Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 9th 2013 Contents A8
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Former minister in the Ministry of
National Security Subhas Panday believes
a well-paid independent elite team should
be hired by the Government to deal with
the cellphone racket in prison as a method
of crime reduction.
Speaking at a press conference at his San
Fernando office yesterday, Panday lauded
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar for
attempting to deal with the illegal trade.
He suggested she should liaise with the
Prison Officers Association to stop the
Saying Persad-Bissessar would face many
hurdles because some prison officials were
allegedly part of the illegal ring, Panday said
inviting prisons officers to monitor cellphone
jammers would be like "leaving a cat to
"I am heartened that the Prime Minister,
as head of National Security (the Nation-
al Security Council), has embarked on firm
action but it is a difficult task dealing with
the jail culture and the jail economy," Panday
He added that it was common for drugs
to be sold in prison.
"Some prisoners vault the phones (in
their rectums) and there is trading in the
prisons under the watch of the prisons offi-
cers," Panday said.
He said under his tenure he attempted
to deal with the issue but "every excuse in
the world was given by the administrators
about why it would not work."
Panday said the easy entry of cellphones
and other illegal material in jail would not
stop if monitoring the scanners and cell-
phone jammers remained in the hands of
the prison administrators.
He said during his tenure he faced oppo-
sition from the prison authorities when he
tried to deal with the problem.
"As a starting point we installed scanners
to prevent cellphones from entering but
when I told them to install cell jammers
they said it could not be done because it
would affect the residents in the vicinity of
the jail," Panday added.
He said the Special Anti-Crime Unit had
a mobile cell jammer which was used for
a short while but the prison authorities
stopped using it because they said it was
better to let the calls go through so they
could monitor and deal with crime from
the source but this never happened, he said.
Panday recommended that prisons officers
be given a polygraph test every six months.
He said surveillance cameras, scanners and
cellphone jammers should be set up and
there should be regular liaison with the
Prison Officers Association which wanted
to assist in cracking down on illegal use of
cellphones in prison.
He also recommended that prison officers
dormitories be built outside the prison walls.
President of the association Ceron
Richards has lauded the cellphone-jamming
He said the association had been lobbying
for improved technological systems at the
prisons, including closed-circuit cameras,
body scanners and metal detectors for several
He also recommended that a communi-
cation system should be installed to allow
inmates to communicate with their families,
friends and lawyers.
Commissioner of Prisons Martin Martinez
was not available for comment as calls to
his cellphone went unanswered.
The ten-year-old boy, charged for hitting
a 13-year-old schoolgirl in the face with a
stone, has been released into the custody of
his mother after spending a week at St
Michael s School for Boys, Diego Martin.
The boy, who has been described as a bully,
reappeared before Couva magistrate Gail Gon-
zales yesterday with his mother at his side.
Before the case started the courtroom was
cleared of members of the public to protect
the boy s identity as he is a juvenile.
When he appeared in court last week a
guilty plea was entered on his behalf to the
charge of assault by beating.
Gonzales ordered a probation officer s
Yesterday defence attorney Darryl Giles
asked the magistrate to reprimand and dis-
charge the boy because he had shown remorse.
A representative from St Michael s reported
to the court that the child was co-operative
The boy said his stay at the home was good.
He will return to court on Friday when the
probation officer s report is expected to be
Last week court prosecutor Sergeant Tara-
dath Singh told the court around 3.30 pm
last week Tuesday, the schoolgirl was with
her siblings when she got into an argument
with the boy and a fight started.
The girl s elder sister parted the fight. The
boy took a stone and struck the girl on the
left side of her upper lip and ran away.
The girl is expected to write the Secondary
Entrance Examination today.
The boy was arrested and charged by PC
Subhas: Hire elite team to
deal with phones in prisons
Former minister in the Ministry of National Security Subhas Panday makes a point during
his news conference yesterday.
Boy, 10, on
San Juan couple
granted $.27m bail
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