Over the years, it was the biggest and most feared lockups in the country. It held dozens of persons pending their court appearances.
But the conditions at the Brickdam lockups were beyond horrendous. The toilet facilities were almost non-existent and shocked human rights activists. The ventilation was also poor, a major dread for police officers and the prisoners.
A decision was made by the then Ministry of Home Affairs, around 2013 for the lockups to be upgraded.
Five years later, the lockups have not been commissioned.
The cost to shift prisoners to other lockups, as far as Diamond, has been taking a toll on the limited resources of the Guyana Police Force, with food, vehicles and extra security needed.
The use of the lockups in other smaller stations have been causing overcrowding problems.
In October 2016, Commissioner (ag) of Police, David Ramnarine, admitted that the key detention facility “continues to be of grave concern to us as law enforcement officials”.
“The burden of shifting serious crimes suspects to other lockups on a daily basis is one we have been bearing with tremendous patience over the years. I wish to take this opportunity to urge the officials concerned to spare no effort to realise this much needed facility in the capital city of Georgetown,” Ramnarine had said.
With Brickdam the seat of the “A” Division commander, the situation for the expansion to be completed and the facilities commissioned has never been more critical.
A Division, of which Georgetown is part, reportedly deals with close to 60 percent of the reports of serious crimes.
Commissioner Ramnarine, in that 2016 statement, said that it is challenging for the Guyana Police Force (GPF) to find holding facilities for offenders in the division.
“You have to eke out scarce mobile resources and manpower every day to traverse long distances to detain suspects at other facilities,” the Commissioner explained.
Commissioner Ramnarine also explained that there is need for an increase in the number of holding cells at the Brickdam lockups. “They need to make it more efficient; they need to make it more accommodating and they need to address human rights issues.”
In early 2013, the Ministry of Home Affairs- now the Ministry of Public Security- asked for tenders for the building of another storey on top of the old lockups. At the time, under the previous government, the minister was Clement Rohee.
Works were estimated to cost more than $50M, it was reported.
An additional $20M was approved to complete the project last year.
According to officials, the major problems of the new facilities had to do mainly with the way it was designed. It would have been too hot for the prisoners.
The additional monies would have also been used to fix the ventilation problems.
Oct 16, 2018By Sean Devers in Trinidad In association with Regal, Vnet, Noble House Seafoods & Cascadia Hotel In murky conditions and played before virtually empty stands, Guyana Jaguars, led by a 79-run...
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