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Friday 21 September 2018
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Put public safety first, Dillon tells prison officers

National Security Minister Edmund Dillon

National Security Minister Edmund Dillon has told 25 prison officers who went to the Canadian High Commission last month, seeking information on how to gain asylum in Canada, to “re-evaluate their stance.”

In offering this advice in the House of Representatives, on Friday, Dillon told prison officers their concerns about their safety and security are being addressed.

Responding to a question, Dillon said there was a meeting on November 7 at his ministry involving prison officers and attended by Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi.

He said at that meeting by the Prison Officers Association asked for protection for its members and the Commissioner of Prisons was advised to engage the Commissioner of Police “with respect to those officers whose lives are deemed to be under threat.”

Against this background, Dillon urged the officers who went to the Canadian High Commission to “consider the strain on the agencies of the criminal justice system and the threats to public safety which may occur, should they follow through with their vocalised intent.”

Dillon said any application for leave of absence or request to terminate employment services must go through the standard human-resource channels. Once approved, Dillon said prison officers making such applications “will then be unrestricted in the determination of their next course of action.”

Dillon also said there was an intake of 284 male and female recruits into the Prison Service in September, as part of efforts to address possible manpower inadequacies, and also identified some short-term strategies should there be a shortage of prison officers, including granting approval for prison officers to work extra hours.

In response to a question from Caroni East MP Dr Tim Gopeesingh about providing guns to prison officers, Dillon said talks about protection for officers are ongoing.

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