Cabinet has given its blessing to a contract in the sum of $23,298,045, for the procurement of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) surveillance system for the Guyana Prison Service (GPS).
This was disclosed by Minister of State Joseph Harmon during the post-cabinet press briefing on Thursday.
CCTV, also known as video surveillance, is the use of video cameras to transmit a signal to a specific place, on a limited set of monitors. It differs from broadcast television in that the signal is not openly transmitted, though it may employ point to point (P2P), point to multipoint (P2MP), or mesh wired or wireless links.
Though almost all video cameras fit this definition, the term is most often applied to those used for surveillance in areas that may need monitoring such as bars, banks, casinos, schools, hotels, airports, hospitals, restaurants, military installations, convenience stores and other areas where security is needed.
Contacted yesterday, Director of Prisons (Acting) Gladwin Samuels said that the initiative will target Georgetown and Mazaruni; however the former will be priority.
“This is a Government of Guyana contract and should not be confused with the Inter-American Development-funded project which targets – among other issues – prison overcrowding,” Samuels explained.
He added that the implementers of this project will seek to establish a link with the current system at these identified prisons to the existing system at the headquarters in the capital.
Quizzed whether the fire at the Camp Street jailhouse last year which claimed the lives of 17 inmates would have spurred the decision to initiate the project, Samuels responded in the affirmative. He said also, that the project will be part of the service’s ongoing aim to modernize their surveillance capability.
The ongoing upgrade, he said, has in the past faced several challenges, especially as it relates to finance. He explained that this has resulted in the upgrade being done systematically.
Samuels said that the budgetary allocation to the GPS would often have to be prioritized to facilitate other means of ensuring the efficient and effective administration of the prisons in the state.
Quizzed on the service’s ongoing battle with overcrowding, Samuels stated that the proposed expansion of the Mazaruni prison and the construction of the brick prison being built in the compound of the Camp Street jail will yield positive results, however more will have to be done.
Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan, told media operatives last month that the brick prison should be completed by the end of July and will house approximately 320 high-profile prisoners.
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