Time to upgrade prison service
Officials at the Dominica's State Prison are recommending a shaky up there following the retirement of Superintendent Denis Blanc.
There are problems related to security, staff shortages and drugs and other illegal substances being brought to inmates.
Speaking to the SUN in an exclusive interview, two persons with inside knowledge of the Dominica State Prison but who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publically on the matter, said the government should use Blanc's retirement as an opportunity to fix things at the institution.
The sources suggest that Jeffery Edmond should be given the position that Blanc has vacated because he is the most respected prison officer; he is also knowledgeable and dedicated.
Other officers, who may be considered, according to the sources, are Desmond Casimir and Ken Jean Jacques.
According to the source, among the staff at the prison "have hatred" and it is time that "government intervenes and stops playing politics."
However, one of the sources opined that while Edmund, Casimir and Jean Jacques are well suited to manage the institution it may well be the best time to bring someone from outside to "weed out the bad eggs and put the institution on sound discipline."
One source said: There needs to be unity in the management structure so that it does not appear that there is any division among the staff; whoever gets the job has their work cut out for them.
The Public Service Commission (PSC) has not announced a replacement for Blanc.
As he prepared to leave the Prison where he served for decades, Blanc said he was concerned at the manner in which Prison officers were selected and that it was time to provide proper training for prison officers before they are employed.
He continued: "We have some very good and dedicated staff at the Prisons. I must tell you that but like everything else you do have your issues. All institutions no matter where you go have its weaknesses and flaws. We are not the best but we are not the worst and we are striving to improve for sure," Blanc said.
Asked about the three Chinese nationals who are on remand at the State Prison for theft who drew attention in the Roseau court when they complained of the condition at the prison to Magistrate Bernard Pacquette, Blanc said these inmates are "wicked".
"I don't know what else the Chinese wanted from us, they are not being fair to us. They didn't expect to come here and get a phone call everyday…I spoke to their lawyer and the Chinese embassy, but they (the inmates) are being wicked. One of them speaks English; but they got good treatment. We separated them from cells, one had high blood pressure but they were well treated plus we have the language barrier," Blanc said.