Categorized | National News

Prison Association Hopeful Gov’t Will Fix Problems

Bahamas Prison Officers Association (BPOA) officials are hoping that the new government will bring a new approach and solutions to the many problems prison officers have been faced with over the years.

Over the past few months BPOA President Gregory Archer has made the concerns of his nearly 350 members public, noting that the officers are forced to work in less than desirable conditions at Her Majesty’s Prisons (HMP).

The officers had even threatened strike action if the former government did not address their concerns, but with a new administration at the country’s helm Mr. Archer is hoping for a more amicable relationship.

“First of all, our concern is really the prison and not the government,” he said.

“We are looking forward to working with whatever government is going to help bring resolution to our situation. As it stands now, the minister of national security is eager to help bring some resolve to prison issues, so we are excited and we are waiting.”

The prison officers complained that there was no running water throughout the entire facility, drinking water for the staff was insufficient, there was mold throughout the prison facility and the staff clinic was closed, forcing inmates and staff to use the same the facility.

They also complained about a poor promotional system and the lack of succession planning for the future leadership of the institution and security issues.

During a tour of the facility on Thursday National Security Minister Dr. Bernard Nottage said there are some items in the government’s crime agenda that will benefit the workers at HMP.

“The superintendent has asked us to provide another 50 officers, but when I see the situation in which these officers work, I just wonder if even that is enough,” Dr. Nottage said. “But I guess they are seeking to exercise some restraint having regard to what our fiscal situation is.

“My job now is to help the prison to find the resources they need to improve the conditions here and look at the complaints that have been made from time to time.”

Dr. Nottage committed himself to providing better working conditions for the prison officers.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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