DOMA: Urgent action needed on murders of prison officers

The Downtown Owners and Merchants Association (DOMA) says the silence of major interest groups to the high rate of murders of prison officers, is not serving the country well.

DOMA says there must be an urgent response to the murders of prison officers.

The organisation issued the following statement on Wednesday:

"We wish to offer sincere condolences and sympathy to the family and friends of Prison Officer Darren Francis.

We do not believe that any further purpose will be served by the pronounced silence of the major interest groups in our society regarding the shockingly high rate of murders of prison officers.

The state of our nations national security is a key pillar of measure of our quality of life and investor confidence in Trinidad and Tobago.

How can we be holding discussions and symposiums on economic diversification when the greatest impediment to investment in diversification is the threat of collapse of national security institutions like our prison service.

The repeated murder of prison officers is not only a sign of the upper hand being held by criminal elements but must also be seen as a symbol of some drastic irregularity occurring in our country’s prisons.

It is impossible not to hear the murmurs and rumours of a massive prison racket occurring in our major holding facilities and no useful purpose can come from us not using our own common sense to deduce that a major high-level affront is required to protect our citizens from the possible escalation of the danger that can come from collusion with prisoners in the system.

One can sympathise with the challenge being faced by our Police Officers in dealing with criminals outside the prisons if in fact there is any truth to the rumours and suggestions that are circulating for quite some time now that there are criminals operating inside the prisons out of reach of the Police.

One must only remember the tragic events of July 2015 in which guns and a grenade were used from inside the POS prison to break out.

There have been no resolution or charges laid in that event except the continuation of the murder of Prison Officers.

We believe that the time has come to act with urgency and determination to unravel these murders in order to not only protect those innocent and honourable Prison Officers in the system but also to protect our nation and its citizens from what is now becoming a serious potential threat to our national security."

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