Prison fallout: Govt to request over $500M for temporary structures, cleanup – Ramjattan

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Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan

Government will be moving to the National Assembly to seek supplementary financing likely to exceed $500 million in an effort to house prisoners, boost security at the existing prisons and deal with the fallout from the disastrous fire on July 9, that gutted the Camp Street prison.

This was disclosed during a press conference at the Ministry of Public Security on Friday afternoon. According to Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan, his Ministry had come up with a fast tracked plan pertaining to what temporary constructions would be erected.

File photo: Drone shot showing the full extent of the damage to the Georgetown Prison at Camp Street days after the fire was contained (MOTP photo)

“At least (for) the purpose of building the prison and the tarmac area, the removal of debris, I haven’t gotten the final figure. The bill of quantities will be made final by tomorrow morning or later tonight. These contractors and quantity surveyors are working hard.”

“But by Monday certainly (we will have final figure), because we have to go for the supplementary budgetary allocations by Tuesday or whenever the next parliamentary date. And it will be, as I’m being told, in excess of $500M.”

He noted that this was to ensure that the prisoners being housed at Lusignan could be relocated to the remaining brick structure at Camp Street. According to Ramjattan, these constructions will be temporary.

“But we require, for the support of those prisoners, a kitchen be constructed, an admin building and infirmary to be constructed. And it will be quite costly though it will be temporary. All these major constructions that will make the place safe will cost a good set of money.”

“But the plans, in terms of what we have to construct and security systems have been designed, during the last 72 hours. Because that was (something) we had to fast track.”

Real bad ones

The new holding area of the Lusignan Prison where at least 400 prisoners, removed from the pastures, are housed (DPI photo)

Meanwhile, Ramjattan also spoke of other advances that government has made, including the completion of a tarmac area for the displaced prisoners at Lusignan.

He said “at this stage the tarmac area at Lusignan has been completed and there have been some minor difficulties (that were) corrected to the extent that at least 400 prisoners are now there in better conditions than in the swamp area they were in.”

According to the Public Security Minister “there are still (80) prisoners in the swamp area. We felt that it was necessary because we do not want them to contaminate the four hundred prisoners that are in the tarmac area. These are the real bad ones that have done a number of acts which make us believe that if they were to go into that tarmac area there would be real trouble.”

He also noted that there are 151 prisoners in the actual prison at Lusignan. The Minister also reported that the charred debris from the Camp Street site has been removed.

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