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Friday, 18 January 2008

Port of Spain Prison

Soldiers stand guard as prison officers patrol around the perimeter of the Port of Spain Prison on Frederick Street.More than five bus loads of prison officers were deployed around the Port of Spain Prison on Frederick Street yesterday following suspicions that a gun had been smuggled into the guarded premises.
The upper part of Frederick Street, where the entrance to the Port of Spain prison is located, was completely blocked off to both vehicular and pedestrian traffic during the four-hour long lockdown. The area was cordoned off by prison officers, police and regiment personnel in the search that began at 11 a.m
The officers were seen carrying metal detectors, flash lights, surgical masks and surgical gloves, while the airship, commonly referred to as the blimp, circled the site.
The other three streets around the prison, New Street, Gordon Street and Pembroke Street, were allowed their regular traffic flow but pedestrians were not allowed to walk along the pavements near the prison walls.
Sources told the Express that a gun was believed to have been smuggled into the prison at around 6 a.m., causing the lockdown.
However, both the Commissioner of Prisons, John Rougier, and president of the Prisons Officers Association, Michael Williams, said nothing was found in the extensive search.
Williams admitted the search was carried out based on a tip-off, he said "the measure adopted was a standard procedure", which included the collaboration with police and regiment personnel during the search.
But nearby business owners, residents and visitors to the prison were up in arms at the operation.
Attorney Jawara Mobota, who had a 1.30 p.m. appointment with his client, Andrew Thomas, said he was "totally inconvenienced" by the search. Thomas was transferred from Carrera to the prison on Wednesday.


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