Fri | Oct 23, 2020

Malahoo Forte alarmed at 'chinks' in Freeport Lock-up - backs clean-up

Published:Friday | January 13, 2017 | 12:00 AMOkoye Henry

Western Bureau:
             Jamaica’s Attorney General and Member of Parliament, Marlene Malahoo Forte, has joined the growing list of persons expressing alarm at the ‘lice and chink’ infestation among other problems impacting the lock-up at the Freeport Police Station, in Montego Bay.

Malahoo Forte, who is the MP for St James West-Central in which the station is located, told The Gleaner that she will be ensuring that the minimum statutory requirements are met going forward.

“I will have to have discussions with the police and the relevant authorities to ensure that we do not find ourselves in a place where the State is likely to incur liability,” Malahoo Forte said.

“The cells have to be cleaned and maintained. Prisoners are human beings and the law states that they must be kept in humane conditions,” she added.

Malahoo Forte, however, noted that she was concerned as to why conditions at the police lock-up deteriorated to the point of forced closure. She feels that this happened because the people employed to clean the facility have been falling short on their duties.

“And I know that when problems reach crisis proportion, the first place that people look to is the political directorate. Yes, the political directorate has to bear the share of responsibilities on what needs to be done but there are people in place at every level to ensure that the work is done,” Malahoo Forte explained.

It is understood that fumigation has already commenced at the station. The unhygienic conditions including an infestation of ‘lice and chinks (bed bugs)’ has forced the public health authorities in St James to order the closure of the lock-ups. 

The prisoners are to be relocated while the lock-up is cleaned and the cells back to acceptable public health standards.