ISSUES surrounding a report into the jailbreak at the Port of Spain prison in 2015, make people question whether they have access to justice.
High Court judge Malcolm Holdip expressed this opinion during a public forum hosted by the Judicial Education Institute at the Angostura Event Hall in Laventille on Thursday night. Holdip observed, "There is a certain degree of procrastination with respect to following some of these things."
After he noted one of the people involved in the jailbreak appeared before him court, Justice Holdip wondered how "three years later, you can't find out how the guns get in the jail and how the two grenades get in the jail?"
The judge opined, "Unfortunately, our country has reached a stage where, these things are being prolonged because there is a lack of political will, a lack of character by many persons who ought to be able to do their job and they're not doing their jobs."
According to Holdip, "There is a lot of tension between the commissioner of prisons and the head of the prison social welfare association." He said these individuals "are using opportunities to sling arrows at each other." Saying that something was going wrong, Holdip remarked, "What is being put out in the public domain is not necessarily 100 per cent correct."
He said once issues like these continue "people are going to have mistrust with respect to the institution." Reiterating this matter is before a tribunal, Holdip said, "What we can do is that we keep it in the public domain." He said people need to get uncomfortable when they have to keep mentioning something which could be resolved by a common sense solution.
"Nobody can't fool anybody here and tell me that if I go in the prisons right now, you wouldn't know that I went to the prisons." Holdip said that information could be gleaned from closed circuit camera footage inside and outside of the prison. That same footage, Holdip continued, would also indicate the time when "three men try to break out...armed with guns and two grenades."
He added there have been other instances where files go missing and this makes people ask about having access to justice. Holdip also indicated that one of the main problems in the criminal justice system is that" people don't trust the police."