Approximately G$0.5B needed to pay for prison rehabilitation and services following July 09 Georgetown Prison fire -Minister Ramjattan
DPI, Guyana, Friday, July 21, 2017
Government will need approximately half a billion dollars to rehabilitate the Georgetown Prison and pay for services utilized, following the July 9, fire. Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan revealed, in response, to a question posed about the cost of works to repair the sections of the Georgetown Prison, which will be used to housesome 400 prisoners.
Minister Ramjattan said, during a press conference today in his ministry’s boardroom, that rehabilitation works were needed on critical areas such as the administration quarters, infirmary and kitchen at the Camp Street facility before prisoners could be returned there. The works, he estimated should be completed within two and a half to three months.
Government has indicated its intention to move to the National Assembly to have the Parliament approve additional funds needed, as it seeks to improve and rehabilitate facilities for prisoners.
He confirmed that 210 prisoners, initially moved to Lusignan, have since been transferred to other prisons. 151 inmates have been moved to the Lusignan Prison’s main building and 90 “real bad ones”, according to the minister, have been left under tents in the initial holding area. The latter, he added, will remain separated from the general population so as to avoid, “contaminating them.”
The holding area, where the latter are being housed, will be improved with sand filling, once the safety of the machine operators can be guaranteed. If additional measures have to be taken, the process will take a longer time, the minister explained since the safety of the staff and contractors on the site was of paramount importance.
The minister, reiterated his gratitude to those businessmen, many of whom provided various services such transportation via buses to transfer prisoners to the Lusignan Prison, at short notice. The prison officers, injured during the fire, have also been transferred to a private facility, he added, “because we want them to feel more comfortable.”
Also present was Fire Chief Marlon Gentle who stated that the investigation into the “somewhat large fire” was still continuing and “will take some time”.
Data on prisoners was successfully recovered and is being complied according to Director of Prisons Gladwin Samuels. He explained that this information was stored offsite and “backed up daily by specially trained clerks” in an “Inmate Management Information System.”
A body scanner is being utilised at the Lusignan Prison, and a proposal has been made to have a similar unit installed at the Georgetown Prison, once funds permit, the Prison Director stated.
By: Paul Mc Adam