Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 6th 2013 Contents A6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, June 6, 2013
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Even as Justice Minister
Christlyn Moore told a news con-
ference at the Maximum Security
Prison in Arouca yesterday that she
had checked and no prisoner at the
facility was on any hunger strike,
eight or nine inmates, pushing their
hands out the windows of their
cells, shouted continuously that
they were being treated like dogs.
"There is disquiet, there is no
doubt. But to describe it as a hunger
strike is a bit generous," Moore said.
Prisons Commissioner Martin
Martinez, who was at the conference,
said inmates who were reportedly
on a hunger strike had in fact been
feasting on cereal, snacks, juice and
water bought for them in the prison
cafeteria by visiting friends and rel-
He said when he visited them last
Sunday they "were as happy as a
well-fed baby in a crib with a rattle"
with no indication anyone was starv-
ing or listless.
Martinez said prison medical offi-
cers were yesterday expected to
examine the inmates who were not
eating prison meals. He said they
were being closely monitored in case
they stopped eating altogether and
measures had been put in place to
take care of them if they did.
Moore said she had been offered
prison meals whenever she visited
and they were quite adequate. She
ate rice, chicken, lentils and salad
on her last visit to Carerra Island
The minister said she had a long
conversation with Martinez, key
administration personnel and mem-
bers of the inmate population yes-
terday morning and she believed she
could state there was no hunger
strike at the prison.
"There are some prisoners who
have access to alternative meals and
have refused to eat prison meals.
"This does not equate with a
hunger strike. But it also does not
mean there has not been disquiet
among prisoners," she said.
Moore said she had held an hour-
long meeting with 15 inmates earlier
in the morning and their only con-
cern was the length of time it took
for their cases to be heard.
Her meeting came after newspa-
per reports that remand prisoners
had gone on hunger strike on May
19 over the delays in hearing their
matters and inadequate prison con-
The shouts of the inmates, from
a cell block next to the hall where
the press conference was held, could
be heard even before it started.
"They treating we like dog! We
have to wait eight and nine and ten
years for a date! They creating crim-
inals here!" different inmates shout-
ed.There are 400 prisoners on
remand at the Maximum Security
Prison, another 1,100 at the Golden
Grove Prison and a total of around
1,800 at all the prisons.
Moore said she found it necessary
to visit after reports of the hunger
strike and because her ministry had
been receiving an increasing number
of letters from prisoners complaining
about the lengthy waits for trial
"From our checks, 578 people
accused of murder are in the prison
system. Of this, 386 have been await-
ing trial for more than three years,"
One short-term measure had
already been put in place by Chief
Justice Ivor Archie after requests by
the Justice Ministry, she said.
This involves the judiciary setting
aside two to three weeks in Septem-
ber to hear the cases of those who
There were 30 remand inmates
wanting to plead guilty to the last
count, she said, but others were also
willing to take advantage of this
After visit to Maximum Security Prison...
Moore: No hunger strike by inmates
Justice Minister Christlyn Moore, centre, with Prisons Commissioner Martin Martinez, left, and Deputy
Commissioner Olson Sandy at the Maximum Security Prison after yesterday's news briefing.
PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR
East Trinidad has been identified as the most
vulnerable area in the country in the event of a
Making the statement yesterday was Kenneth
Kerr, acting climatologist at the Meteorological
Services Division, during a press conference on
the start of the hurricane season. The briefing was
held at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain, yester-
Kerr gave a brief overview of the 2013 rainy and
hurricane seasons and forecast.
Asked why the East was identified by the division,
Kerr said, "When storms form in that area and
they track westward, it is likely T&T is going to
"Our concern is to the east of T&T. That area
is the most vulnerable area for us based on the
previous tracks taken. We have found that storms
that are formed near ten degrees north or below
ten degrees north more often threaten T&T."
The possibility of a storm or hurricane hitting
T&T cannot be predicted months in advance.
"At this point we can say nothing about storms
landfalling in T&T. That can only be said or made
possible when a storm is within hours."
He said the division was fully equipped to monitor
all types of weather conditions. The rainy season,
he said, was also expected to be wetter than normal,
but this would vary in different areas of the coun-
try.With the expected rainfall increase, there is also
expected to be an increase in vector-borne diseases
Kerr said there was a greater chance of more
Met office warns:
East most vulnerable if hurricane hits T&T
rainfall for north-east, central, south-east
and south Trinidad. Tobago is also expect-
ed to experience greater than normal rain-
"For June, July and August, we have a
strong tendency towards above normal
for all of T&T.
"For September, October and November,
we have a tendency for normal rainfall for
Trinidad and as for Tobago, we have a
strong tendency for above-normal rain-
Some of the common factors associated
with above-normal rainfall, Kerr said,
included flooding, landslides, rivers over-
flowing their banks and damage to prop-
Presenting an overview of the dry sea-
son, Kerr said some months which were
excessively dry and Tobago in particular
experienced dry spells.
At the end of March the season became
wetter than normal and Kerr described
April as "significantly wet."
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