September 21, 2020

Prison conditions worsen in Antigua

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By Martina Johnson, Antigua Observer From St Lucia Online

ANTIGUA OBSERVER – The head of the prison said harsh conditions at the facility are worsening and the authorities continue to fail to deliver on promises to invest in upgrading the facility; thus, the morale of prison staff and inmates is dipping.

Prison Superintendent Albert Wade’s complaints at the close of the this week are a turnaround from his two earlier reports last year when he expressed optimism of a brighter future because expansion works had started, dental equipment had been donated and additional medical staff had been promised.

“The promised relief to the inmates has not been forthcoming for over a year and in fact, the hardship has intensified for there has not been running water in over a year. In reality this hardship is also experienced by the officers who have to work under the same conditions as the prisoners live,” the prison chief said in a four-page report to the .

The prison, overcrowded with 314 inmates in buildings designed to hold 150, has been forced to buy truckloads of water so cooking, cleaning and daily hygiene can be maintained.

However, with limited financial resources, most times there isn’t enough money to buy water, and according to , the prison has to rely on the fire department to provide them with water.

He described the situation as “tough” when Justice Keith Thom and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Anthony Armstrong asked how they have been able to manage.

One of the promises the government made was to construct a 30,000-gallon cistern below the prison kitchen to buffer the supply in the water catchments in the jail.

Apart from the lack of water, the prison superintendent said construction has been halted on the prison cells expansion project. The works commenced over a year ago and Attorney General Steadroy “Cutie’ Benjamin had said it would have been completed by mid-2016.

For more on this story go to: https://www.stlucianewsonline.com/caribbean-prison-conditions-worsen-in-antigua/

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