Last tragedy at Camp Street Prison

first_imgIt was Karl Marx who remarked that history repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce: in the sense of the second iteration being a caricature of the first. More than a year after 17 inmates of the Camp Street Prison were killed and eight injured when they were trapped when the Capital Offences building was set ablaze, history repeated itself when another fire set by inmates on Sunday just razed the entire complex. While the reports are still incomplete, one prison guard was killed by inmates, six others had to be treated at the Georgetown Public Hospital along with two prisoners. Six prisoners escaped in the confusion.Following the tragedy of March 3, 2016, a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) had been constituted to enquire into the causes of the fire and more pertinently to make recommendations to rectify identified deficiencies that would have been contributing factors. One primary proximate cause was deep resentment and anger among many inmates at the inordinate length of time they were kept in remand. Structurally, however, the severe overcrowding at the facility combined with an extraordinarily high prisoner to guard ratio created a keg that was always on the brink of exploding.The 132-year-old prison then incarcerated 979 prisoners, even though it was built for 544 on specifications that made conditions extremely cramped based on modern prison norms. The ratio of prison officers to prisoners last year was 10 prison officers to 1000 prisoners; an extremely untenable ratio. In handing over the report in June 2016, the Chairman of the CoI Justice (rtd) James Patterson emphasised, “We would want it to be considered as urgent the improvement of physical and social facilities. We were concerned with the overcrowding.”The high number of prisoners on remand – 258 out of the 979 on March 3, 2016 – more than one-quarter – was also highlighted as a major problem since these individuals would have developed deep resentment to being imprisoned for years before their cases were brought to trial.But the Chairman of the CoI made some pointed remarks when handing over the Report that are most pertinent in the present since some may say, “hindsight is 20/20”. He said presciently, “The major challenge is not only identifying the steps that should be taken to avoid repetition of the tragic events… but also to recommend how to ensure that political support for implementation of recommendations does not wane when the issue disappears from the front page of newspapers.”The Report pointed out that over the past two decades, a stream of reports had been produced from commissions, committees, inquiries and expert consultants – all making identical recommendations for the upgrade of the prisons – but nothing had been done. Obviously fearing the same fate awaited his CoI’s Report, Justice Patterson said resignedly, “When we put forward our recommendations, our job is finished. What they do with them is a matter for them… but our concern is that our concerns are urgent, immediate and we want it done like yesterday.”At the time, the President insisted, “We have a good idea what needs to be done. We are gonna be strengthening Mazaruni and we are going to be continuing the process of redeploying prisoners from Georgetown to Mazaruni but the infrastructure at Mazaruni has to be improved.” However, even though the Government claimed that $2.2 billion would be spent to expand Mazaruni, and $369 million of that was supposed to be spent in 2017, it was not until the end of April 2017 that Cabinet approved the allocation of $58.5 million to “expand and rehabilitate” the Mazuruni Prison and contracts were signed with two contractors. No prisoner has been transferred out of the Camp Street Prison and in fact, the prison population increased since last March to 1018. This lassitude in implementing the recommendations of the CoI has to be seen as the ultimate cause of the last tragedy of Camp Street Prison. It must be rectified.tragedy of Camp Street Prison. It must be rectified.last_img read more

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Touchdown! Let’s order a pizza!

first_img Papa John’s has been promoting its online ordering, which enabled football fans to post pizza orders days or even weeks before the big game. “That lets them get one part of their party planning out of the way,” Papa John’s spokesman Chris Sternberg said. Louisville-based Papa John’s International expects to sell more than 600,000 pizzas on game day at its 2,600 U.S. restaurants, Sternberg said. It’s the chain’s biggest day of the year, with sales up about 50 percent from a typical Sunday, he said. Pizza deliverers log more miles – and more tips – on Super Bowl Sunday. “The traffic is very light,” said Dana Harville, spokeswoman for Domino’s Pizza. “And people are feeling generous with tips,” especially if their team is winning. Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Domino’s predicts sales of 1.5 million to 1.6 million pizzas at its 5,000 U.S. stores on game day, up 36 percent over a normal Sunday, she said. For Domino’s, it’s one of the year’s top sales days, along with Halloween, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and Thanksgiving Eve, she said. Pizza Hut, part of Louisville-based Yum Brands Inc., expects to sell millions of pizzas on game day – its busiest day of the year – at its nearly 6,600 U.S. restaurants. For pizza makers, preparations start days before kickoff. Pizza restaurants beef up their game-day work force, and Domino’s even enlists some former employees to help crank out pies. “Everyone on the payroll is there on Super Bowl Sunday working,” Harville said. Domino’s isn’t offering a Super Bowl deal but has been pitching its offer of three medium pizzas with one topping each for $5 apiece. “When you’re expecting a crowd to come watch the game with you, that’s a great way to give everybody a pizza of their choice,” Harville said. Pepperoni is typically the favorite topping, followed by sausage. A lot depends on teamwork and execution to keep pace with demand, said Ferguson, who owns two Papa John’s stores and is an area supervisor for a 49-store franchise in Florida. “It can be crazy but a lot of fun,” Ferguson said. “If the restaurant has not planned well or has some staffing woes, it can be treacherous. When it’s executed well, it’s one of the most fun nights we can have.” Pizza makers root for a close game because orders seem to mount, Harville said. People’s appetites especially drop off in the losing city of a lopsided score, she said. Papa John’s is trying to add to the suspense with its “Go Deep Challenge.” If either team breaks the record for the longest touchdown pass in Super Bowl history, Papa John’s will give a free large pan pepperoni pizza to anyone registering in advance on the company’s Web site. As of Tuesday, the online registrations for the contest totaled 189,023, he said. And just like on the playing field after the game, there’s plenty of celebrating in a pizza restaurant once all the orders have been filled. “Everyone is hollering and high-fiving,” Ferguson said. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card The National Restaurant Association estimates that about one out of seven Americans order takeout or delivery food from a restaurant for Super Bowl gatherings at home. Fifty-eight percent order pizza, 50 percent request chicken wings and 20 percent choose subs or sandwiches, it said. Another one in 20 Americans watches the game at restaurants or bars. “Super Bowl is a huge day for our business,” said Papa John’s president and chief executive officer Nigel Travis. Some pizza makers time menu introductions around the Super Bowl. “Pizza Hut always goes big for the big game with a new product launch,” said Tom James, chief marketing officer for the nation’s largest pizza chain. This year, Pizza Hut rolled out Cheesy Bites Pizza, featuring cheese-filled bites that form the perimeter of a large pizza. The chain is pitching the new product with pre-kickoff Super Bowl ads featuring singer Jessica Simpson. LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Forget about which Super Bowl XL team to root for. The biggest game-day decision for many armchair quarterbacks is deep dish or thin crust. On a day when pigskin partying hits its peak, Super Bowl Sunday has become a bonanza for the $37 billion pizza industry. Competition is intense, the pace frantic, both among the large chains and the neighborhood pizza joints that still make up a large part of the market. “When the rush comes, you get a rush,” said Bill Ferguson, a Papa John’s franchisee executive in Florida who rolls up his sleeves on game day to cook pies. “Your adrenaline gets pumped up.” Munching pizza is as much a Super Bowl staple as the glitzy halftime show and pregame hype, ranking it as the busiest – or among the busiest – days of the year for pizza makers. last_img read more

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