Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 07, 2016 (SKNIS): Construction will begin on a new prison in 2017, which will better housing conditions and improve the rehabilitation prospects for prisoners.
During the 2017 Budget Address that outlined proposed funding for the Government’s programmes and activities for the upcoming fiscal year, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, said the new prison earmarked for Estridge Estate, will relieve the current overcrowding at Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP). HMP was built in the year 1840 and designed to accommodate 60 persons. The population is now over 200 inmates.
“In the Budget for 2017, we have put the money in to ensure that that particular project can be commenced,” Dr. Harris said, during his presentation of the Bill entitled the Appropriation Act (2017) 2016 on Wednesday (December 07).
The prime minister criticized the former government for not taking action to address the issue when the need became dire a few years ago as the prison population topped more than 400 persons.
“Not one paper. Not a proper proposal [was] done,” Dr. Harris said, highlighting that there were no designs for a new facility nor supporting documents although it was publicly being touted that the matter would be addressed. “We had to start that from scratch. We had to go out, invite tenders, get people to do a proper design so [we] will have a proper bill of quantities and then [we] can talk about proper financing resources.”
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Osmond Petty, said that the tender for designs was done through the Ministry of Sustainable Development. That process was described as transparent by Prime Minister Harris during his address to Parliament. Mr. Petty stated that the tenders were reviewed and an architect has being contracted to do the design.