Chicken pox outbreak at T&T state prisons, court matters grind to a halt

(Trinidad Guardian) Prisoners from the remand section of the Port-of-Spain jail and the Maximum Security Prison in Golden Grove, Arouca, were absent from the Port-of-Spain Magistrates Court yesterday, because of a chicken pox outbreak. It is believed that more than 40 prisoners who had matters listed were not taken to court.

Confirming the outbreak, president of the Prison Officers’ Association, Ceron Richards, said there had “been a marked increase in the numbers of officers contracting the virus within the prison walls.” Unable to say how many people had contracted it so far, Richards said the situation started a few months ago at the remand section of the Port-of-Spain jail and then spread to the maximum security prison as prisoners were transferred.

There are approximately 1,200 prisoners at the remand yard of the Golden Grove prison, 900 at the Maximum Security Prison, between 400 and 500 inmates at the Golden Grove Prison, Arouca, and 400-500 at the Port-of-Spain prison.

The T&T Guardian learnt that three police officers assigned to the Court and Process Branch of the Port-of-Spain Magistrates Court had contracted the virus within the last month. Two have since returned to work, while the third remains on sick leave.

Spraying operations began yesterday throughout the Port-of-Spain Magistrates Court as part of the attempt to curb the spread of the virus, but contacted yesterday, Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan warned, “This alone would not be enough.” Richards, meanwhile, said it was now up to the prisons administration to “engage in decisive and positive action to contain the spread of the disease.”

Supporting claims by police that the situation was on the verge of becoming an epidemic, Richards said, “The association will be investigating to find out what is happening and what steps can be taken to curb the spread of the virus.”

Chicken pox is a highly contagious but non-threatening disease that usually begins with flu-like symptoms such as fever, sneezing, coughing and a runny nose, followed by little itchy red marks mimicking a skin rash. It is an airborne virus that can easily be spread through coughing or sneezing, as well as through direct contact with secretions from the lesions of an infected person.

Joining with the police and prisons officers who are calling on Khan to intervene, Richards said it could easily be spread to civilians via interaction between prisoners and officers, prisoners and relatives, officers and their families, lawyers, civilian members of staff working inside the prison and other stakeholders who visit the prison from time to time.

Welcoming any intervention, Richards was optimistic that if the Health Ministry is allowed to do a comprehensive assessment, “it will be a great help in preventing the virus from spreading and reducing the threat of people outside the walls from contracting it.” Police at the court yesterday confirmed several attorneys hurriedly cleared out of the Chief Magistrate’s court on Thursday after hearing about the outbreak.

Latest in Regional News

default placeholder

Brazil’s Temer says women should retire earlier than men – paper

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazil’s interim President Michel Temer told local newspapers women should retire earlier than men, explaining why he did not support making a potential minimum retirement age equal for both sexes as his government tackles pension reform.

default placeholder

Barbados Education Minister deplores pricey graduation ceremonies

(Barbados Nation) Barbados’ Minister of Education Ronald Jones has rapped primary school principals for expensive graduation ceremonies that are unaffordable to some parents and forcing others to dig deep into their pockets.

default placeholder

Could Brexit vote be a preview of U.S. presidential race?

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK,  (Reuters) – Britain’s stunning vote to leave the European Union, buoyed by a frenzy of nationalism and populist anger, was a crushing rejection of the political elite.

default placeholder

Venezuela dialogue could open way for international help – U.S. diplomat

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – Dialogue between the Venezuelan government and opposition could provide a platform from which they could request help from the international community, U.S.

President Anthony Carmona receives the report of the commission of enquiry into Clico from secretary to the commission, Judith Gonzales, at the Office of the President, St Ann's, yesterday.

Colman report knocks T&T Central Bank in Clico, HCU fiasco

(Trinidad Guardian) Deficiency in the Central Bank’s regulatory control of the insurance industry and the respective “visions” of CL Financial chairman Lawrence Duprey and Hindu Credit Union chairman Harry Harnarine have come in for criticism by chairman of the Clico/HCU commission of enquiry, Sir Anthony Colman.

Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) negotiator Marcos Carratala reads a document next to Colombian government spokeswoman Marcela Duran in Havana, Cuba June 22, 2016. Reuters/Enrique de la Osa

Colombia and FARC rebels reach definitive ceasefire deal

BOGOTA/HAVANA,  (Reuters) – Colombia’s government and leftist FARC rebels said yesterday they had reached agreement on a definitive ceasefire that would end hostilities in the longest-running conflict in the Western Hemisphere.

default placeholder

Two former T&T soldiers charged with murder

(Trinidad Guardian) Two former soldiers appeared in court yesterday charged with the murder of a Diego Martin man who was shot and left for dead in a forested area in Chaguaramas earlier this month.

Tom Shannon

U.S. in new talks with Venezuela amid worsening crisis

CARACAS/WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – The U.S. government sent veteran diplomat Tom Shannon to Venezuela yesterday to meet senior opposition and government figures amid a brutal economic crisis and political impasse in the South American OPEC nation.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: