When inmates of the New Amsterdam penitentiary posted images on Facebook showing themselves imbibing hard liquor, energy drinks, and smoking what appeared to be marijuana cigarettes, much as if they were having a celebratory drink at a neighbourhood bar on the corner, the obvious culpability of prison officers in the regular breaches occurring in the prison system were dramatically exposed to the glare of public scrutiny. The pictures turned up on the Facebook page of an alleged murderer.
In a recent response to the incident which occurred nearly three weeks ago and is said to be still under investigation by the prison authorities, Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramrattan blamed the occurrence as being facilitated by “rogue elements in our prison system,” and said further “Technology is expensive. I will try again this year to get the scanner for all these prisons. We understand too that we had a scanner for some place and the people just bypass the scanner; so we really have to professionalise our prison warders.”
In the statement quoted above, the Minister both advocated a solution to the issue of contraband in the prisons and then proceeded to contradict himself by saying that a previous application of the same solution did not work. If the Minister is managing the public’s expectations he might be reassured that it is sufficiently lower than he might be prepared to acknowledge. Indeed, the mention of the installation of scanners seem very much in the vein of a knee jerk reaction to a problem whose proportions may have grown beyond the grasp of those tasked with its solution…..