by Arthur Hall
Kingston, Jamaica (Jamaica Observer) – THE Ministry of Health and the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) are facing strong criticisms following confirmation yesterday that an inmate of the South Camp Adult Correctional Facility has died from COVID-19.
But minister without portfolio in the Ministry of National Security Matthew Samuda, who has oversight responsibility for the DCS, has described the criticisms as incredulous and unfair.
“Allow me to extend condolences to the family and friends of the inmate who has passed. But to be clear, she would not fit into the category that anyone would have called for release. She was serving either year one or year two of a 17-year sentence for causing grievous bodily harm,” said Samuda.
“The facts are that so far the DCS has managed the COVID pandemic very well. The fact is that we have stuck with all the guidelines issued by the international health agencies and we have been constantly reviewed by the Ministry of Health.
“The infections, the rate of spread and even the death rate in our facilities has been much lower than many of our neighbours in Central and North America. We continue to stick to the protocols and we meet every Thursday morning to look at resources and ensure that they are deployed to bring about the best results and we ensure that we stick to our responsibility and our duty of care,” added Samuda.
He noted that Jamaica is facing the community spread of the virus and argued that correctional facilities are not immune to what is happening in the rest of Jamaica.