Son awaiting trial for five years
Stabroek News
March 11, 2002

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Dear Editor,

My son Christopher Noel has been in prison since February l997, a total of five years, awaiting trial on a charge for murder.

Situations like this force many prisoners to react the way they do out of frustration. If it wasn't for the humane treatment my son received from the prison administration, he would have been a mad man today. I can tell anybody that the prison administration performs miracles daily by keeping nearly l000 prisoners behind bars and keeping them sane. They should be congratulated for securing these men with less than l5 officers on an 8 hour shift. Is this possible in any other part of the world?

It's time the government stop prattling and ordering enquiries and get to the root of the problem.

l. Ensure trials within a reasonable time as guaranteed by Article l44 of the Constitution.

2. Give the prison authorities the tools they need to do the job. Better salaries, working conditions, risk allowance and a more conducive atmosphere.

3. Stop magistrates from remanding persons to prison on bailable offences. A certain magistrate does this daily, overcrowding the prison even if for a day and pressuring the already limited prison staff. I invite this magistrate to spend two hours at the prison and see how she packs human beings like sardines.

Yours faithfully,

Lela Baldeo