For the past two weeks, there has been no pipe borne water after the pump went down. Prison officers were forced to allow prisoners to bathe in the sea as part of their daily personal hygiene routine. Toilets remained unflushed creating a massive stink while laundry was not washed. On Wednesday, prison officers could no longer bear the stress and decided to donate their own money to purchase the part for the pump.
Yesterday, repairs were effected and by mid-morning water was flowing once again much to the relief of both inmates and prison guards. President of the Prison Officers Association Ceran Richards said he was dumbstruck on learning that $400 was all that was needed to repair the pump and bring relief.
Yet, the authorities dragged the issue on for weeks while everyone on the island suffered.
“The Association is extremely angry that a minor repair was left for so long to the extent where our members had to use their own money to purchase the part,” Richards said, adding that $400 solved the problem while $1.5M was set aside in the National Budget to rectify long-standing water issues on the island prison.
Newsday understands it cost tax payers $30,000 per month ($360,000 a year) to pay a contractor to provide potable water via a barge to the island when one water line connection, from Nelson Island to the island prison, could permanently solve the water issue and save the country hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Efforts to Acting Prisons Commissioner Cecil Duke on the matter proved futile.