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Nov 6, 2013

E.U. Ambassador debuts Redemption Song at the Belize Central Prison.

Songs of Redemption is a documentary that has won awards at film festivals in Los Angeles, Toronto and Trinidad. This morning it was viewed by a captive audience of inmates at the Kolbe Foundation. It portrays the daily experiences of inmates at a correctional facility in Jamaica and captures how a rehabilitation program with the European Union gave them hope for personal development. Also on hand was visiting EU Ambassador, Paola Amadei. Duane Moody has this story.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Today at the Belize Central Prison, several inmates congregated inside this open space on the compound for the viewing of a documentary. Entitled “Songs of Redemption,” the award winning film showcased life behind bars at the Tower Street Correctional Facility in Kingston, Jamaica and its rehabilitation program for inmates through music.


Paola Amadei, E.U. Ambassador

Paola Amadei

“A rehabilitation which has been funded by the European Union and we felt it was a film that brought the positive message of hope and redemption to inmates. It shows the capacity of people to change their ways and to learn acting in a different way. And it is also our contribution for the consideration and thinking about the death penalty. Is death penalty really the best option taking into account that all human beings has the capacity to change and should be given this opportunity? And once this opportunity is there, this human being will be able to contribute not only to his family, to his community but to the society at large.”


There are several rehabilitation program currently run by the Kolbe Foundation, which manages the Central Prison. And chairman, John Woods, says that the documentary shows that a similar program can be implemented inside the confines of the prison here in Belize.


John Woods

John Woods, Chairman, Kolbe Foundation

“The whole time and I am sure you were thinking the same thing, we can do that. We can do that. We got the talent right here, right now. We got all kinds of people in here that have wonderful talent and I know that we’ve promised it many times. So I want to thank the Ambassador for reawakening the awareness that we have to push to music. We have to push that talent because it is here. We have the talent show that takes place in the auditorium.  Unbelievable talent within these walls here and the music is such a beautiful way to express your emotions, to help cleanse the souls as we saw many examples in there. So now that we have our studio in operation; the big studio with the radio, we really have to push it and let’s make this thing happen. I know that we have the power to do it here.”


Ambassador Amadei says that several of the prisoners have successfully made it through the program and are now free. She says that while those found guilty of a crime should be punished, they should also be afforded second chances.


Paola Amadei, E.U. Ambassador

“It is important that punishment is not gratuitous; that they are at the same time given training, new skills and offered new chance. We say this film is dedicated to second chances; to all those people who have had conflict with the law…that we hope in the future will be able to contribute to society.”


The film will also be showed to Belizean students as well as the public in the near future. Duane Moody for News Five.

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