Diary - a prison once again

Up early and again down to Portland to visit HMP The Verne. The former immigration centre is in the process of being turned back into a prison. The prison officers have all been drafted out to other prisons, with a skeleton crew maintaining a presence while refurbishing work is undertaken. I first met three charming members of the POA, Simon Joslin, Glenn Bateson and Richie Parcell. We had a good sit-down chat and I listened carefully to the points they raised. Our meeting was in confidence so I cannot relay exactly what was said, but I can say a number of issues were raised that were obviously connected to this changeover. Then I was taken to Governor's office, where his newly-appointed boss was waiting. We had 30 minute chat and Governor David Bourne obligingly answered all my questions and concerns in a most helpful manner. He's an excellent Governor and has good relationships with the POA. By the time the visit was over, I was running late for the annual Chamber of Commerce lunch, which, this year, was held at the Hix Restaurant at Weymouth College. I always enjoy this event and this year was no exception. The Mayor and Mayoress also attended and both were in excellent heart. We were hosted by the Chambers' affable President, Andrew Knowles, who I had a most interesting talk to during lunch. The students from the restaurant did us all proud and were looked after brilliantly. The event ran on a little and by 1430 I had to leave. I did make a short speech and reiterated my belief that we were all lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the country and one where everyone was working together far better to create more high-skilled jobs. Being a seaside resort, seasonal jobs are important, but so too are the opportunities that pay better and offer better career prospects.