Public Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan, while recognizing that the two last major fires and prison unrests at the Camp Street jail took place under his watch as Security Minister, does not believe that he should step down from his post.
In wake of Sunday’s jailbreak and fire at the Camp Street jail, there were scores of calls on social media for Ramjattan to step down from the position of Public Security Minister, but at a press conference on Sunday night, he appeared to be standing his ground.
“Look! If there was a fault on my part then fine, then the President can do that. And that is what generally you have. I would have resigned if it was a fault on my part. But do you think its a fault on my part when some criminals there, who are going to ask for distractions and they get people to do all of that. I don’t know”, he said.
When pressed further, about capital investments in improving the prison system and whether the lack of adequate capital investment should force his resignation, the Public Security Minister brushed that aside.
He said “well a lack of capital investments and what, you want to change the whole cabinet? Because I asked for that, but the cabinet decided to give sugar”.
The Public Security Minister also hinted that the prison could be reconstructed in the same area, although no definite decision on such a move has been made.
He said while the government in the past may have been cash strapped on finding money to build a new prison, it will have to do just that now. Ramjattan estimates that building a completely new prison could cost the government upwards of $6 Billion.
The Camp Street prison was built to accommodate just over 600 inmates. For several years, it has found itself overcrowded by more than 400 inmates.
At the time of Sunday’s jailbreak and fire, there were 1018 prisoners at the facility.
Back in 2016, when inmates launched a deadly fiery protest that claimed the lives of 17 prisoners, there were 1014 prisoners in the jailhouse at the time.
Prison Authorities are continuing their search of the charred prison grounds. So far no casualties have been found among the ashes of the jailhouse.
Searches are ongoing also for the five prisoners who escaped.