The issue of prisons officers using firearms off duty has not been resolved, according to acting police commissioner James Philbert.
Philbert was speaking with reporters after a three-and-a-half hour meeting with top stakeholders yesterday, at the Ministry of National Security, Temple Court, Port-of-Spain. The meeting became necessary after prisons officers continued on their third day of protest, after their colleague Marvin Diaz was gunned down outside a Gasparillo club on Monday night. Diaz, 35, of Lady Young Road, Morvant, was assigned to the Golden Grove Prison, Arouca.
National Security Minister John Sandy, Minister in the Ministry of National Security Subhas Panday, Commissioner of Prisons John Rougier and members of the Prisons Officers Association were present at the meeting. They discussed issues concerning the officers, such as firearms, bulletproof vests, police security and the relocation of the prisons officers. Philbert said the discussions concerning firearms would continue with a "committee" meeting on Monday. "It has not reached a stage of finality," he said.
"A committee will start sittings on Monday and it will take about two months to come to a conclusion," Philbert said. In an interview after the meeting, Rougier said prisons officers were already given bulletproof vests. He said the committee would discuss the firearms issue on Monday. He added that there would be zero tolerance concerning contraband in the prisons. Rougier said he met with Diaz's family concerning funeral arrangements. "The meeting went well and we had discussions...The family has anxiety and tension," he said