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No COVID death in prison says acting commissioner


No COVID death in prison says acting commissioner

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Acting Prisons Commissioner Dennis Pulchan Wednesday denied reports that there had been at least one death from the coronavirus (COVID-19) within the prisons while confirming that several Venezuelan nationals have gone on a hunger strike in a bid to get their matters fast-tracked before the courts.

He said he wanted to deny the contents of a “voice note” that is being circulated on social media describing the contents as “misinformation”.

“There is no COVID death in the Trinidad and Tobago prisons so far (and) the Venezuelan inmates who are looking to participate in a fast, there are some who are doing it because their cases are taking too long.

“Let me say something, the prison service has nothing to do with the length of time the judiciary would take. These are people who are charged with various offences, they have broken the laws of Trinidad and Tobago and they are in prison,” Pulchan said on a radio programme here.

According to the voice note, a person, identifying himself as a Trinidad and Tobago national in jail, said he is in the division next to the Venezuelans and “the conditions in the prison are very deplorable”.

“There are a lot of things hiding in the prison system and they refuse to deal with it. In the prisons we have a COVID death. The fellar fell sick and when they brought him to the hospital he died of COVID-19 and they came and sanitised the place.”

Pulchan told radio listeners that his job as Prison Commissioner is to keep those persons who have broken the law in prison, adding “I have absolutely little influence over the court system.

‘To assume that the Commissioner of Prison is covering up something, is totally wrong, it is totally unfounded, those are allegations that are trying to create sympathy in the minds of the public”.

He said that officials from the Venezuelan Embassy here are free and any embassy they say they want to speak with them, are free to come into the prisons and visits their inmates which they do from time to time.

Pulchan has also confirmed that 250 prison officers were placed in self-quarantine because of the virus that has killed 67 people here and infected more than 4 000 others. (Reuters)