President of the Prison Officers Association Ceron Richards yesterday urged National Security Minister Stuart Young to improve on the legacy of his predecessors and use his appointment as an opportunity to forge closer ties with the Prison Service.
Speaking with Newsday, Richards said out of all divisions of the protective services, the prisons service consistently receives the smallest allocation from the national security budget, despite its importance in maintaining and reforming criminals.
He called on Young to give an update on a Cabinet note on a new alarm system for the Golden Grove Maximum Security Prison and doing much needed repairs to the Tobago Prison.
"We cannot afford to wait for some catastrophe to happen at our prisons, then to make the necessary repairs. At the moment the Arouca Prison is without an alarm, even after we were assured that a cabinet note was sent to allocate $4.2 million on an alarm system.
"The Tobago prison as it is right now, is literally sinking into the ocean. We cannot wait for the inmates and the officers to end up in the sea before we ask for repairs. I want the minister to know we have not forgotten this government's commitment to the safety of i's prison officers."
Richards said he looked forward to working with Young in improving conditions for both inmates and officers.