Previously, the prison system fell under the Ministry of Justice. However, this ministry has been removed and the Ministry of Legal Affairs has been lumped with the Minister of the Attorney General.
Up to yesterday the schedules detailing the areas of responsibility for each of the 23 Cabinet members were yet to be published, but they are expected to be finalised early this week and before the ceremonial opening of Parliament which is on Wednesday.
On September 13, the President of the Prisons Officers Association Ceron Richards called for prisons to be shifted back to the Ministry of National Security, now headed by Retired Major General Edmund Dillon.
“Prisons is a national security entity, our job hinges on security which has far reaching consequences for the nation if proper security is not maintained,” Richards said. “Prisons is best placed under the National Security Ministry.
The escape at the Port-of- Spain prison should tell us, that we are totally misplaced under the Ministry of Justice.” On July 24, three prisoners, Christopher “Monster” Selby, Allan “Scanny” Martin and Hassan Atwell shot their way out of the prison shooting and killing policeman Sherman Maynard who was in a police vehicle outside the prison.
Martin was cornered and shot dead by police at the Port-of- Spain General Hospital minutes after the jail break. Atwell was gunned down by members of a gang in Laventille and Selby surrendered to police.