Authorities on land hunt for new prison
Guyana Chronicle
March 20, 2002

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THE grave situation of overcrowding which prevails at the Georgetown Prison on Camp Street, is receiving urgent attention from the Government, the Guyana Information Agency (GINA) reported yesterday.

To this end, a search is on by Director of Prisons, Dale Erskine, and other Senior Prison Officers, for a 100-acre plot of land for the construction of a new facility to replace the one on Camp Street, GINA said.

GINA said after the 2002 national budget presentation by Finance Minister, Saisnarine Kowlessar on Friday last, Home Affairs Minister, Ronald Gajraj, reiterated that 90 per cent of the recommendations outlined by the Commission of Enquiry after the jailbreak prior to the one on February 25 last were implemented. This contradicts some media reports that few, if any, preventative measures were taken to avert the last escape. GINA said.

"The recommendations implemented include the establishment of an observation centre and outpost, the installation of bright lights, the improvement of the water system and the clearance of the sewerage system within the confines of the Camp Street prison", GINA quoted the minister as saying.

It said he also noted that work is ongoing to upgrade the Mazaruni Prison, and expressed enthusiasm over the changes that will come on stream at other disciplinary agencies.

Commenting on this year's $200M budgetary allocation for the agencies for which he has responsibility for, Gajraj said much of the money will be channelled towards the acquisition of land for the new prison.

Also, funds will be used to acquire water transport for the security sector, the upgrading of a few Police stations and erecting a new fire station in Essequibo, GINA reported.

It said that when asked about the effective functioning of the prison system, the minister remarked that "the system itself is functioning well, it is the estate we have to deal with."

GINA said he added that apart from addressing the overcrowded situation at the Camp Street prison, a larger facility will allow for more intensified prison activities, including the monitoring of inmates.