Minister assures measures in place to secure prison officers

Minister of National Security Stuart Young is giving full assurance that the safety and security of prison officers remain a top priority for the Ministry of National Security.

All National Security law enforcement and intelligence agencies are said to be on high alert and are working cohesively to support the safety of prison officers.

Young, in a release, strongly denounces the recent circulation of threatening messages being made against prison officers. 

In thanking all prison officers for pledging their support to the State and for their dedication to duty at the nation’s prisons despite the current challenges, he vowed to continue working together with the

Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service to provide officers with a greater sense of security while performing their duties.

Earlier, on Tuesday, Commissioner of Prisons, Gerard Wilson advised all officers of the T&T Prison Service to exercise extreme caution and vigilance especially when off-duty. 

The advisory came after several threats began circulating via the WhatsApp medium, indicating a plot to 'kill any two officers'. 

The advisory also came hours after the ex-wife of a prison officer, Sherry Ann Watson, 51, was killed seconds after she arrived at her home in Malabar on Monday.

Watson and her ex-husband have been divorced for the past 13 years.

However, the motive for her murder is still yet to be determined but the link to a death threat against prison officers and their families are not to be ruled out just yet.

Watson's ex-husband is currently a Prison Armourer.

According to Wilson, all security agencies are on high alert and directives are in place, especially for officers who live in what are deemed 'high risk' areas. 

"The T&T Prison Service continues to partner with other security agencies in upholding its mandate of safety and security for all, " Wilson said.

Asked what measures are in place for officers, he replied: "Well you know this is nothing new in the Prisons and we just take the same precautions as we did previously. The T&T Police Service is also very supportive so we also rely on them for protection and I know they will have surveillance in areas where officers may be vulnerable."

Shortly before 6 pm Watson was about to enter her house at Albert Mark Street, Phase 4 when two gunmen ambushed her and opened fire. She died on the scene.

An autopsy will be conducted on Tuesday at the Forensic Science Centre in St James.

- Rhondor Dowlat-Rostant


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