Kitchen roof collapses at the prison

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Staff and inmates of Her Majesty’s Prison are concerned about their safety after the kitchen caved in.
Sources at the prison confirmed that the roof fell in two weeks ago and the authorities have done nothing to address the situation.
It is claimed that prison staff and prisoners came together to prop up the roof with pieces of wood so they could continue to have use of the kitchen, since it is the only area where they could cook and store food.
Albert Wade, prison superintendent, spoke on the matter when he gave his prison report in the High Court on Tuesday.
He said he, too, is concerned especially since Antigua is prone to earthquakes and should one hit the island when the prison staff and inmates are in the kitchen, people could get hurt.
Steadroy Benjamin, the minister responsible for prisons told OBSEVER media that he would have raised the matter with Cabinet yesterday.
“Having heard of that predicament it will be addressed immediately. That will be addressed [Wednesday] morning in Cabinet and I am certain that Cabinet will make a decision to have it done immediately. I cannot tell you who will be doing the work, but, after the meeting, I can update you,” he said.
Expansion works at the Coronation Road penal institution started over a year ago, but, halted before completion after the government failed to pay the contractors on time.
Benjamin did not speak to that issue, but said that the only solution to all the issues at the prison is to build a new one.
The jail has 318 inmates, making it overcrowded since it was built for 150 people. At times, cells built to house three inmates are crowded with as many as eight inmates.
Apart from the overcrowding, there is the concern also about the dental health of prisoners, because the St. John’s Clinic often does not have water.
And, without water, the clinic’s dental division cannot operate. Prison superintendent Albert Wade says this problem has been plaguing the clinic for many months.
Benjamin said the dental hygiene issue would have also been raised with Cabinet yesterday.

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