Tale of two prisons

The Glendairy Prison on fire in Barbados
A BRITON who spent three years imprisoned in Barbados has written a graphic and detailed account of his jail time at Glendairy and Harrison Point prisons, on a website associated with a support service for foreign prisoners.


A BRITON who spent three years imprisoned in Barbados has written a graphic and detailed account of his jail time at Glendairy and Harrison Point prisons, on a website associated with a support service for foreign prisoners.

Terrence George Donaldson, who was convicted on August 20, 2002 and sentenced to four years in prison for trafficking and attempting to export cocaine, was recently released from Harrison Point.

Now back in his homeland, Donaldson reveals all about what he witnessed during his term behind bars in Barbados including drug dealing, homosexuality, the burning of Glendairy and the conditions at the temporary prison at Harrison Point.

Today the WEEKEND NATION reproduces an edited version of his story.

The website, which was established in 1995, is a volunteer prison advocacy service for families whose relatives are interned in a foreign country.

MY NAME is Terry Donaldson and this is my story.

I was a junky, had been for years. At the time of my recruitment I had been back on the stuff - crack cocaine and heroin - for a few years.

Prior to my relapse, I had a four-bedroom house, a wife, a Mercedes Benz 320, and a career in television.

By the time the drugs had worn off, I was left with nothing, except debts totalling about 100 grand [$100 000] and an infection of Hepatitis C.

Then I was offered a trip abroad - to "do a run" - to fly out to some place and bring back a suitcase full of cocaine.

For this I was to be paid five grand [$5 000]. Believe it or not, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Next thing I know I'm being held at Grantley Adams International Airport, Barbados, by about a dozen gargantuan types, a collection of police and customs officers.

I must have seemed quite out of it - they seemed to think I wasn't all there.

Next day - court appearance.

I was actually relieved when the magistrate, a Mrs. Marva Clarke, handed me a four-year sentence at Oistins Magistrates' Court. It could have been a lot worse. If I hadn't been nearly doubled up with the pains from heroin withdrawal, I might even have danced a jig.

The cops seemed pissed off that I got off lighter than a local man who'd been caught stealing bottles of mauby - and he had just got a five-year sentence.

I arrived at Glendairy Prison in a police minibus with its siren bleating. I passed through reception, watched as the stooges that were toe-ragging for the system ripped my towel in half.

These were the motley collection of prisoners that the system there made

a point of turning into arch informants who ran around and used their powers to try and have sex with young male prisoners that they might be able to inveigle into drug-taking.

Their activities were well-known by all the staff at Glendairy. The principle of institutionalised rape was always held over the heads of anyone that the system might want to strike down, or make an example of.

Senior officers would delegate considerable powers to certain prisoners - such as Nook Nook, who was one of the first to get murdered when the riot broke out, having his head smashed in with a hammer by a group of prisoners, at the orders of one of the prison employees.

The issue of Nook Nook and the massive sexual abuse of the young male prisoners was the single most significant cause of the riots which broke out on March 29, 2005.

In the run-up to the outbreak, a certain prisoner had developed the reputation for forcing "blow jobs" on many of the younger males.

One employee was known to have a strong interest in the welfare of particularly this age group, and a few months before ordered that all of the younger males be placed in A Corridor, which was immediately in front and adjacent to the front yard and shower unit.

One prisoner serving an indeterminate Queen's Pleasure life sentence for murder was allowed to live in his own cell in this same area.

Another prisoner tied up and raped a young male prisoner on the D &E Corridor.

On this occasion, the officer who was patrolling the corridor discovered this going on, and the molester was arrested and placed in the security wing H &I. But that was to be the only extent of his punishment.

He was there for a few months, but in Glendairy to get a cell to yourself was for many, anything but a punishment. Men were often pushed three or more into a cell, before the place was burned down.

One of the strongest men in the prison was repeatedly reported to a senior officer on matters connected with interfering sexually with some of these young males. His operating method was to offer them "free drugs" on which they would then develop

a dependency. Then he would insist on sex.

Prisoners would often die from the sheer ignorance of some of the care-takers.

On one occasion, a prisoner from Guyana, known to me as Humpty Dumpty, complained of severe chest pains.

He was told to clear off, which he was forced to do.

Within an hour he was down with a heart attack.

It took over an hour before an ambulance was called, there being no facilities for dealing with a heart attack in the entire prison.

In all my travels I can honestly say that the contempt which some of these prison warders showed for the lives of their fellows easily equals even the most contemptuous racism I've seen in other places.

But what happened after this incident was also interesting.

One prisoner from Britain, a tiny, five-foot tall lad who weighed about eight stones, wrote a letter to one of the island's newspapers - it might have been THE NATION or The Advocate - and succeeded in smuggling this letter out of the prison, telling them what had happened in this incident.

When the story came out, Superintendent of Prisons Lt. Col. John Nurse directed the full scope of his resources - not to discovering why this foreign national had died unnecessarily in a Bajan jail - but to the source of this "security leak".

Eventually it came to light who the author was, with the result that the offending culprit - a man from Hornsey, north London - was cast into the condemned section, allowed out only whilst wearing leg irons, even in the presence of British consular officials.

Sexual innuendo was very often the order of the day at Glendairy. Women employees were allowed very close proximity to male prisoners, especially those who were

in for rape.

One of them had, over the years, developed an affinity for one of the prisoners.

She put that prisoner in charge of looking after the cigarettes of the non-nationals and, strangely enough, there were always several packets missing each month.

If anyone ever complained to her, she would always react very negatively to the person who complained, accusing them of "making up stories" to try and discredit her protégé.

This woman was known for wearing bright dresses, bright shoes, with matching handbag, and always slowed down on her ceremonial walk up the steps, where she would change into her uniform.

On one occasion she offered herself to a friend of mine - whose identity I will protect, as he is still there and serving a life sentence - saying that "for the front door she wanted $60 (Bajan), while for the back it would be more - $120".

Drugs were always flowing into the prison. John Nurse tried to cut back on it, probably on the basis that drug-taking was a negative activity.

But, unfortunately, as time went on more and more of his own people were discovered at the centre of drug-dealing inside the prison.

Where he uncovered this, John Nurse would invariably sack the person.

But these things are organised and involve maybe 20 or 30 people.

They generally don't like anyone who betrays their own kind and tend to shield one another in times of trouble.

But there were dozens of mobile phones, large quantities of weed and cocaine available in the prison at any time, and although much of it came over the wall there was some that came through via the very people who were supposed to be upholding the law and setting an example.

Having given you a bit of background about the prison, I'd like to take you now straight to the events on the day of March 29, 2005. I was there, and saw quite a bit of the action.

The rest I heard about from those who had actually seen certain things, such as the murder of Nook Nook, or the near-fatal assault on Most Wanted (another prisoner).

It must have been about 11 a.m. that one of the prison officers called Most Wanted into his office to question him about a conflict that was ongoing between him and

a much-younger lad from A Corridor.

Most Wanted was standing in the officer's office, when suddenly the other lad in the conflagration drew his jooker (home-made knife), and made to attack Most Wanted.

Most Wanted drew his jooker and the younger lad called out and found himself supported with about a dozen or so others from A Corridor, also carrying their jookers.

They were ready to kill Most Wanted.

From somewhere in the room he managed to pick up a spare brick that just happened to be lying about, and with all his force he flung it at a prisoner called Badmouth, the leader of this posse.

The rock missed, but hit someone else, taking their left eye clean out. Those who saw it said that they could see it hanging outside the smashed eye-socket by its stalk.

By now there was blood everywhere.

During this part of the action I was in the Mess Hall, but even though I didn't know exactly what was going on I could see from the milling around of the crowds outside that something was about to go off.

Someone slapped the officer on his head and he left, locking the door of his office behind him, with only Badmouth inside. But Badmouth and the other youngsters were baying for the blood of Most Wanted by now. There was blood on the walls, on the floor, and the smell of it tends to have an effect.

Continued in tomorrow's saturday sun.

News Source - The Nation News Barbados

  • Terrence Donaldson Case Information

  • Former drug runner reflects on his darkest days

    Terence Donaldson: three roads to choose
    HIGH on drugs, carrying a suitcase full of heroin and surrounded by police in Grantley Adams International Airport, Barbados, is a situation not many people would chose to be in - yet Terence Donaldson says it was almost a relief when he found himself there.

    His drug taking by then had got so bad that arrest and jail seemed like the best way out.

    What followed was four years in Glendairy prison - which included a riot and kicking a heroin habit - release, deportation to Britain and now a daily battle to stay off drugs, trying to stop others getting hooked on them, plus working to help people in prisons abroad.

    Mr Donaldson, 50, who now lives in Hornsey, said: "I was coming off heroin. My thinking was I want to get off the stuff. Even if I got caught it's still a step up from where I am. They searched me and found my stuff."

    His life until then had lurched between addiction and holding down a normal life. He described first getting into drugs as a teenager. Starting on methadone, hashish and LSD and then, when he joined the "hippy trail" in Afghanistan, he graduated to morphine, opium and heroine.

    He spent most of his thirties married and living in Crouch End before getting hooked again.

    "I was an addict when I was recruited by a local cocaine gang," he recollects. "I was on crack and heroin.

    "They gave me these drugs on credit. They said you can wipe out the debt, get some good smoke and wipe out your own debt doing a run for us.

    "So I went out to Barbados where it all went wrong. I just got caught. I was out of my head. I went out to pick up a suitcase. I was told it was five grand, a good smoke and a good trip. It seemed like the only thing I could do.

    "These gangs wait for people to get like that. In jail out there I met three people from this area."

    Once he had been caught, he says he was taken to Oistins Magistrates' Court where he pleaded guilty - trying to avoid a prolonged period waiting for trial - and then on to Glendairy Prison.

    Mr Donaldson described conditions in the jail - even before the riot he was involved in broke out - as terrifying.

    He claims cliques and intimidation abounded along with basic conditions. He was also coming off heroin.

    He said: "I was in there for 2 1/2 years before the riot happened. I was in the mess hall when it kicked off. All the windows started bursting into flames. In the main building fires starting bursting out in individual cells. From there it all went off for three days."

    Calm was restored after three days of chaos when soldiers and guards were called in. Mr Donaldson was then released on August 19 and came back to Britain.

    He is now working on a book about his experiences and works with pressure group the Foreign Prisoner Support Service to help people in his situation.

    He said: "If I can stop someone, get them out of drugs, then all of my suffering takes meaning. It will be to the good then. If I can help my friends who are still in Barbados as well."

    He added: ""If you do drugs there are three roads: hospital, cemetery, jail. You can choose one of those three. That's all I can say.

    News Source - Hornsey and Crouch End Journal

  • Terrence Donaldson Case Information

  • Glendairy 'the best'
    by Maria Bradshaw

    TERRENCE DONALDSON, the British national who has written, on a prisoners' website, a detailed account of his life at Barbados' Glendairy Prisons and Harrison Point, is writing a book and negotiating for film right

    TERRENCE DONALDSON, the British national who has written, on a prisoners' website, a detailed account of his life at Barbados' Glendairy Prisons and Harrison Point, is writing a book and negotiating for film rights on the Glendairy fire.

    Speaking to the SUNDAY SUN via telephone yesterday, Donaldson said he intends to put Barbados on the map.

    "The true story of the real people who would never be able to tell their story will be told by me. I am their advocate," he stated from his home in Wood Green, London.

    Three years in jail

    The 50-year-old man spent three years behind bars on cocaine charges. He was released last August and wrote his story on the website last November.

    Asked if he would be willing to come back here and give evidence before the Commission of Inquiry into the Glendairy fire, Donaldson said that on deportation he was banned from re-entering Barbados.

    Yet he called Glendairy a model prison, saying it was the best penal institution in which he had ever been housed, having spent three years imprisoned in Greece for robbery, and other "small" sentences at jails in Britain.

    "It was a very good prison until they burnt it down. It was mild and tolerant. We had a lovely, sweet little jail. Only a small minority was involved in sexual (homosexual) activity, but a lot of it was going on in the jail," he said.

    But Donaldson said as the only white man in prison at that time, he was not touched by the homosexuals, yet he did the most menial job which was also the best paid.

    "They never touched me. They loved me. Probably because they realised that I would be the person to write about the cause of the black man," he noted.

    Donaldson's job, for which he was paid $10 weekly, was to carry out the poo buckets for the inmates on death row.

    "I am honoured. I am a white man and for me it was an honour to get a job on A & I corridor carrying out .... buckets for $10 a week. I was the highest- paid prisoner in Glendairy Prisons. It was a privilege. I just wasn't carrying out theirs. I was carrying out my own. I was the only white man in that prison since Ronald Briggs. Jah Hool put out the word that I wasn't to be touched," he divulged, laughing heartily at the recollection.

    But it is the lasting friendships which he formed with inmates behind bars that has encouraged him to write his story. He adds that if Barbados tries to hang any inmates he will also fight hard against the system.

    "I have a lot of respect for him (Jah Hool) and I will be there for him and Elridge Medford and all the others. They are my brothers.


    "I have formed bonds with your country that are deeper than I have formed with my own race, my own countrymen and even my own family", he proclaimed, adding that he had several letters written to him by inmates while he continues to send magazines for them.

    He also praised Superintendent of Prisons, Lieutenant Colonel John Nurse, saying he was an honourable man.

    "Lieutenant John Nurse is a good man. He is an outstanding man of great fibre and I have all the respect for him. He did not give a free hand to his men when the fire broke out. He took control of his officers. If it was not for him it would have been a bloody massacre. I owe him my life.

    He acknowledged that Nurse was a "brilliant strategist", but was not suited for the job.

    "He believes in things like honour and discipline. He tried to run the prison like a military place - like we are his men - but we were not his men - we were his enemies. It is not a good idea to put a military man in charge f a place like the prison, but I am glad that he was in charge when the rebellion broke out."

    Donaldson, who said he worked at several television stations and even had his own show on TV, said since he got back home he has stayed off cocaine and heroin and is being trained as a counsellor.

    Please also see Pages 19A to 21A

    News Source - The Nation News Barbados

  • Terrence Donaldson Case Information

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    All information is Copyright 1997 - 2006 'Foreign Prisoner Support Service' unless stated otherwise - Click here for the legal stuff
    All information is Copyright 1997 - 2006 'Foreign Prisoner Support Service' unless stated otherwise - Click here for the legal stuff