Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 12th 2017 Contents tobagotoday.co.tt July 12 - 2017
It can happen in PoS too
President of the Prisons Officers Asso-
ciation, Ceron Richards, fears that Sun-
day'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 trig-
ger a stand-off and jailbreak at this pris-
on were lack of security measures and the
city's ageing facility.
He was commenting on the stand-off
between 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 sim-
ilar 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 worrying. It is not far fetched
in our country. And if that is any indica-
tion 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
Richards said things had to be imple-
mented at this prison to secure and mon-
itor its 700 inmates some of whom were
"Over the years we have been clamour-
ing for a number of security implemen-
tation...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 deterio-
rating, Richard said, things could be done
to improve the building's internal system
and make it OSH compliant for its 200
He said the association had asked for
additional CCTV cameras be installed at
the nation's prisons.
"You cannot have high security estab-
lishments and don't have basic security
"No Government so far is up to the
challenge 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 cap-
ital 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 asso-
ciation would enlighten the public on its
growing challenges this month.
Weighing in on the issue, Khan said
prisoners didnot need guns and ammuni-
tion 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
inhumane conditions, Khan said a few
frustrated 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 copy-
cat, 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 toi-
let paper was not readily available meant
"this could be a disaster waiting to happen.
It's a ticking time bomb."
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
minister in charge of prisons had recom-
mended "the shut down of the Port-of-
Spain Prison. I supported this recommen-
dation 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 operations.
"It is also recommended that an engi-
neering team be established that would
visit each prison with a view to determin-
ing its current state of each prison and
give recommendations on improving the
structure of such buildings."
Calls to acting Commissioner of Prisons
Williams Alexander's cellphone yesterday
went unanswered. (Trinidad Guardian)
Last week to submit
property tax forms
With a few days to go
before deadline, prop-
erty tax form submis-
sions are still at a trick-
le and a few people in
some locations have
even asked to get back
already submitted. This
was confirmed by senior
(Ministry of Finance)
officials yesterday as the
last week for submis-
sion of forms by resi-
dential owners, gets
underway. Deadline is
Friday July 14.
Initial deadline was
May 22. Due to a "rush"
by the public to submit
forms, this was extend-
ed to June 5. Legal action
to block the exercise was
mounted by the Oppo-
sition which lost the bid.
The court ruled forms
could be submitted vol-
untarily, but were not
mandatory and the min-
istry should advertise
information on the issue.
Deadline was then
extended from June to
since announcement of
the last extension, and
the court's ruling, sub-
missions were only a
trickle and this hadn't
increased up to last
"It's very, very slow at
various offices, just
trickling. In most places
numbers every day are
under 100 people. Out-
lying offices, south, cen-
tral seem to have a much
slower flow also."
"A few people in some
areas even asked back
for their forms and
information they sub-
mitted. That happened
in Port-of-Spain and a
couple other areas," they
They said the lighter
numbers could also be
due to the fact the divi-
sion has obtained more
staff and there's no
waiting to be attended
to. But supervisors also
believed the slower flow
was due to further
impending legal action
by the Opposition, legal-
ly challenging the prop-
erty tax since September.
Finance Minister Colm
Imbert, said in May
150,000 forms were
received in the first few
weeks of the exercise.
Government is targeting
The Scarborough Secondary School
graduating class of 2017 pose for a
picture at their graduation exercise
held at that the Shawpark Cultural
Complex on Tuesday 22nd June 2017.
Assistant Secretary in the Division of
Education, Innovation and Energy,
Marisha Osmond encourage the
students on the next path of their
journey to success.
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