President David Granger has noted that the July 9th jailbreak and fire at the Lot 12 Camp Street facility was an accident “waiting to happen”. Why is this the case? What were the non-financial constraints that prevented the implementation of administrative interventions set out in the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into the March 3rd, 2016 fire at the jail in which 17 prisoners lost their lives?
Former PPP/C Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee has with the benefit of in-house association addressed the political concerns (‘The Government is guilty of dereliction’ SN, June 11).
On some other points: The report to the nation made by President David Granger who chairs the National Security Committee, identified the measures the administration proposes to execute. A multi-million dollar capitalization has been earmarked for the process. However, it is obvious that there is no quick fix for the complex of legal, constitutional, human rights issues and rehabilitation programming, as well as (wait for it) class and often ethnic issues that relate to the prison system.
The incumbent Minister of Public Security led the charge during the historic 10th Parliament in the call for the Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee to resign. The issue then was not exclusively that of the prisons. In the present circumstances Minister Ramjattan may want to engage in some reflection.
The Georgetown penitentiary no longer can be associated with the quality professionalism of men like Henry Fraser (Guyana Police Force) and James Baker (Superintendent at that period of the Georgetown gaol). Both of these were highly respected by the men in khaki as well as civil society. Baker and Fraser, as well as Carl Austin, perhaps, were instrumental in consolidating a credible security environment in the oppressive years of colonial and external intervention, an era in which the joint services did not include an army. Indeed it is not inconsistent in the present circumstances that their contributions should be cited.