JENSEN LA VENDE
PRISONS Commissioner Gerard Wilson said he is questioning the timing of the release of information pertaining to compromised locks at the Port of Spain prison. Newsday reported on Monday that the locks at the prison were deemed compromised three years ago and to date the locks were not changed.
Contacted yesterday, Wilson said this year is an election year for the Prison Officers Association and questioned why this information was now rearing its head added that that he received no report from any officer that they were uneasy working at the Port of Spain Prison.
In June 2016, prison officer Darron Ramlochan, 28, appeared in the Port of Spain Magistrates’ Court charged with misbehaviour in public office in connection with the disappearance of keys for nearly a day.
The keys were later recovered but senior prison officials then believed there was enough time for duplicates to be made and ordered that the locks be changed.
A month later, another bunch of keys went missing for an inordinate amount of time.
Following that the locks were sourced, purchased and imported.
A prison source told Newsday that the locks took close to a year to acquire, because they required some measure of speciality, and cost the State near $1 million. The locks were handed over to the Prisons Service but, with payments due, the keys to the locks have been kept by the suppliers.
The 111 locks for the entire prison must be changed because of the breach, prison sources said, and each day the locks remain not installed poses an unnecessary security risk.
“The information is very suspicious at this time because whatever was compromised for however long and it is very strange it will come up now.
“Everything is ok in Port of Spain Prison and I have not gotten any report from any officer that they are worried” Dillon said adding that he was “not going down that road” when asked if the locks were at all changed saying that it is an ongoing process.
Speaking with Newsday during the tea-break in Parliament yesterday National Security Minister Edmund Dillon said the issue of locks in a prison was of national security and should be treated with such.
Asked if he was aware if the locks had been changed, Dillon said he could not put that out into the public domain.
“I can tell you that the question of locks have been addressed and continues to be addressed as we speak” Dillon said.