He was once held captive as an inmate at the state-run prison facility but Ashley “Ram” Folkes is now the man in charge of the Richmond Hill prison as its Commissioner.
His surprise appointment came as the New National Party (NNP) of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell swept away its opponents to win the February 19 elections 15-0.
Folkes was held captive by U.S and Caribbean military forces following the intervention that followed in the aftermath of the October 19, 1983 execution of Marxist Prime Minister, Maurice Bishop in a bloody infighting with rivals for control of the New Jewel Movement (NJM) led People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG).
He was originally named as a member of the Revolutionary Military Council (RMC) that had taken charge of the island after the execution of Bishop.
Folkes was able to get the military rulers, led by then army strongman, General Hudson Austin to remove his name as a member of the council.
Army sources told THE NEW TODAY newspaper that the former military man was a key figure in the personnel security set up around the Mt. Wheldale home of Prime Minister Bishop.
Within days of the military operation in Grenada, Folkes like several military personnel were captured and held as detainees at the Richmond Hill prison.
He was eventually freed under the Interim Government of sir Nicholas Brathwaite without any charges being laid against him in connection with the bloody events on the island.
Folkes eventually returned to his substantive post at the Ministry of Communication & Works from where he was seconded to the army.
After his retirement, he got more involved in construction and was engaged in the rehabilitation of many of the island’s playing field under a multi-million dollar contract project with Mitchell’s NNP.
Folkes is from the small village of Fontenoy in the St. George North-west constituency of the Prime Minister.
Political pundits credit him with being a key figure in attracting Adrian “Spaceman” Mitchell to take up the mantle and contest the St. Patrick East seat in the 1995 general elections which the NNP won by a close 8-7 margin against the New National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the Grenada United Labour Party (GULP)
Folkes is said to have declined interview with the local media.
The new prison commissioner has served as President of the Grenada Football Association for years.
He also played cricket and football at the national level for Grenada.
Legal Affairs Minister Elvin Nimrod who last week confirmed the appointment of Folkes to the post as a replacement for Superintendent of Police, Don McKenzie
said that the appointment is a temporary one.
Nimrod said that Prime Minister and Minister for National Security, Dr. Mitchell took office with a number of serious problems confronting him such as illegal drug trafficking and violence at the Richmond Hill prison.
Folkes is being looked upon to bring some level of discipline and control at the facility, which government is hoping to partially commercialise shortly.
Prime Minister Mitchell in his capacity as Chairman of the Standing Committee on Finance told a recent sitting of the body that, “serious portions of the prison will be commercialised to change the status quo.”
At a meeting of the Committee Mitchell said, “As the Minister responsible for the Prison, serious action would be taken which would increase the commercial activities of the Prison, and would also deepen the solution for the security problems that existed.”