The long awaited video conferencing facility at the Golden Grove Prison will be completed by the Judiciary. This was revealed yesterday by Minister of National Security Stuart Young during a function in Port-of-Spain where he handed over the first batch of 250 stab-proof vests for prison officers.
In making the announcement, Young expressed disappointment that the facility, which will consist of seven video conferencing courts, is still to be completed. While he did not give reasons for the project's delay, senior prison sources told Guardian Media it had been hampered by major contractual issues.
“I recently had Cabinet approve the removal of that from a state agency and put it into UDeCOTT, but now I have gone further than that and I have engaged in conversation with the Judiciary and they have agreed with me that they will take over.
The structure is up but it just needs to be finished now.
They will take over the structure as is, where is, and they will complete it for video conferencing courts,” the minister said, adding that he expects the project to be completed within 12 months.
Young also announced that within the next few weeks a suite of legislation will be laid in the Parliament that will benefit prisons, fire, police and Defence Force personnel.
The legislation, which is currently before a review committee, is geared towards the protection of officers and increases sentences and fines for a range of offences,
Young said Tobago will soon get a state-of-the-art prison. He said a ten-acre site has been identified and drawings are ready.
On the issue of firearms for prisons officers, Young said Government is finalising the procurement process and is hoping it will be completed “very shortly.”
“We will be using the keep and carry system and it's in the hands of the Prisons Commissioner to determine who gets to carry it home and for how long.
I just want to be able to provide more assets for more utilisation.
My understanding is we should be awarding the contract very shortly,” he said.
Reporter: Rhondor Dowlat