Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 25th 2015 Contents In an unbelievable, riveting and
deeply worrying series of inci-
dents in Port-of-Spain yester-
day, three inmates successfully
shot their way out of the state
prison and killed a police officer.
And to underscore his earlier
concerns about the insecure state
of the prisons, President of the
Prison Officers Association, Cer-
ron Richards, is not surprised.
"Over the last month at least
the prisons have been under
threat and the state has done
nothing about it," Richards said.
Prison officials had beefed up
security inside the jail 24 hours a
day, but not only did the prison-
ers shoot their way out of the
State Prison, they somehow got
hold of a vehicle to drive them-
selves to freedom.
POA President Richards seems
to be stating the obvious when
he says: "It s reasonable to spec-
ulate that there was some assis-
tance from inside." It seems like-
ly that some prison staff colluded
with prisoners to smuggle
weapons in. How else could
high-powered weapons have got
into the prison except through
inside help, is a question that
would seem to answer itself.
We are still awaiting all the
facts surrounding the successful
jailbreak, but to judge from the
information that is available, it is
deeply worrying that security
could be so lax at the state
prison that guns and a hand
grenade could have got in unde-
The Prime Minister has assured
the country that the national
security is not under threat, but
the incident, while not necessi-
tating a national emergency dec-
laration, is nevertheless an emer-
gency that concerns the nation.
Certainly the threat to the
public was palpable and very
real. Members of the public
passing by could have been
attacked by the escaping prison-
Calls for calm were appropri-
ate, but while PC Sherman May-
nard alone was tragically killed
by the escapees, the situation
yesterday could have been worse.
Reports on prison insecurity,
overcrowding, inmates with cell-
phones, weapons of every variety,
suspicions and actual evidence of
corrupt prison officers collabo-
rating with criminals...all those
have been going on for decades.
Those concerns have gone unad-
If the relevant national security
figures in and out of government
were not convinced before that
conditions in prison deserve their
full and urgent attention, then
the events of yesterday should
have convinced them.
We don t yet have all the
information surrounding the jail-
break, but some questions now
are entirely appropriate. How did
conditions inside the prison---
security conditions and those in
which the inmates are being
held---cause the break and/or
facilitate the escape?
Just short of the 25th anniver-
sary of an attempted coup that
led the Islamic insurgents to
attack the national Parliament
and take over the national televi-
sion station, the kind of incident
that occurred at the prison in
Port-of-Spain causes uncomfort-
able reminders and deep anxiety
among the public.
Indeed the early on-the-street
communication of the incident
incorrectly referenced the same
cast of people.
There must be a swift investi-
gation and reporting back to the
public of the factors that brought
about this horrific armed jail-
break by three prisoners.
If there is to be yet another
commission of enquiry, it ought
to be directed to report back
more quickly than has been the
case with others.
After the jailbreak
Reports on prison insecurity, overcrowding, inmates with cellphones, weapons of
every variety, suspicions and actual evidence of corrupt prisons officers collaborating
with criminals...all those have been going on for decades. Those concerns have gone
unaddressed. If the relevant national security figures in and out of government were
not convinced before that conditions in prison deserve their full and urgent atten-
tion, then the events of yesterday should convince them.
Achieving two historic feats in one
night is not a common occurrence.
Therefore, when it happens we must
recognise it and give our heartiest
commendations to the individuals
Jamaica's senior national football
team---more affectionately known as
the Reggae Boyz---inked the country's
name in the history books when they
defeated the United States 2-1 in the
semifinal of the Concacaf Gold Cup
on Wednesday evening.
It was the first time that Jamaica
were beating the USA on their home
soil, and the victory made us the first
Caribbean nation to advance to the
final of this tournament being played
in the USA.
Of significant note also is the fact
this was the first time in 47 years
that the USA were losing at home to
a Caribbean team.
The Reggae Boyz now carry with
them into the final Sunday against
Mexico the hopes and dreams of not
only Jamaica, but the entire
Our hope is that they will do what
it takes on Sunday to lift the Gold
Cup as such a triumph would elevate
respect for the region in the eyes of
As we celebrate their march into
world football's history book on
Wednesday night, we do so with
great awareness that the Boyz have
one more hurdle on that road to
creating further history.
We therefore wish them well on
Sunday and hope that, as coach
Schaefer is quoted as saying, "Bob
Marley comes after the match."
Sound Off: Hoping the Reggae Boyz will create further history
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