The National Assembly’s Committee of Supply on Thursday night approved a request for a sum of $756.1 million in supplementary funds by the Public Security Ministry for the reconstruction of the Camp Street Prison and rehabilitation works at the Lusignan Prison.
The government used its majority to approve the sum, which was part of a schedule of supplementary provision on the current and capital estimates, totalling $2,514,679,330 for the period January to December, 2017. It covers construction of various emergency facilities to house 500 prisoners from Camp Street Prison at Lusignan Prison at the cost of $69.6 million; demolition and cart away of a damaged Camp St. Prison block and supply of metal beds at the cost of $46 million; preliminary works at the cost of $83.4 million; earthworks at the cost of $70.3 million; construction of an administrative building at the cost of $143.8 million; a security system at the cost of $61.9 million; construction of the kitchen and infirmary at the cost of $40.1 million; construction of a medical centre at the cost of $27.9 million; construction of the solitary block at the cost of $75 million; construction of a convict dormitory at the cost of $21 million; general works at the cost of $61.8 million; a fire suppression system at the cost of $18 million; general plumping works at the cost of $9.8 million; general electrical works at the cost of $8.5M; and contingencies at the cost of $18.6M.
The requests follow last month’s destruction of the Camp Street jail and escapes from that facility and the Lusignan Prison. The approved 2017 national budget had originally allocated $537.5 million for all prison buildings for the entire year.
During the consideration of the estimates, PPP/C Member of Parliament Gail Teixeira questioned Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan on why the money that was budgeted in both the 2016 and 2017 budgets was never spent to upgrade the Mazaruni Prison, even after the first Camp Street Prison fire last year. Ramjattan said that the funds are currently being used. He reiterated that some of the money has already been used to fund the cost of the design of the Mazaruni expansion, which was done by Vikab Engineering.
In addition to the construction of the buildings at Camp Street Prison and the remedial works at the Lusignan Prison, $8.8M was also sought by the Public Security Ministry for the procurement of equipment and furniture for the establishment of the National Anti-Narcotic Agency and the rental of building at 125 Parade and Barrack streets, Kingston.