By Lamin Fatty
Janjangbureh prison officers have demanded their unpaid allowance for the past two years now, and indicate that they have been depending on themselves particularly for feeding throughout the above period without their allowances, while escorting prisoners to court and other places.
According to our source, the prison officers especially prison escorts, carry a fully loaded pick-up vehicles with prisoners from Janjangbureh central prison to Basse every week, and usually spend over three days in Basse depending on the adjournment dates for the prisoners they take.
“Each officer is entitled to the allowance and feeding for any day he or she spends outside the prison camp on official duties. However there is no single officer who has received his or her allowance even for a day, during the past two years now,” the source said.
That they contribute D400.00 each for their feeding during their period of stay in Basse; that sometimes, the Fire Service department in Basse caters and accommodates them during their stay in Basse.
When this reporter asked whether their higher authorities are aware of their predicaments, the source replied in the affirmative, and further said that the matter has been reported many times to the prison higher authorities to no avail, and was in turn reported to the Ombudsman for rredress to no avail.
In order to shed light on the above story, this reporter contacted the public relations officer of the prison department, Momodou Lamin Ceesay who confirmed the story. He said prison officers especially prison escorts are entitled to such allowances.
“That is true and they are entitled to such allowances. Before, the officers were receiving their allowances accordingly. However, this has stopped and those allowances have not been paid for almost two years now,” the prison PRO confirmed. He said the ministry of finance and that of the Interior, are responsible for those allowances and they can better explain the reason for stopping the payment of these allowances.
Asked whether they as the authorities of the prison department are doing any effort to follow up and know the reason from the ministries he cites above in order to ensure that the allowances are paid accordingly, Mr Ceesay replied in the affirmative, and confirmed that they wrote to the two concerned Ministries, but that “the only respond we get is that they are working on it and something will be done about it soon”.