Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 26th 2015 Contents A10
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Prisons officers have not received
uniforms to carry out their official
duties at the nation s prions for the
past two years. In the absence of uni-
forms, prisons officers have no
recourse but to wear civilian clothing.
The Prison Officers Association
(POA) is now calling for an investiga-
tion into the procurement practices
for these uniforms, said POA general
secretary Gerard Gordon on Friday.
Speaking to the Sunday Guardian,
Gordon said their main concern was
that even with the addition of a pro-
curement department, they found
themselves dealing with "an undis-
closed supplier or suppliers, who from
our information their core business is
not uniform production."
He said this was "highly suspect
"What is very disturbing is that
money has been spent for uniforms
and we re going on two years without
uniforms. The association would like
a proper investigation how a fiasco
like this was allowed to happen."
He said an investigation must be
conducted to determine who awarded
the contracts, their financial status,
what was their core business, how the
contracts were awarded, the amount
of money paid out so far, and why the
prisons officers hadn t received their
Gordon said part of the problem
was that the uniforms were stranded
in China, and this also called into
question the quality of the uniforms
the T&T Prisons Service will receive.
He said years ago, skilled inmates
made prison uniforms for officers and
they were also manufactured locally.
Gordon said the new Prisons Com-
missioner, Sterling Stewart, was trying
to deal with the situation by having
some uniforms made, but cloth still
needed to be ordered.
He emphasised that the association
had no beef with Stewart as he came
in and met the situation.
Gordon said new uniforms should
be made with modern materials that
can repel bacteria and diseases that
the officers sometimes brought home
He said although they were forced
to wear civilian clothing to perform
their official duties, they still adhered
to a standard of dress---no printed or
round-necked jerseys, shirts must look
neat and clean and no "loud" sneak-
ers.He said "soft" pants, short-sleeved
shirts and polos without prints were
Two years without uniforms,
prisons officers call for probe
Gordon said items such as the
prisons officer s cap or beret were
called "condemn and replace,"
and had to be returned before
When asked if prisons officers
wearing civilian clothes made it
easier for prisoners to blend in
during a jail break, he said that it
was impossible and would not
Gordon explained that there
was only a small corps of officers,
each batch might contain 20 to
He said they knew one another
and were still a close-knit organ-
isation and every officer must
have his prison identification on
him at all times.
Ramadhar: We will work to
find a solution to the problem
When Justice Minister Prakash
Ramadhar was contacted yesterday
for his comment on the uniform
shortage, he said: "The welfare of
the prisons and prisons officers
are extremely important to me,
and I will make inquiries as to what
is really happening in relation to
"They have my commitment
that whatever action needs to be
taken to rectifying specifically what
is affecting them will be taken.
"This will be done working
absolutely in accord with the Com-
missioner of Prisons and his team
to find a solution to any difficulty
that may exist."
New police uniforms
When the President of the
Police Social and Welfare
Inspector Anand Ramesar
was contacted about the
status of the proposed 21st
century police uniforms, he
said that they were in limbo.
Ramesar said it seemed
that there was no intention
for their adoption as there
was a silent rejection by the
Commissioner of Police, and
the Police Service
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