Ceron Richards

President of the Prison Officer's Association, Ceron Richards

With more than 100 inmates testing positive for the Covid-19 virus, the Prison Officers Association (POA) is again calling on the State to speed up its efforts to release non-violent inmates from the prison system.

In an interview with the Express yesterday, POA president Ceron Richards acknowledged that several people had already been released in a bid to fight the Covid-19 spread in the prisons.

However, he said that this was done before the outbreak of the last two weeks and drastic action was now needed.

“The Attorney General needs to pick up the pace. We have a potentially catastrophic situation in the prison system right now. Inmates who are infected could have possibly infected prison officers, who could have possibly infected their families, and they can all be asymptomatic and not know it. Right now it is a serious concern that the (prison) service may be a facilitator of community spread and we need to reduce this risk,” said Richards.

“So we are calling on the Attorney General to fulfil his promise to have inmates who have short sentences for non-violent crimes, and those who have been in prison for extensive periods of time and completed their rehabilitation, to be released. Both from the Convict and Remand Yard section.

“This is important as it would give the executive of the prison service room to breathe and to implement the measures that it needs to contain this virus, inclusive of social distancing.

“As the prison stands right now, these measures cannot be facilitated. So one person infected, it has the potential to infect all. So we need the State to act now,” Richards said.

On Sunday, it was revealed that 108 prisoners had tested positive for the virus.

Commissioner of Prisons (acting) Dennis Pulchan told the Express that the Prison Service was doing all it could to curtail the spread of the virus.

Richards called for all inmates and prison officers to be tested immediately, so the Prison Service could know exactly where it stood with the spread of the virus.


‘I’M fed up.”

These three short words sum up the emotion of patients seeking outpatient services at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope, while their appointments keep getting pushed back over and over again.

While Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh has showered praises on the parallel healthcare system established due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the primary healthcare system is suffering.

Despite reports from Nor­way of a number of elderly people dying after receiving the Covid-19 vaccine, Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram says the vaccine is still recommended for the elderly popula­tion as they are the ones most at risk.

Parasram, who was speaking du­ring yesterday’s Covid-19 virtual media briefing, said it is still too early to make any determination regarding the “Norway incident” as investigations are ongoing.

An elderly man and his 47-year-old son were tied up and executed at their home in Freeport.

Their decomposing bodies were found in separate rooms at the family’s La Jobas Road, Chickland Village, home yesterday.

The men were identified as Mohaid Hosein, 71, and his son, Navie Hosein.

A local security company took the State to court in 2019 for breach of a US$21.8 million contract to build a hangar in Cumuto to store five helicopters, but lost and has appealed.

Two sub-contractors are to be compensated, however.

The former government had agreed to buy the helicopters in 2014 but did not make the downpayment and the deal fell through with Bell Helicopter of Texas, USA.

Bell is one of the largest suppliers of military helicopters to the United States Army.

Saying Covid-19 restrictions would not prevent them from defending the working class, Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) president Ancel Roget led a motorcade from San Fernando to Port of Spain yesterday morning.

JTUM members are calling for a meeting with Government on allegations that workers are being victimised by employers who are citing a fall in economic activity due to the Covid-19 pandemic.