By Scott Waide – EMTV News, Lae
A Senior Corrections Officer who was issued with a suspension notice from the role as Acting Commander of the Buimo Prison has repeated calls for a perimeter fence to be fixed, and for authorities to provide funding to ease the overcrowding at the prison.
Correctional Service Superintendent Judy Tara was served a suspension notice, but pointed out that no formal appointments for a Commander or Acting Commander were made since the previous commander took up a post in Port Moresby.
She has, however, accepted the suspension as the senior officer responsible, but called on the government to increase manpower and fix the root causes of the ongoing prison breakouts.
With more than 60 prisoners still on the run, the Buimo Prison administration has come under fire both from the public and from headquarters.
There remains uncertainty over the commander’s position, with Tara saying that technically no official appointment was made for the commander’s post.
“My suspension is effective as of today,” Superintendent Tara said.
“However, I was not given formal instruments by the Commissioner to take up the [prison] Commander’s role.”
Superintendent Tara has raised longstanding issues that contributed to previous jailbreaks and the one this past week.
A perimeter fence is needed; and more staff are needed for the prisoner population of more than 700.
Coincidently, she had just ended discussions with the Lae MP, Loujaya Kouza, on Thursday about funding for a perimeter fence when the jailbreak happened.
“This is an issue I’ve brought up many times and also at the Commander’s conferences,” she said.
An investigation report submitted to the Correctional Service Commissioner’s Office in 2015, following two successive mass jailbreaks, highlighted the problems raised again today.
The key factors that contributed to the breakouts have still not been addressed.