Villagers of Glen Road, Tobago are outraged over the relocation of Tobago’s prison to their backyards without their knowledge.
The residents said yesterday they feel betrayed and conned by the government and Tobago House of Assembly (THA) as they were made to believe the facility was earmarked for COVID-19 prisoners.
However, the Montessori Drive buildings were made the island’s correctional facility following a brief ceremony on Saturday and its first intake of prisoners took place the same day.
“We only know it was a prison when we read it on the media. Is this typical of how the government operates? Which residents, where, and when, the Prison Commissioner spoke to,” Berth Williams, a resident asked.
Residents said they could no longer play in their yards, work in their gardens or leave doors open.
Guardian Media reached out to acting Prisons Commissioner Dennis Pulchan who insisted he had spoken to residents. Hearing that they denied having seen or heard from him, he said he is disappointed with their stance and will try to meet them next week.
“We spoke to a few people in the street… and the people welcomed it so I am quite shocked by what I am hearing. These are Tobago prisoners who have committed offences and are kept there, so what is the problem,” Pulchan asked.
The Acting Prison Commissioner said he had nothing to do with the relocation and was merely carrying out the Government’s instructions.
Guardian Media reached out to Chief Secretary Ancil Dennis to comment on the matter but did not get a response.
Although National Security does not fall under the Tobago House of Assembly’s (THA) portfolio, by law, the THA’s Chief Secretary is supposed to meet with the Prime Minister regularly to address Tobago’s issues.
We asked, via WhatsApp messenger, whether he was part of the consultation to house the prison in the densely populated residential and commercial area.