-several living quarters near completion
Expansion of the Mazaruni Prison is currently ongoing as the construction of several living quarters for prison officers are almost completed.
According to the Department of Public Information, the expansion of the Prison was initiated after the completion of the Commission of Inquiry following the fire and deaths of 17 inmates of the Georgetown prison on March 3, 2016.
Twenty living quarters are being constructed to accommodate additional prison officers in anticipation of at least 400 prisoners who will be housed at the Mazaruni prison.
The living quarters contain three bedrooms, a living room, a patio, kitchen and a washroom. Adrian Ragoobeer, an engineer at AAV Ragoobeer General Construction is responsible for one of the four lots to be constructed. He said that the three houses under his supervision cost $35M and are about 85 per cent completed.
Ragoobeer said that all works are expected to be completed by July 31, 2017. He explained that, “works remaining is basically painting and pluming, some minor mason and carpentry works for the staircases”.
Senior Superintendent of Prison and Officer in Charge of the Mazaruni Prison Alexander Hopkinson said that the houses are being constructed to accommodate prison officers and their families.
“The reason these houses are being placed in this area is a collective effort by the administration, the Director of Prisons Mr. Samuels who wants these houses near the prison… it would be like a housing scheme… We have to have additional staff in place for the new prison and that is the purpose for the houses,” Hopkinson explained.
Senior Superintendent Hopkinson also pointed out that in addition to the family quarters, a number of single quarters will be built to accommodate more prison officers.
“We are looking at over 200 because the prison that will be erected that should hold over 400 inmates so we have to have the ratio. So definitely we have to have additional quarters, it does not have to be family quarters it could be quarters for bachelors,” Hopkinson explained.
The completion of the quarters will see the construction of the state-of-the art prison being built on the grounds of the Mazaruni Prison. The sum of $278M has been approved for the first phase of the project by Cabinet.
Preparation works for the construction of the prison has already commenced with soil testing, leveling the ground and the erection of a new gate.
According to Senior Superintendent Hopkinson, when the prison is completed, “it would be safer and as it relates to kind of material that will be used, the infrastructure and everything, it would be far different. We are trying to be more modernized”.
The new section, which will be adjacent to a part of the old prison, will also feature automated locks, sprinkler systems and forced ventilation. The entire project will cost the state approximately $2B.