allegedly breaking his parole rules, this license came, however, almost eighty days after the fact of his re-incarceration.

Amandala?s investigations, moreover, point to the strong possibility that Reyes? right to due process may have been violated, and there also seems to be an apparent conflict of interest on the part of Kolbe, because Kolbe?s CEO, Marlon Skeen, was acting as Reyes? parole officer and his employer at the same time.

Skeen?s decision to revoke the parole and then present the Parole Board with his decision appears to be reducing the board?s mandated responsibility to a mere rubber- stamping exercise, because it came after the action had already been executed.

This afternoon, Amandala spoke to CEO Allan Usher by telephone. When asked what was the reason for revoking Reyes? parole, Usher responded: ?I don?t have to give a reason. He violated his parole.?

Usher was asked what was the authority for CEO Skeen to revoke the parole unilaterally.

?I will not answer questions as to the procedures of the Parole Board,? he answered. Amandala pointed out that Skeen?s action was done without the approval of the board, which would have had to convene a meeting.

Usher went on to say that he would not convene a Parole Board meeting to address the issue of one prisoner?s parole revocation. ?I am busy and I don?t have the time to convene a Parole Board meeting to discuss one prisoner,? Usher declared.

He stressed that Reyes? parole revocation was verbally agreed to. But when asked to reveal who had verbally agreed to the revocation, Usher stated that he did not have to reveal that information.

When it was pointed out to him that the authorities at Kolbe did not follow the due process, stipulated in the Parole Regulation, before re-imprisoning Reyes, Usher said that a report of the missing money incident was reported to the Director of Public Prosecutions. Prisoners allegedly had given Reyes some money to cash, and he had reported that he had been beaten and robbed before he could deliver the money to the inmates.

Even if this is so, that the matter was reported to the DPP; the DPP did not bring any legal action against Reyes for the reported missing monies, and DPP Anderson was not available for comment.

Amandala also wanted to know how come Usher is acting as the public relations officer for Kolbe, a private company that was contracted to manage the prison, when he is a government employee.

To this question, the CEO Usher said that he did not have an answer, but that his Ministry is still responsible for the prison.

Usher?s role as CEO and Chairman of the Parole Board might very well be in conflict, a constitutional expert pointed out to Amandala.

?If they want to pass the parole chairmanship to somebody else, then let it be so legislated,? Usher declared, after it was pointed out to him that his chairmanship of the Parole Board may be a conflict of interest similar to Skeen?s position as employer and de facto parole officer. .

Attorney Michael Peyrefitte has reportedly been retained by Reyes? family.

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