Plans are underway by the New National Party (NNP) Administration of Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell to commercialise portions of Her Majesty’s Prison.
In an April 9th meeting of the Standing Committee on Finance held at the Ministry of Works during discussion on Vote 11, where a total of $7,768,377 was allocated for Her Majesty’s Prison, Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr Keith Mitchell who is also Chairman of the Standing Committee said that serious portions of the prison will be commercialised to change the status quo.
The following is a section of minutes arising from the meeting of the Committee:
“The Chairman commented on Vote 11 – Prison and noted that as the Minister responsible for the Prison, serious action would be taken which would increase the commercial activities of the Prison, and would also deepen the solution for the security problems that existed.
“He stated that it would have had an impact on the Budget in the sense that they won’t have to use all of the allocations for this year since they were commercialising serious proportions to change the status quo at the prison.
“Honourable Tobias Clement stated that at the end of the day, while they were commercialising the Prison and made use of the labour for the market, he thought that one of the things that should have been taken into consideration was adequate compensation to the prisoners as they left the prison.
“He further stated that he had friends who were there and when they came out would call and ask for bus fare or even to take the boat to Carriacou, since they wouldn’t have enough money.
“He further stated that if someone came from Prison and he was out there and the following day he had to be begging for bread, the possibility existed that he would go right back to Prison.
“The Chairman said that he did not agree with the statement and suggested that the person should do everything to avoid returning to Prison.
“He indicated that there should be total reform at the Prison and shared some examples of the things that were of greater concern to him.
He advised that in recent times persons were caught scaling the wall to go into the Prison to do drug business and therefore some drastic actions would be taken.”