THE Pleasantville house of a prison officer was shot at early yesterday morning. At the time of the shooting, prison officer Okang Harris, 43, was not at home.
Police said that at 1 am, Harris' daughter Makita was sleeping when she was awakened by the sound of gunfire at the family's Cedar Drive, Pleasantville home. She ran for cover until the gunfire stopped. A traumatised Makita then called the police who on arriving, saw several bullet holes in the front wall of the house.
Harris is assigned to the Golden Grove Prison in Arouca. He has been a prison officer for the past 23 years. Prison Officers Association president Ceron Richards told Newsday the shooting was an attempt to send a message. He said prison officers perform a highly dangerous job and their lives have been continuously threatened by inmates.
Richards said more land and housing opportunities should be made available for prison officers so they can properly secure themselves and their families. He said TT's snail's paced judicial system was "the mother of all evil" that is creating a potentially deadly situation for prison officers.
“There is a disenchantment between inmates and prison officers. Now, it is very difficult to find an officer who was never been threatened. Threats are now the norm for officers in the prison service,” Richards said.
Richards added, “prison officers are continuously exposed to extreme conditions. Once you are a prison officer, your life is always under threat based on this profession.”
“We hope more serious action is taken to protect the lives of prison officers and motivate them to the extent that will bring about more quality performance in the prison service.” Up to press time, no arrest was made in the shooting incident and officers of the Mon Repos police station are continuing investigations.