Minister of Home Affairs, Information and Public Affairs, Wilfred Abrahams. (FP)

Minister of Home Affairs, Information and Public Affairs, Wilfred Abrahams, has revealed that the sick leave, which had an impact on some of the services being offered at Her Majesty’s Prisons, Dodds, has been reduced significantly.

Speaking during a press conference carried via Zoom today, the Minister, while cautioning that divulging exact numbers on the staffing impinged on national security concerns, disclosed that there were now full shifts at the prison, and there was no need to draw on the resources of the Barbados Defence Force or the Royal Barbados Police Force.

“I don’t want to give an exact number as to the sick certificates…. There are some people who have called in sick, but I can tell you as far as affecting the operations of the prison at this point in time, no. The prison is back to full operational capacity and being handled completely in-house, with available manpower resources. So, the sick certificate situation while it exists, is not a major sticking point or concern for the prison at this time,” he told reporters, while giving an update of the situation at the prison and the operation of post offices.

Mr. Abrahams said the prison had resumed all of its services, and added that “every single facility at the prison has been stood up so the prison is now operating at pre-COVID-19 crisis efficiency”.

“The systems at the prison are now back to pre-crisis arrangements with virtual courts now back in operation, both the High Court and the Magistrates’ Court. Virtual visits have resumed and the inmate telephone system for family and friends. 

“The work routine also continues in the kitchen, the auto mechanics workshop, the tailor shop, the farm, both agriculture and animal husbandry, and the sanitisation and sanitation maintenance of the housing units and work areas at the facility, as well as the maintenance and up-keep of our landscaping has been re-established,” he stated.

Minister Abrahams said remand prisoners are now being accepted at Dodds and the temporary designated prison facility at St. Ann’s Fort, The Garrison, would be stood down.

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