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Concerns being treated with urgency

Friday, September 23, 2011

Santa Rosa Heights residents’ concern about the new detention centre nearby was discussed yesterday by the heads of security divisions and is being treated with urgency, says Minister of Information Nicole Dyer-Griffith. Dyer-Griffith spoke after yesterday’s National Security Committee meeting involving heads of security divisions. The committee is a sub-team of the National Security Council, headed by the Prime Minister. The meeting discussed the many objections noisily raised by Santa Rosa Heights residents on Tuesday night about the close proximity to their community of the facility housing state of emergency detainees. Residents shouted down Government officials, whom they met with, and loudly rejected the prison location.

Dyer-Griffith said: “The Government team which attended the meeting on Tuesday took down all the residents’ concerns and suggestions and those were reviewed and discussed at the heads’ meeting yesterday. “National Security Minister John Sandy, who chaired  yesterday’s meeting, has asked that the issue be treated with urgency and with due consideration.” Dyer-Griffith said Arima MP Rodger Samuel, who attended Tuesday’s meeting with residents and promised to stand by them, would be meeting with Sandy on the issue “...So we can have a win-win solution in this,” Dyer-Griffith added. Following Tuesday night’s meeting with residents, Samuel told reporters the decision to locate the prison near Santa Rosa Heights was made by the National Security Council and was above his level.

Samuel also told reporters:, “When I campaigned in Arima I promised people I would fight for them and stand with them as long as it’s just and right. My constituents’ concerns must be my concerns. “So it’s important for me to take their views to the right circles and ensure their voices are heard... that’s my responsibility. I will take this to the right circles as of Wednesday (yesterday).” Commissioner of Prisons John Rougier who was shouted down by residents on Tuesday, told reporters he was pained by the situation but understood residents’ concerns. He said the decision to place the prison there was not in his purview. He said he had to be concerned with the prisons system based on the mandate given to him by society of which the Santa Rosa Heights community was a part.