President of the Prison Officers Association Cerron Richards said yesterday, in response to Minister of Finance Colm Imbert’s presentation of the 2017-2018 fiscal package, that he is not satisfied with Government’s allocation of funds to the prisons service.
While the Finance Minister mentioned an allocation of funds to upgrade the remand yard at the Golden Grove prison, and the completion of a video conferencing facility, Richards said these announcements were already made prior to the reading of the budget. Imbert also mentioned a crime prevention programme to deal with crime and violence through detection prosecution and rehabilitation, which will include the prison service.
Richards said after the Draft Estimate of Expenditures is published, the prison system will better know how much of National Security’s allocated $6.4 billion would be given to them and what the money will be spent on.
“Allocations have not been made for a new facility in Tobago, despite the fact that the Tobago prison has outlived its usefulness. He has not yet mentioned upgrades to Port of Spain prisons. He also has not yet mentioned alternatives to using force, like tasers, pepper spray that would assist in the management of unruly prisons. These are what we will be looking at principally in the draft estimate.”
The value of the entire fiscal package was $50.5 billion.