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Works to commence on Mazaruni, Georgetown prisons

first_img…Ramjattan claims budget allocations will never be enoughWith approximately $1.5 billion dedicated specially towards expansion and rehabilitation of the prison infrastructure, works are expected to commence in 2018 to expand the Mazaruni Prisons and rebuild the destroyed Georgetown Prisons.Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan on Saturday told reporters that while he would have liked to have been allotted a larger sum for the ministry, he is nevertheless happy with the amount which is going to be directed into upgrading major prison infrastructure.An artist’s impression of the New Mazaruni PrisonsThe entire Security Sector received a total of $30.7 billion from Budget 2018, of which $1.8 billion has been provided to cater for the Prison Service‘s operational costs — a 4.6 per cent increase over Budget 2017.However, the Public Security Minister explained that while no minister would ever be satisfied with what has been allocated their ministry, every minister has to be cognisant of the finances available to Government.“I did indicate to the (Finance) Minister that I would need lots more (money) because, as I said, we need lots more rehabilitation; lots more brand new buildings; lots more assets; and indeed, you’re never satisfied…“(But) we have to understand the Finance Minister’s position, (which) is that this is the amount of money he has, and we have to be collegial in understanding his predicament too. As a matter of fact, he has jumped it up higher than last year, in view of the demands; but we are not going to get exactly what we want, because the revenue stream is not there,” Ramjattan explained.In his 2018 Budget presentation, made two weeks ago, Finance Minister Winston Jordan posited that Government has risen to the task of addressing the long-term needs of the security sector, particularly as those needs relate to the prison services following the massive Camp Street Prison fire and subsequent jailbreaks. “This wanton act of violence and mayhem threatened our national security. It is an experience that has illuminated the state of dysfunction and disarray into which our security services had fallen over the past two decades…This catastrophe has forced us, therefore, to undertake a comprehensive examination of the security sector. It has resulted, also, in the diversion of scarce resources to address both the immediate security and management concerns, as well as the judicial and other related systems,” the Finance Minister had said in his Budget speech.Following the July 9th events, Government revealed plans to expand the Mazaruni Prison – a project that would cost some $2 billion, but which would streamline the local prison system as well as reduce the overpopulation.Jordan had stated that $1.5 billion had been allocated to the prison sector specifically for works to be on the critical prison infrastructure. These works, he noted, would include the expansion of the Mazaruni Prison to accommodate 400 inmates, or 61 per cent more than its current capacity; as well as commencing the rehabilitation of the Georgetown Prisons in the New Year.In addition, the Finance Minister noted that over $150 million have also been allocated to purchase surveillance equipment, body scanners, and beds, among other items; while provisions have been made for the strengthening of the Prison Service‘s capacity for case management, as well as rehabilitation and reintegration.He revealed that, in 2018, a study would be conducted on appropriate treatments for substance abuse as a health issue within the criminal justice system. The findings from this research will inform interactions with the Judiciary, as Government assists in developing policies to reduce over-reliance on imprisonment.Probation services would also be strengthened to support this paradigm shift, Jordan had stated.last_img

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