“You sat on your laurels and did nothing!” – Teixeira on 2017 Camp St. Jailbreak

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By Devina Samaroo

Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira Wednesday blasted Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan and the coalition administration for failing to avert one of the most catastrophic disasters in the country – the 2017 jailbreak and destruction of the Camp Street Prison.

The parliamentarian was making her contribution to the debate on a motion on the ‘2017 Georgetown Prison Fire and Jailbreak’ in the National Assembly.

With most of the opposition benches empty, Teixeira opened the debate on the long-awaited motion where eight hardcore criminals escaped and the majority of the prison destroyed.

After protesting for more private member days in parliament last year, the day was finally allotted at a time when most Indian Members of Parliament are away in India for a conference.

Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira and Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan

Teixeira argued that poor leadership from the head of the nation’s security sector created a situation that was completely unavoidable.

“The issue is leadership and acting responsibly. You give leadership and you didn’t on that day. None of you! And I am not going to blame the prison and fire [service] and army and police. I am not! Because if you didn’t do what you were supposed to do between March 2016 and July 9, 2017, what do you expect to happen?” she posited.

The parliamentarian further contended that “the issue is the situation that occurred was avoidable, it could have been managed but you did nothing. You sat on your laurels and did nothing!”

Teixeira, who also served as Home Affairs Minister, contended that the Government should have put preventative measures in place following the 2016 unrest that killed 17 prisoners at the same Camp Street penitentiary.

She also reprimanded the Public Security Minister and the Government for poor direction after the incident which eventually resulted in the escape of an additional 13 inmates.

“So the prisoners are moved and they go to Lusignan and you have them, 500 men placed in an open pasture under the worst conditions I have seen; worst than refugee camps that I have seen on television in Syria and all those places… there is rain, there is flood, and then you are surprised when the prisoners behave bad? They’re not animals, they are humans.”

Teixeira argued that the Government must take responsibility for allowing such a disastrous event to take place in the country.

“These events and the ineptitude of the minister and in fact the entire government, these events are an indictment of your collective inability to address the issues of security and public safety, to manage our economy, to bring the good life to our people…” she said.

Teixeira contended that “it is time, it is time, remember your saying? It is time for all of you to go.”

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