Prison officers want more protection after colleague's home firebombed again

Prison Officers Association president Ceron Richards. -
Prison Officers Association president Ceron Richards. -

PRESIDENT of the Prison Officers' Association Ceron Richards said prison officers are growing more concerned by the constant attacks on their lives.

He was speaking with Newsday after an officer's home was shot at and firebombed for a second time, on Sunday.

On Sunday, CCTV footage circulating social media showed two masked men approaching the entrance of prison service driver Kalel Baskh's home in Tacarigua around 6 am.

One of the men took out an automatic gun and shot at the house several times. The second man then threw a Molotov cocktail into the compound next to a parked vehicle.

Sunday's attack was the second incident at Baksh's home. On October 4, 2018, two unknown men struck when Baksh and his son were asleep.

In that incident, Baksh was awakened around 1.20 am by an explosion outside. His family  found a broken window with the area already on fire.

Richards said the latest incident has left him concerned.

“They recovered over 20 spent shells in and around his home. So, that has brought a serious  concern among the prison population, given the fact that this is the second such incident within a week time where an officer was shot at or an officer was the subject of shooting against him.”

He is calling on the government to do more to ensure the safety of all prison officers.

“It’s ironic that we had a meeting with the Minister of National Security on Friday at the Prison Officers' Association compound, where we met with Mr Fitzgerald Hinds to treat with the latest set of threats against prison officers and shooting incident involving prison officers.

"A number of assurances were given by the minister and he has reiterated that National Security has pledged all the support for the prison service and prison officers at this time, and a number of things will be implemented for the treatment of the safety of prison officers.

"The discussions are ongoing, as this situation is a very fluid one, and as things develop, and more ideas come to the table, we will be communicating with the Minister of National Security and the Commissioner of Prisons for the implementation of these measures to help alleviate the concerns prison officers have at this time.

"So we hope that we enjoy the support the continued support of the external agencies for proper support and amenities to help treat with the problem we are facing.

He added, "If you ask any prison officer on the ground how he/she is feeling, they are not in a good place. They believe that while a lot has been being done, much more can be done. We, as the association, will try to ensure as reasonably practicable that the Minister of National Security and by extension the Government do all it can or could do to treat with the problems that prison officers are facing at this time.

When contacted, Commissioner of Prison Dennis Pulchan told Newsday he prefers not to comment while an active police investigation is ongoing.


"Prison officers want more protection after colleague’s home firebombed again"

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