HMP officers stage short-lived protest

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A protest by staff of Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) early yesterday morning, was reportedly quelled before the end of the day.

As health and safety issues continue to mount at HMP, the prison officers staged industrial action in the form of a ‘go-slow’ within the confines of the prison.

OBSERVER media spoke to a well-informed source who said the prison officers were “fed up” because they felt they were being exploited.

Among the issues that prison officers are said to be frustrated about are the lack of functional bathrooms and overall deplorable conditions affecting their health.

The source alleged that male prison officers often have to relieve themselves in a gutter or walk to the Antigua Recreation Grounds to use the bathroom, while female officers continue to use the unhygienic prison bathrooms.

Another issue the officers were reportedly protesting was the reduction in risk allowance to $250.  The source stated that the risk allowance approved by Cabinet was $350.

The individual, who wanted to remain anonymous, also criticized top officials at HMP and called for an investigation of conditions at the penal institution.

The officers are said to have called for a meeting with Attorney General and Minister for Legal Affairs, Justice, Public Safety and Labour, Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin.

However, Attorney General Benjamin was in Barbados attending the 11th International Labour Organization (ILO) Meeting of Caribbean Ministers of Labour, which ends today.

After learning that Benjamin was off-island, the protesting officers ended their industrial action and resumed their duties.

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