Based on recommendations made for the modernisation of the Guyana Prisons Service, the government has announced that it will be moving to establish a board of governance tasked with having oversight of the local prison system.
The consultancy service for the modernisation of the prison system was awarded to Jamaican experts, Trevor Hamilton and Associates, International Management Consultants and is an International Development Bank (IDB)-funded project.
According to Public Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan during an engagement with local media corps earlier today (Thursday), several options were presented to the Guyana Government for consideration aimed at ensuring better management of the local prison services.
“The first that was asked was in relation to selecting one from five options- whether we privatise the prison system, whether regionalise it, a combination of both and whether keep it State hands with a board of governance. We opted for the Governance Structure to be in state hands with a board of governance and the proposals are all here and we have now even furthered that Government structure along with the amendments that this new governance structure will cater for,” he said.
These proposed amendments, the minister said, are to be completed by the end of this month.
Ramjattan went on to outline that the board will come under an Executive Director and the Government will be the “Chief Proprietor” of the project.
“The board will take the form of a Board of Governors that is going to be directing the management and administrative staff and all of that and it will come under the Executive Director…and all the jobs, and the people and the qualifications that will come for a modernised system are all placed here. The qualifications especially is important, the project officers, the research officers, the planning and resource mobilisation officers, how many people are going to be there, it’s a brand new system completely.”
The Public Security Minister sought to use the opportunity to respond to critics who accused his administration of not implementing any of the reforms put forward following the March 2016 prison riots.
He said that while certain aspects of these recommendations were implemented, the majority of them incur huge costs and will have to be done on a phased basis.