Security at Her Majesty’s Prisons Dodds is in no way compromised as a number of prison officers are now under quarantine or in isolation after being exposed to, or testing positive for COVID-19.
Minister of Home Affairs, Information and Public Affairs, Wilfred Abrahams, said the security complement at the prison was being supported by personnel from the Barbados Defence Force and the Royal Barbados Police Force.
Speaking during a televised statement on Friday to update Barbados on the situation where prison officers had tested positive for the virus, the Minister said the presence of soldiers and police officers at the St. Philip facility was part of Government’s protocol to manage the situation.
“The deployment of Barbados Defence Force personnel and police officers is to supplement the shifts and security arrangements, until normal service resumes. To date, there have been no reports of incidents at the prison, and the security of the prison is under control.
“I wish to repeat, there have been no reports of incidents at the prison, and the security at the prison is under control,” Mr. Abrahams stated.
He explained that following the confirmation that some prison officers had tested positive for COVID-19, the Ministry of Health and Wellness commenced the testing of all officers and inmates who were present at the facility as a means of due diligence.
“During this testing process, some staff and officers have been quarantined, which has led to the need for the reorganisation of shifts at the prison pending results.”
Mr. Abrahams said almost all prison officers associated with what is being referred to as a “super spreader incident”, or who would have been at the prison in the critical time were tested so far.
He added that the testing of prison officers and inmates at the prison were expected to be concluded by 2:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 2.
“The integrity of the prison and the safety of its population are of paramount concern to the Government of Barbados,” he assured, noting that all applicable resources will be used to deal with the “delicate and challenging situation”.
Mr. Abrahams also extended best wishes to the prison officers who were exposed, those who had tested positive, their families, the inmates and anyone else affected by the situation.