There were some viral photos that circulated online about the state of the holding cell, commonly known as the piss house at the Queen Street Police Station. Even from a distance, the stench emanating from the cell is repugnant. However, the deplorable state of the cell and its toilet will be addressed. Commissioner of Police Williams said that the Human Rights Commission has also contacted him about the facility.
Commissioner of Police Chester Williams: “I will first and foremost commend the Human Rights Association Mr. Kevin Arthurs. He had called me yesterday and I had explained to him what our position is in the sense that I had been aware of the matter and have since directed that a contractor be brought in to look at the situation and see what we can do to enhance it. It is a very funny situation in the sense that that area was recently repaired not too long ago and from then to now to see the state that it is in. It makes me wonder and as what someone said it is not the Police who has it like that and you will find that many of times that detainees are detained they are the ones who damage those facilities and so we need to try to find way how we can do it in such a way that it will prevent them from damaging it because I don’t think that tiles should be used in cell block because urine can go under the tiles and can create a stench. So we want to remove all the tiles and redo the bathroom issue and use some kind of paint or some kind of facing that we can use on the bare cement to be able to prevent water or urine from seeping into the cement foundation so will be a very costly venture and I think that if we do it that way we will get better results and it will last much longer and it will be a more healthier environment.
Commissioner Williams says another option is to move the bathroom from the detention cell area. He also hopes to form a partnership with any organization that is willing to help improve the facility for detained individuals.
Commissioner of Police Chester Williams: “The situation now is that instruction has been given that the place be cleaned and if you go to the constitution it tells you that even the prisoner has responsibility to clean his or her surroundings so when it comes to dealing with the issue of inhumane treatment and punishment and ensuring that the facility where the prisoner is being kept is clean it says that it does not include where the prisoner is allowed to clean his environment so the prisoners who are detained it is their responsibility to ensure that the environment in which they are detained is kept clean. That is something to be considered to put bunkers so that they may be able to use that to sleep on rather than on the ground but sometimes you would understand that we have excess prisoners and when we have excess prisoners then all of them will not be able to fit on the bunkers. But yes we will consider putting in bunkers so that they can sleep on rather than for them to be sleeping on the ground and I think that what we need them to do is that when we do use the bathroom facility and if we are going to have it inside the cell block I think that we need to have the bathroom area a little lower than the actual cell itself so that water from the bathroom does not run into where the sleeping area is. So that is another issue that we need to look at to make sure that we don’t have feces or urine from the bathroom running onto the sleeping area where the prisoners would normally sleep. It has to be a partnership and I am going to be partnering with the Human Rights Association. I think they have a great interest as well and rightfully so and I have said to Kevin yesterday that I want him and I to meet and in fact I invited him over today so that we can sit down and see where we can collaborate in areas where there is common interest and I think that ensuring that the prisoners in our custody are kept in a humane manner and that is of interest to both of us so we want to see where we can collaborate. I don’t want to have a relationship where myself and the Human Rights Association will be fighting over issues where I know that we can do better.
Williams says that he will write to the Ministry of Finance to have the area properly renovated. It is also the prisoners’ responsibility to keep the area clean.