Deputy Commissioner of Police Mcdonald Jacob on Tuesday announced the offer of $500,000.00 for any information regarding the recent killings of two prison officers.
Last Monday 38 year old prison officer Nigel Jones was shot dead as he stood with his four year old daughter at the Fyzabad taxi stand in Siparia. The two, from Fyzabad, were waiting for a taxi to go home.
He was laid to rest on Tuesday and following his funeral, the Minister of National Security held a special press conference in San Fernando to finally address the situation. He gave assurances that the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service as well as the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force are all on high alert.
On November 26th Prisons Officer II, Trevor Serrette, of Valencia was gunned down at his fruit and vegetable stall in Valencia.
The two officers were last assigned to the Wayne Jackson Building at the Maximum Security Prison, Golden Grove, Arouca.
Since then there have been threats to the lives of officers. It was revealed by President of the Prison Officers Association Ceron Richards last Tuesday that 13 prison officers were marked for death before the end of the year, following which a hit list with the names and addresses of over 30 prison officers was released and circulated on social media. He called for the immediate intervention of the National Security Ministry which he said has failed and Head of the National Security Council Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley. In that same week, one other Prison Officer was also attacked where a police officer was shot.
According to DCP Jacob, “The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service has collaborated with the ministry to offer a reward to anyone who can provide information that will lead to the arrests and prosecution of the suspects involving these murders. An award of $500,00.00 will be offered for any information that leads to the successful arrests of these perpetrators.”
He pleaded with citizens who may have information, to come forward while also committing to the highest level of confidentiality.
DCP Jacob explained that there will be no leakage of information as it will be a similar pattern to that of Crime Stoppers to ensure the safety of the person giving information.
Commissioner of Prisons Dennis Pulchan who was also in attendance then attempted to give some detail of preventative measures implemented at Trinidad and Tobago’s prisons such as increased searches but he said technology seems to be catching up to the prison system as drones are now dropping contraband into the prisons.
“We have started searching for any member who enters any institution. They have arrested 18 prison officers so far found with contraband. We do have a problem that seems to be bringing itself closer and closer to our doors, one of technology. Drones seem to be dropping packages into our prisons.”
The Prisons Commissioner noted that solutions are on its way as they are working with other agencies to resolve the issue.