National Security Minister Stuart Young made good yesterday on the PNM’s 2018 budget promise to provide 250 firearms for prison officers.
This latest provision to protect prison officers comes several months after officers were provided with 250 stab vests.
Described as one of the most dangerous professions in this country, prison officers have been appealing for more to be done to ensure their safety for years.
In a press release after the handover of the Smith and Wesson M&P firearms, Young said very early after he assumed office as National Security Minister, he met with the T&T Prison Service and the Prison Officers Association to discuss the issues facing the officers.
The guns will be given to officers on a “keep and carry” system.
In the release, Young said he took the opportunity to reaffirm his commitment to the men and women in the Prison Service. He said the ministry is currently implementing a number of measures to address the issues affecting the organisation.
Since 2009, 16 prison officers have been killed.
Four of them were murdered in the last two years.
Last October, two officers, Superintendent of Prisons Wayne Jackson and officer Darren Francis were murdered outside their homes.
Another officer, Khalil Baksh’s home was firebombed, although he escaped harm.