With a new law to govern the local prison now before the House of Assembly, some legislators have used to opportunity to raise the issue of whether the prison portfolio should remain under the Ministry of Education.
One such legislator was Julian Fraser, who said he has never been in support of the portfolio being under the education ministry.
But, despite his personal feelings, Fraser said he believes it has become important for the prison portfolio to be relocated given the current state of education.
He said keeping the responsibilities for prison under the current ministry will distract from the work that is needed to restore the hurricane-ravaged education sector.
“If there was ever a time when the Premier of this country should have re-examined that position that he took or met where the prison is under the Ministry of Education & Culture, it’s now. I think that the Minister for Education & Culture (Myron Walwyn) … should devote all his time to education given the state of our education system right now; vis-à-vis the physical structure of our school,” Fraser said.
Why is minister sharing prison responsibility with governor?
He further argued that he does not support the idea that the prison portfolio is jointly shared between the governor and a government minister.
He said the governor should either have full responsibility for the prison or none at all.
Government legislator Alvera Maduro-Caines also said she believes the prison portfolio should be shifted to another ministry.
She, however, noted that her views have nothing to do with how the prison is being managed now.
“I guess the premier has his views why it was put under the Ministry of Education, which I have no problem with … As long as the issues in the prison are being sorted out, I don’t have an issue with which ministry it should be under. But, my preference: I thought that it would be better under [the Ministry of] Health. Minister of Education; not that you’re not doing a good job,” she said.
In responding to the arguments, portfolio minister Walwyn said shifting prison responsibilities to another ministry is entirely a matter for Premier Dr D Orlando Smith to decide.
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