Monday, January 22, 2018

Prison officers to sue State

TEMPORARY solutionS: Prison Officers Association president Ceron Richards

After meeting with its membership recently, the Prison Officers Association intends to bring litigation against the State for its alleged “failure to act and treat” with its membership.

This was confirmed yesterday by the association's president Ceron Richards in a brief interview with the Express.

“A decision has indeed been made and we intend to bring a constitutional matter against the State as it regards the safety and security for prison officers on and off duty. Despite our repeated cries for help and intervention, it is our opinion that the State has not been doing nearly enough to deal with the issue. Officers continue to be injured on the job and attacked off the job. Our officers have been shot off-duty, and some of them have even been murdered over the years. As a result of the State's failure in that regard, we will be bringing litigation against them very soon,” Richards said.

And while he did not reveal who was the legal counsel overseeing the matter the association president hinted that the matter was being handled by a “prominent” attorney.

Richards also reiterated his calls for the State to shut down Remand Yard Prison in Arouca.

He revealed, however, that following the meeting with the membership, if the State could not shut down the prison, then prison officers had put forward some “short-term solutions” that ought to be implemented before “drastic measures” were taken up.

“The prison officers gave us certain short-term solutions to propose to the powers that be. One of which is cutting down the total number of inmates in that prison. At least a few hundred inmates need to be immediately removed from that facility.

“The next condition is that the prison must be totally sanitised and searched, and all contraband materials be removed. This would help ensure that officers will get some sort of safety. The third main condition is that there be an addition to staffing levels with immediate effect. If they can't be met it, means prison will remain in an atrocious state, and it will only be a matter of time before something drastic happens, or drastic measures are taken,” Richards said.