Acting Police Commissioner David Ramnarine is calling on the relevant authorities to fast-track renovation works being done at the Brickdam Police Station lock-ups, which he said have been ongoing for “too long”.
Speaking at a press conference over the weekend, Ramnarine pointed out that the state of the key detention facility continued to be of grave concern for the Police Force. “It’s taking a bit too long. It’s a key facility and should be given the requisite attention or more attention as it needs,” he posited.
According to the acting Top Cop, the Brickdam lock-ups is a “travesty” to law enforcement efforts in A Division (Georgetown-East Bank Demerara); hence, he is calling for work on the holding facility to be expedited since it affects the work of the Police in that division.
“The burden of shifting serious crimes suspects to other lock-ups on a daily basis is one we have been bearing with tremendous patience over the years. I wish to take this opportunity to urge the officials concerned to spare no efforts to realise this much-needed facility in the capital city of Georgetown,” he implored.
According to Ramnarine, there has been much said about the Brickdam lock-ups over the years, especially the need to make the detention facility more efficient and accommodating to address human rights issues.
However, he added that the prolonged renovation works are inconveniencing the work of the division, since already limited resources are being stretched to accommodate the ongoing works.
“A Division, over the years, has had to deal with and will continue to deal with, because this is the most populous (division), close to 60 per cent of the reports of serious crimes. And then you have to eke out scarce mobile resources and manpower every day to traverse long distances to detain suspects at other facilities and so on. I don’t have to explain; one would understand the challenges and that the reconfiguration of that lock-up has been dragging on for too long,” the interim Police Commissioner highlighted.
Furthermore, Ramnarine explained that these concerns have been raised with officials, but more efforts needed to be undertaken to have the process expedited, given the importance of the Brickdam lock-ups in the Division.
The condition of the Brickdam lock-ups has come in for much scrutiny and criticisms over the years. This resulted in the Division’s main detention facility undergoing a major overhaul back in 2009, when some $14.4 million was expended to rehabilitate the once smelly and unsightly facility that was once referred to as a ‘dungeon horrible’ by a Commission of Inquiry several years prior.
Initially, phase one of the rehabilitation project begun with the signing of a $5.9 million contract, but physical works commenced the following month and continued for a period of 10 weeks.
The scope of works entailed fumigating the lock-ups environment, demolition and alteration to metal doors, rehabilitation of the existing steel grilles and door framings, rehabilitation of the enquiries area and re-doing of defective concrete works which were followed by a process of plastering.
There was also the demolition of existing plumbing works and restoration of plumbing to each of the 15 cells that were rehabilitated. This phase of the project also included the constructing of a concrete reservoir and concrete trestle, which now supports six new water tanks, and tiling of the floors and walls of the lock-ups.
Subsequently, an additional $8.5 million was secured for the completion of the project in its entirety. The latter phase included the installation of 15 penal style toilets for each cell at a cost of US$700 each. There was also the fabrication and installation of 42 metal bunks and rehabilitation of the holding area grille and construction of seating accommodation.
Further, the project entailed the tiling and painting of the enquiries staff area, including toilet and bath, and painting of the general facility.