Amidst their safety concerns at the Maximum Security Prison, Golden Grove, the Prison Officer’s Association (POA) is optimistic that relief is on the way.
Speaking with Newsday this afternoon, President of the POA, Ceron Richards said the association is hopefully awaiting the assistance they need. “There has been failure with some of the gates and there is no alarm system at the prison. Officers are very concerned,” he said. He added that though the issues have been “on the table” for a while, the POA will remain “ever vigilant.”
Richards also said that some officers at the prison have gotten ill because of stress. He said the unsolved safety concerns have aroused an atmosphere of fear with the officers and their attendance and performance have been “undermined” as a result. He said the association will continue to raise awareness and let the public know about their concerns.
He added that the association hopes that, in the near future, something will be done to improve the issues being faced.
In separate talks with Newsday, retired Commissioner of Prisons, Sterling Stewart said the concerns of the POA may not be as critical as portrayed. “Trust that the issues will be dealt with assiduously and most diligently, if they are as serious as claimed.” He added that the Trinidad & Tobago Prison Service knows the “importance of gates and keys” and understands safety; therefore, any issue contradicting that will be dealt with. He also said one should have “confidence” in the new Commissioner of Prisons, William Alexander, to do what is required.
Calls made by Newsday to Alexander went unanswered today.