Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 11th 2017 Contents A6 news
guardian.co.tt Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Barataria by October
A by-election maybe looming by the last
quarter of the year---approximately around
October---to fill the vacancy resulting from
the recent death of PNM San Juan/Laventille
councillor Pernell Bruno .
Bruno died last weekend. A release from the
PNM's Women's League and St Joseph constit-
uency stated he died following a brief battle with
Bruno had represented the area of Barataria
which he won in 2013 and 2016 Local Govern-
Elections and Boundaries Commission officials
confirmed by-elections are normally held three
months after a vacancy arises in a seat. First they
said the corporation would have to notify the Lo-
cal Government Ministry that the vacancy had
arisen and the need for a by-election. Information
will then be relayed via President's House on the
vacancy and by-election date.
Corporation chairman, Anthony Roberts, said
the ministry would be notified, but couldn't say
when this would be done.
PNM assistant general secretary, Daniel Dook-
ie, said PNM's central executive would meet to-
morrow and the issue of Bruno's death and the
corporation's vacancy would likely be discussed.
Dookie , extending sympathies to Bruno's family
stated: "Councillor Bruno had proven to be a ded-
icated, committed and loyal servant of the people.
"He championed many interventions to assist
his burgesses, his demonstrated ability to com-
municate with people and his capacity for hard
work were a hallmark of his years of service."
The PNM Women' s League added: "Mr Bruno's
passing comes as a shock to the fraternity and we
mourn the great loss of such a humble man who
served his burgesses with great dedication. Bruno
was instrumental in bringing San Juan Jabloteh
back to play at the Barataria Recreation Ground
"The region of San Juan Laventille has lost a
leader whose work was service, community and
After riot in Guyana jail:
Prison officers: It can happen in PoS too
President of the Prisons Officers As-
sociation, Ceron Richards, fears that
Sunday's jailbreak in Guyana is a disaster
waiting to happen at the Port-of-Spain
Attorney Israel Khan SC also described it
as a minefield and a ticking time bomb.
Richard said two things that could trigger
a stand-off and jailbreak at this prison were
lack of security measures and the city's age-
He was commenting on the stand-off be-
tween armed inmates and prison officers in
Guyana's Georgetown Prison, which left one
prison officer killed, seven others injured and
four prisoners escaping.
Chaos broke out at the prison after armed
inmates took control of the facility, setting
it on fire.
Ask if the Port-of-Spain State Prison,
which was built in 1812 could face a similar
situation, Richards said yes.
"But of course, we had a jail break in July
of 2015 which resulted in the death of three
individuals. Of course, it is extremely worry-
ing. It is not far fetched in our country. And if
that is any indication as to what can happen
in the service, that question goes without
saying. We have to look at these things as
serious trends. When anything happens in
the Caribbean and Central America it could
have a domino effect. It can spread to other
countries. We have to be mindful of that."
Richards said things had to be implement-
ed at this prison to secure and monitor its
700 inmates some of whom were considered
"Over the years we have been clamouring
for a number of security implementation...
all those things have fallen on deaf ears. If not
most of them. We have always stated that the
Port-of- Spain Prison is faced with health
and safety challenges."
While the structure had been deteriorating,
Richard said, things could be done to improve
the building's internal system and make it
OSH compliant for its 200 prison officers.
He said the association had asked for ad-
ditional CCTV cameras be installed at the
"You cannot have high security establish-
ments and don't have basic security equip-
"No Government so far is up to the chal-
lenge of having that type of facility built.
When we had the money to build the prison
it was not done. Now we have no money we
are faced with all sorts of excuses, he said"
Richards was not in support of the capital
city prison being shut down since there was
no alternate location.
He said moving the prisons to an already
overcrowded Maximum Security Prison was
not an option, since the facility did not have
a proper alarm system.
In going forward, Richard said the associa-
tion would enlighten the public on its growing
challenges this month.
Weighing in on the issue, Khan said pris-
oners didnot need guns and ammunition to
have a jail break. "All that is required is a box
of matches which is so accessible in prison
and easy to conceal," he said.
Faced with massive overcrowding and in-
humane conditions, Khan said a few frustrat-
ed prisoners "might just lose it and all hell
would break lose. They cannot get a day in
trail. Everything might come to a climax.
Don't think they are not looking on to the
52 part heard matters that are pending and
then going to court and can't get a trial.
"Trinidadians have a tendency to copycat,
what happened in Guyana might very well be
patterned here," Khan said.
Khan said the fact that prisoners were still
relieving themselves in pails and toilet paper
was not readily available meant "this could
be a disaster waiting to happen. It's a ticking
Former inspector of prisons, Daniel Khan
concurred with Richards.
"When your neighbour's house is on fire
you should wet yours."
Khan said within recent times every min-
ister in charge of prisons had recommended
"the shut down of the Port-of-Spain Pris-
on. I supported this recommendation every
time it was made and documented such in
my 2012 report."
In that report, Khan stated that the extent
of upgrades were needed in order to bring it
to a standard in which humane, hygienic and
sanitary conditions prevail would make it
economically infeasible to continue its op-
"It is also recommended that an engineer-
ing team be established that would visit each
prison with a view to determining its current
state of each prison and give recommenda-
tions on improving the structure of such
Calls to acting Commissioner of Prisons
Williams Alexander's cellphone yesterday
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