Saturday Express Editorial

IN yet another incident which has had the effect of piling ­embarrassment upon embarrassment for the authorities, a convict walked out of the Golden Grove facility in Arouca on Thursday, and was on the run up to last night.

He had been serving time for malicious damage and is scheduled to be released next April on a 24-month conviction. The man simply walked away from a gang in which he had been placed doing work on the outside in an agricultural ­project operated by the prison.

The gang had begun work around 7.30 a.m. and officers, at some point during the morning, realised this inmate had ­escaped their notice and made a run for it. This latest incident follows on the still-puzzling incident just three months ago, in which eight men on remand walked out of the same Golden Grove prison. All eight were recaptured, with the last two of them being found at a house in the South Oropouche district several weeks later.

Prisons Commissioner Gerald Wilson has, once again, pro­mised a report into this latest incident, but the country awaits satisfactory reporting from the deadly prison break staged by three inmates at the Port of Spain prison in July 2015. A police officer was killed in that incident, and officers were suspended from duty. To date, however, this matter remains outstanding, with continuing claims and counter-claims as to what went wrong, and who ultimately should be held responsible. At least one of the suspended officers has recently appeared on TV6’s Morning Edition, calling on the authorities to clear his name.

In the wake of the Thursday-morning walk-away by this ­single inmate, Commissioner Wilson has said a report on the May escapes has been completed. He is yet, however, to ­explain what has happened concerning the July 2015 prison break, which remains as a stain on the competence and the professionalism of the officers whose job it is to maintain safe and secure penal facilities.

Commissioner Wilson talks blithely about “recommendations” which are to be put in place concerning the report from the escape of the eight men in May. He should, however, say whether and to what extent what is contained in that report bears any connection to the security procedures which were spectacularly breached in 2015 in Port of Spain.

The commissioner has a responsibility, having now occupied this seat after taking over from his predecessors in this office, to provide assurances to the population that measures are in place to stem the relative ease with which inmates find the means to spring free from detention, among other ­misdemeanours.

Officers have claimed to have been victimised by what has transpired, and what is still at issue concerning the 2015 incident. This matter needs to be addressed with greater urgency than that with which the country has been fed to date.

Thursday’s incident points clearly to the gaping hole in the security system for persons being held at the State’s ­pleasure, despite repeated escapes—a shameful reflection on those whose job it is to hold and treat with them.


Public confidence in any government is not helped when the family of a senior government minister is the beneficiary of State contacts. In the case of Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi, contracts to his relatives run to over $20 million a year for the rental of property, according to an exclusive Sunday Express report. Put in context, this works out to 8.5 per cent of the State’s annual bill for the rental of private property.

I wish to thank the endorsers of the statement on the “Education of Children of African Origin” articles that appeared in this paper recently. The statement rightly raised several issues of inequality in access to quality education in T&T, by black children (among others).

Every employee in Trinidad and Tobago, regardless of if they work in the public or private sector, is entitled by law to certain rights.

I have been working with the United Nations on Violence against the Women/Gender-Based Violence for the past ten years in Africa, the Arab world, and Eastern Europe. And in Trinidad and Tobago we have had one of those recent uproars over the killing of women and the search for causes. And the primary cause stares us in the face.

The state of existence as a tribalist is when one is living with a distinctive characteristic so as to be identified with a particular identifiable distinctive group. This status quo surfaces to facilitate the tribal member who is excessively loyal to his own group. 

LISTENING to President Paula-Mae Weekes’s address on the reopening of the Red House, even the most sceptical among us could not help but be impressed, indeed be moved, by her departure on the role she was expected to play and the sentiments she was expected to express as head of officialdom, to be a spokesperson for the people on the ground pointing to their “hurt” and the inability of the leadership to address this hurt.