WICSU-PSU: Our members are still concerned about security at prison

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President of WISCU-PSU Julia Solagnier

PHILIPSBURG – On Tuesday April 4, President of WISCU-PSU Julia Solagnier told 721news that she, her board and members, were still concerned about conditions at the prison.

“Our members are still very concerned about the security system and the fact that they are still understaffed,” Solagnier said via the press release.

“The management keeps talking about people being on sick leave, and that’s the reason for them been understaffed, but in reality they do not have many people on sick leave. They are looking at the fact that they have 109 persons working there, but in reality you would need to see the breakdown as to where these persons are working,” the press release continued.

“Out of the 109 persons you have Administration, Maintenance, Kitchen, Nurses station, Sport instructors and the Central Camera room have guards, but are unable to work on the floor. Those persons are working there, but are not Prison Guards. I received a list from the Prison which details the amount of personnel needed for each shift. We do not have ¼ of the personnel on duty that should be there. So bottom line is that they do need to hire more persons,” Solagnier went on to say.

“We spoke about the keys and locks for the cells, insufficient exits, body scanners and bag scanners. Bullet proof vests are much needed of better quality, and the 12 hours that the personnel have to work on a daily basis, they are tired and overworked,” the WICSU-PSU statement informed.

“A zipline is going to be constructed in the area of the Prison and we believe that can pose a major security concern as well,” she said.

“We brought up the concerns to the Minister and they will be taken into consideration. Locks have already been ordered. The scanners are supposed to be shipped from the Netherlands. What we strongly recommended was that the Cabinet of the Ministry speak to the personnel to get their input on the situation in the Prison. More security checks are done on a regular basis. They will be putting more lighting around the Prison. Around the Prison will be cleaned up and then the fencing will be looked at,” Solagnier further explained.

“We suggested the Swipe System for the new Prison. The VKS will be assisting in and outside of the parameters to alleviate the pressure at the moment until more Prison Guards are trained and brought in. Curaçao is also willing to assist with experienced Prison Guards. The Prison Guards think it will cause a dangerous situation, but the Minister thinks it will allow them to put an outside fencing that would create a better situation rather than a dangerous situation,” the statement continued.

“Also have a check point put in place before reaching the Prison. We do believe we should give the Minister and his Ministry the opportunity to bring his plan of action to the Parliament, and get their approval. We do believe that there should be cooperation from all the Ministries to be able to tackle this serious situation that is affecting each and every Prison Guard, and the general public. Our next meeting with the Minister is scheduled for April 16, 2017 for some follow-up.

After a long awaited period the Ministerial Decrees will be finally signed for the Prison Guards by the Minister,” the WICSU-PSU statement concluded.