File picture: Prisoners get air time at the Maximum Security Prison in Arouca

Just three new COVID cases were recorded yesterday evening taking the number of positive cases in the country to 6,080.

The latest statistics came as the president of the Prison Officers’ Association Ceron Richards blamed the COVID-19 pandemic for exposing the need for a new remand facility in this country.

On Saturday it was revealed that 68 prisoners at the Maximum Security Prison (MSP) in Arouca had tested positive for the virus.

Prisons Commissioner Dennis Pulchan described the situation as “an unsettling one”.

Richards said while he believes that Pulchan is doing his best with the resources he has, the situation has shown that the prison service needs more resources

“This emphasised the need for the building of a new remand facility in Trinidad and Tobago. If we have such a new facility it can be outfitted in such a way in terms of the infrastructure that will be naturally supportive to these types of situations notwithstanding the actions taken by the commissioner at the Maximum Security at this time,” Richards said.

“I was there (on Saturday) I asked a lot of questions I looked at the operations and I think the best is being done based on the circumstances, based on the resources and once we continue to get that support from doctors and experts in the medical field it can go a long way in treating with the pandemic within prison walls,” he said.

Speaking to Guardian Media yesterday Pulchan lauded the prison officers for their service.

“We understand that we are dealing with a pandemic. We are dealing with a crisis and things will get rough at times and right now my officers are coping pretty well,” Pulchan said.

“It is pandemic and we are managing and we are essential workers doing our job,” he said.

Pulchan said the prison officers have spoken to the inmates and assured them that all that needs to be done is being done.

“I am calm. I am cool. I have to protect both officers and inmates and it is the job, we serve our country,” Pulchan said.