(Trinidad Guardian) A number of new strategies were discussed during a closed-door two-hour meeting between the Prison Officers Association, commanders of the Police and Prison Service and the Minister of National Security Edmund Dillon last night to protect officers whose lives are at risk.
The meeting follows a potentially risky situation where a number of officers stayed away from work at the weekend following the brazen daylight murder of their colleague Davendra Boodooram who was shot dead while stuck in traffic a short distance from the Port-of-Spain prison last Friday.
Boodooram murder came on the heels of reports of abuse by prisoners after a search at the prison.
The meeting, which was held at the Ministry’s Temple Court offices, began at 5 pm, an hour later than the scheduled start, and ended at 7 pm.
Commenting to the media camped outside, President of the Prisons Officers Association Ceron Richards said a number of strategies were discussed to protect the lives of prison officers.
Richards and other members of the association, Dillon, acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams, Prisons Commissioner Gerard Wilson met at Temple Court.
Richards said the meeting was a continuation of security talks which began last year after other officers were killed in the line of duty.
Among the recommendations, the Association had made in the past were for prison officers under threat to be issued with firearms while off-duty and for officers who live in high-risk areas be allocated State housing.
“We were experiencing a flow of criminal behaviour activities against prison officers and we met and we discussed developing strategies and we are continuing discussions and tightening areas and more innovative ideas to add to the pot,” he said.
He said the POA was committed to protecting the officers and no effort would be spared to protect officers so they can do their job.
Richards said discussions from last year on legislation to protect the prison officers would continue.
“The journey continues there has been a general lack of respect for law enforcement which results in the situation. We have to continue meeting and we have to do what is necessary and we dub this meeting as a continuation and we are doing this more intensely,” he said.
Richards said he heard reports of prison officers staying away from duty at the Port-of-Spain Prison but did not have any numbers.
Wilson said there were a lot of positives which came out of the meeting along with a number of strategies.