With yet another threat to the lives of prison officers, Commissioner of Prisons Gerard Wilson said officers are “now running” scared for themselves and their families.
Speaking on CNC3’s The Morning Brew yesterday, Wilson said morale was running low and the job of a prison officer was one of the most dangerous in the country.
While homicide investigators have not established a motive for the murder of Sherry Ann Watson, the ex-wife of an officer stationed in the prison armoury, it prompted Wilson to issue an advisory to exercise vigilance, especially when off duty.
It followed an intelligence-gathering agency’s warning of potential hits on two prison officers earlier this week. Steps were taken to protect the officers, but Wilson issued the plea to all his members to be safe. This included their families as he said there is sometimes, collateral damage.
“Because stress is a silent killer, it is what makes this job so dangerous. Officers are intimidated and rightly so because we are seeing instances of the so-called and perceived drug war out there. We are seeing what is happening on a daily basis and it means that it could happen to any officer or anybody. Nobody is divorced, at all, from being targeted, including myself. The job is stressful.
“When you wake up in the morning, you ask yourself, what is next? I must say the Prison Officers Association has been supportive. I think that we work well together. As I told the Association president yesterday, this is about working together for the benefit of the officers and the country. This is not the time to be fragmented at all,” Wilson said.
The name of the shot-caller has been circulating on WhatsApp, but Wilson said he would not reveal it as there was no confirmation. He said based on the officers targeted, he believed that the threats were related to their job. Now more than ever, he said officers are “running scared” and it does not augur well for the future of the Prison Service as it comprises the service and the security of T&T.