… to hold 400 more inmates, self-contained cells, library among new features
In an effort to address some of the serious issues in the criminal justice systems, the government has awarded a $3.5 billion contract to build a new wing at the Mazaruni Prison to accommodate an additional 400 inmates.
The contract was awarded by Cabinet this week to Kee-Chanona Ltd of Trinidad and Tobago in joint venture with Guyanese firm, Nabi Construction Inc. The expansion of the Mazuruni Prison, located in Region Seven (Cuyuni/Mazaruni), has been on the table for some time.
According to Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, the joint venture contract will realise a four-storeyed building, self-contained cells, a recreational courtyard, dormitory style accommodation, classrooms and a library.
The project will be executed under the Public Security Ministry and will cover a floor area of 68,500 square feet.
Prison officials have been struggling to accommodate inmates over the years. The situation was compounded when over 1,000 inmates at Camp Street Prison in Central Georgetown were displaced when inmates razed the facility during a daring escape in July, last.
Authorities rushed to set up temporary accommodations to house the displaced inmates. Some 450 prisoners were initially housed in a pasture at the Lusignan Prison before they were transferred to a new holding area which was built to temporarily accommodate inmates from the Camp Street Prison.
Some inmates were returned to the Camp Street facility following repair work while others were transferred to the prisons in New Amsterdam, Mazaruni and Timehri.
Government had started expanding the first phase of the Mazaruni Prison at a cost of $278 million following the fire and deaths of 17 inmates of the Georgetown Prison on March 3, 2016.
It was disclosed that 12 new family quarters had been constructed in the prison compound. These quarters are a prerequisite to the construction of the new brick penitentiary. They will house the additional prison officers that would be needed to manage the expected increase in prison population.
There are plans to build another eight chalets in 2018 and undertake additional work to ensure 24-hour electricity supply for the facility.
The current prison population at the Mazaruni Prison is just over 450 inmates. In October, it was disclosed that the estimated bid being tendered for the new wing of the Mazaruni Prison was $2.8 billion.
Interested contractors were invited to bid for the project through the National Competitive Bidding procedures specified in the Procurement Act of 2003.
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