‘Major embarrassment,’ Ramjattan says

-as Brickdam lockup rehab drags on

After years of work and millions spent, the rehabilitation and expansion of the Brickdam Police Station’s lockup are still not yet completed.
In fact, Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan last Thursday described the project as a “major embarrassment.”
Recently, this newspaper observed several men working on the structure.
Speaking to this newspaper, Ramjattan stressed that the works ought to have been completed. He explained that the design and the construction have been problematic. He added that the contractor who was supposed to have completed the remaining works is doing work on a building located within Police Headquarters, Eve Leary and once that is finished, attention will be paid to the lockup.
The former PPP/C administration had allocated millions of dollars to rehabilitate the facility after continued reports of the inhumane conditions there.
In May, 2013, the then Ministry of Home Affairs—now renamed the Ministry of Public Security—invited bids for the construction of the upper flat of the lock-up, which was estimated to cost $53,781,901. It is unclear who won the bid and how much money had been spent. However, an additional $20 million for the expansion project was subsequently approved.
In October of 2016, following a complaint made by the then acting police commissioner David Ramnarine, Ramjattan had explained that there were flaws in the design for the lockup, which would have rendered it airless. As a result, he said, government had to set aside money to rectify that problem.
Ramnarine had said that the expansion was “dragging on for too long” and that the situation was taxing the force’s scarce resources to shuttle detainees, including high-profile suspects, to other facilities on a daily basis.
Last September, the ministry, invited bids from qualified persons to execute a $16.4 million project to focus on fixing the ventilation system and the washroom facilities at the lockup. Ramjattan had said then that the works were expected to be completed at the end of the year.

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