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Stay true to your oath—Hinds

Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Minister in the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs, Fitzgerald Hinds during yesterday’s Budget debate at the Parliament Building in Port-of-Spain. PICTURE OFFICE OF THE PARLIAMENT

Prisons officers need to be more professional and ethical, says PNM's Fitzgerald Hinds, Minister in the Ministry of the Attorney General.

Hinds gave the advice yesterday in Parliament during 2018 Budget debate.

He said someone had walked up to prisons officer Richard Sandy and shot him in in the leg, severing an artery, at a bar in Gasparillo last Saturday.

Hinds said while police had identified alleged perpetrators and he hoped they would progress to bring the matter to justice. He said prisons officers had dangerous jobs and an ex-inmate had gone out with a vengeance to kill.

Noting attempts by the Prisons Officers' Association to blame Government for the incident, Hinds urged prison officers to be professional and avoid situations.

"If prison officers are going to engage in taking drugs into prisons, if prisoners (sic) are going to take cell phones into the prisons to arrange deals to be struck, if prison officers are going to get involved in relationships with prisoners' families on the outside, if prisoners (sic) are going to be borrowing money from prisoners' families — these things have happened in the world and T&T isn't distant and separate from it."

"So prison officers have to be more professional and ethical. You have criminals operating but we have to behave in a manner that doesn't encourage or fuel that in any way."

"We must resist it and ensure our own conduct as officers — police, soldiers, immigration, Customs — as we have issues in all these organisations with people who aren't true to their oath and endanger the rest. We must deal with that frontally and very frankly. A lot that happens cannot happen without the complicity and support of elements of the State. "

He also expressed condolences to Sandy's family of prisons officer.

National Security Minister Edmund Dillon and UNC MP Rodney Charles also expressed condolences.

Dillon said the country was witnessing National Security members being killed in relation to their job.

He said crime problems like T&T's exist in other countries and it wasn't because of Laventille alone. He said issues concerning Laventille resulted from "inner-city living". But he admitted that culture was dominant in the East-West corridor.

"And I'm seeing it playing out in schools also," Hinds said.