Prison officers must act with professionalism
Stabroek News
March 13, 2002

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Dear Editor,

It is true that the prison officers at the Camp Street institution have to cope with an overcrowded prison and with very dangerous criminals too. They are all human beings and could certainly default from time to time. I wish to however state that there are a number of shortcomings in the system that were created by the officers themselves. For instance, Mr Dale Erskine cannot run the prison from his Brickdam office.

I have the confidence that Mr Erskine is highly respected by all of his staff. Prisoners also feel relief when he is present, because when your freedom is restricted, one would always try to see the chief for words of comfort or encouragement. I can recall when prisoners at Sibley Hall Mazaruni learnt that the director was there they would rejoice. But when he failed to show up on two occasions, they all felt very dejected.

Because the director was not present at the Camp Street institution or does not make regular visits he may not have given the words that were circulating about the jailbreak serious thought. It was strange to have a limited staff on that particular day. Young Troy Williams was recently transferred from Mazaruni and could not have the clearest idea about the running of the Georgetown Prison. He paid the price for acting bravely.

Prisons are not institutions for games to be played. I am therefore calling on the relevant authority to put measures in place to curb all the shortcomings. I am willing to highlight all the shortcomings if the authority is interested.

Yours faithfully,

Tajpaul Gainda