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Prisons Association welcomes upgrade

Published: 
Monday, August 21, 2017

The Prisons Officer’s Association has welcomed news that the facilities at the Golden Grove Remand Prison will be upgraded with an injection of $56.3 million.

Gerard Gordon, the secretary of the Association, says the decision made by Cabinet to upgrade the remand facility in Arouca was a step in the right direction.

At last Thursday’s post-Cabinet media briefing, National Security Minister Edmund Dillon said that Cabinet had approved $53.6 million for the upgrade at the prison which will focus on the construction of toilets in cells, a sewer and waste water treatment, plumbing, fire protection, electrical system, ventilation and the CCTV system.

“It is a step in the right direction. We are excited that the Government continues to do what is necessary to improve the conditions at the prison. Most of our facilities are over 200 years-old and no matter how you try to retrofit them there is only so much you can do with what the facilities presents,” he said.

Gordon said, however, some 1,000 plus inmates at the prison was another challenge.

“We know about the overcrowding and the challenges that present to the officers and the remandees and we look forward to having the work started and completed in the shortest possible time to that facility,” he said.

He said that every prison in the country was in need of refurbishment.

“They were doing work at the Maximum Security Prison. Some of it was completed...the last facility built is over 20 years old,” he said.

Gordon said the association understood the financial challenges of the Government and sooner or later they will be turning the sod at a brand new prison facility.

However, he said he was not given an opportunity to view all the plans and the upgrades.

“We don’t know what the plans are but the information was that there were talks on toilets, plumbing, ventilation but we don’t have details on the scope of work about the usage of the money,” he said.

Gordon said the Tobago Prison was in desperate need of attention.

“The Tobago Prison is desperately in need of repair and the current facility has outlived its usefulness and the infrastructure. It is not about holding individuals but it must provide an enabling environment with the rehabilitation of the offenders,” he said.