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Prisoners refusing diet but eating food brought by relatives

By NALINEE SEELAL Wednesday, August 27 2014

The over 160 prisoners at the Maximum Security Prison at Arouca who have been refusing to partake of the daily diet provided to them by the Prison Authorities, yesterday continued day two of their refusal to eat food from the prisons, but continued to partake of food purchased from the prisons canteen for them.

Yesterday, sources revealed that although prisoners have been claiming that they are on a hunger strike to protest the failure of the judicial system to speed up their trials, they have actually been eating cornflakes, snacks and other food stuff.

Sources revealed that the prisoners who are being closely monitored have been seen consuming the items, and prison authorities are now of the firm view that there is no hunger strike taking place.

Several prisons officers who spoke to Newsday yesterday said while they are in sympathy with the plight of some prisoners, who have been waiting five to ten years to have their matters completed, they believe that they are going about it the wrong way by refusing to eat the food provided to them by the prison authority.

“We believe that they should get their attorneys to petition the Chief Justice, or any other relevant body, to ensure that trials are not delayed in the interest of justice.”

Yesterday, some of the prisoners insisted that they are in fact on a hunger strike, and have been refusing to eat anything, they said that it was a blatant lie that they had been eating foodstuff provided for them by visiting relatives, friends and loved ones, and said that some prisoners have been falling ill as a result of the hunger strike.

Prisoners are also claiming that the hunger strike is to send a message to the prison authorities that they are fed up of the treatment meted out to them by some prisons officers.

Yesterday Prisons Commissioner Conrad Barrow told Newsday that as far as he was concerned there was no hunger strike at MSP. “What we do have is a few prisoners, who have been refusing to have their meals, and we have a system in place to ensure that those prisoners are given the necessary medical treatment by infirmary officers.”

He added that the management and staff at the MSP are working closely with the disgruntled prisoners, with the hope of having their concerns amicably resolved.

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