On Tuesday October 13th, 2020, Commissioner of Prisons (Ag.) Mr. Dennis Pulchan received a quantity of personal protection equipment from Ambassador of the United States of America to Trinidad and Tobago, His Excellency, Joseph Mondello to assist in the management of Covid-19 in our nation's prisons.

The brief handover took place at Ambassador Mondello’s residence.

Present at the handover were Deputy Chief of Mission Mr. Joseph Fitzgerald, Chief Military Liaison officer, Colonel Claudia Carrizales, Executive members of the Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service which included Deputy Commissioners of Prisons Mr. Shamsudeen Mohammed and Mr. Deopersad Ramoutar, and Assistant Commissioner of Prisons Mr. Ferdinand Bibby.

During his brief remarks, Commissioner Pulchan thanked the ambassador for his overwhelming support and valuable contributions. He iterated that all contributions will enhance our efforts in containing the spread of the virus within the nation’s prisons, as we adapt to the new normal.

In our continuous efforts to manage COVID-19 within the nation’s prisons, the Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service has acquired, via Legal Notice no. 331, ORDER made by the Minister under section 5(1) of the Prisons Act, (Prisons Order, 2020), a district prison for the treatment of our charges who have tested positive for the virus. It will cater for charges whose medical conditions are classified as being mild, asymptomatic and stable, while those with more serious conditions will be treated at a public facility.

The Claxton Bay Correctional Facility, situated on Trincity Road, Forres Park in the ward of Point-a Pierre, is specially designed and outfitted for patients’ enhanced medical treatment, whilst maintaining public safety and security. The facility can accommodate a maximum of twenty-three (23) patients and treatment will be based on stipulated guidelines set out by the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health. Dr. Maryam Richards, Principal Medical Officer, Institutions, made a complete tour and inspection of the facility and found it to be suited and in readiness for its purpose. Personnel from the Ministry of Health will offer additional support in the treatment of charges when necessary.

The facility was opened with a short unveiling ceremony on Wednesday October 07, 2020, by Commissioner of Prisons (Ag.), Mr. Dennis Pulchan, and is expected to have its first intake of thirteen (13) patients. Commissioner Pulchan expressed his gratitude to Minister of National Security, the Honourable Mr. Stuart Young, personnel from the Ministry of Health and most of all his dedicated staff who worked tirelessly to ensure all standards were met.

Over the past two weeks, staff selected to work at the facility have been engaged in training sessions specific to working in a COVID-19 environment. Some of the areas they were exposed to included, but were not limited to standard operation procedures for the facility, safety procedures, record management, identification of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and their usage, donning and duffing of PPE, bio-hazardous waste disposal, health related emergencies and emergency plans and procedures to mention a few.

As we continue in our efforts to manage and contain the spread of COVID-19 within the walls of the nation's prisons, we highlight the Eastern Correctional Rehabilitation Centre which is being utilized as our official quarantine center.

All new committals into the system, court returnees and charges who may display any symptoms consistent with the virus are housed in separate quarters with all protocols being observed and practiced.

As we attempt to take COVID-19 out of the prisons, efforts are presently underway to establish and outfit a remote facility to specifically deal with charges who have tested positive for the virus.

We continue to work under the guidelines of the Ministry of Health specific to our unique environment, without compromising security and public safety.