Sat | Apr 4, 2020

Rats chase inmates out Spanish Town lock-up - Jail ordered closed as rodents ‘big like puss’ bite detainees

Published:Thursday | January 30, 2020 | 12:17 AMRasbert Turner/Gleaner Writer

The St Catherine Health Department has ordered the immediate closure of the Spanish Town Police Station lock-up because of a rat infestation and other unsanitary conditions.

The closure was confirmed by Grayson Hutchinson, chief public health inspector for St Catherine, who told The Gleaner that the notice was issued on Tuesday.

“Yes, it’s true. We’ve served the closure notice on Senior Superintendent Beau Rigabie from last week, and he got a little time to do the transfers,” said Hutchinson.

He said that the condition of the cells was of grave concern and would be monitored by the department until satisfactory standards returned.

The chief health inspector revealed that the jail was beset by rat and rodent infestation, inadequate ventilation, and sewage overflow.

“I hope the problem is fixed as we have some rat down ya big like puss,” a policeman told The Gleaner on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

“I think the roaches are also in competition with them as it’s the biggest roach dem mi ever see.”

OVERCROWDED FACILITY

Several prisoners have reportedly been bitten by rats and hospitalised, The Gleaner understands.

The facility, which was built to house 45 detainees, sometimes bursts at the seams with up to 100, this newspaper learnt.

“When dem close it, there were 90-odd prisoners there. Some gone at Linstead lock-up, some Horizon Remand Centre, and others, Tamarind Farm Correctional Centre. This is long overdue,” a policeman said.

Tuesday’s closure came after the St Catherine Municipal Corporation Public Health Committee took the health department to task about unsanitary conditions at the facility.

“I am very pleased that the St Catherine Health Department carried out its mandate to bring some sanity to the situation,” Sydney Rose, chairman of the SCMC Health Committee, said.

Calls to Senior Superintendent of Police Beau Rigabie’s cellular phone rang through to voicemail. A message was left but the call was not returned.

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