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Renovations near St. Maarten prison kitchen provoke inmate hunger strike

THURSDAY, 07 NOVEMBER 2013

POINTE BLANCHE–The Daily Herald was contacted last night by a family member of a detainee at the Pointe Blanche prison who says ten inmates of the prison have gone on a hunger strike in protest of what they call “inhumane treatment.”

The inmates allegedly have been complaining to management that their daily meals are being prepared inside a construction site, as the kitchen area is located in the part of the prison where construction work currently is taking place.

The complaint apparently was brought to the attention of Prison Director Edward Rohan, but the source said the complaint had been ignored and that inmates were now calling on the health department to have this matter investigated.

According to the source, the inmates started their hunger strike on Tuesday. November 5, and are refusing any meals or drinks prepared by the prison kitchen, due to the ongoing renovation work.

Rohan denied having been made aware of a hunger strike. He said a block supervisor had contacted him Wednesday to say that a prisoner had complained to him about the state of the kitchen and this particular detainee had said he had not eaten for two days because of the ongoing construction work. The detainee further said the other prisoners in his section were going to refuse to eat food from the kitchen.

As a result of this, two block supervisors inspected the kitchen and Rohan spoke to the prison chef. All three confirmed that the kitchen was clean. Rohan confirmed that construction currently was ongoing to improve the facility to meet better the needs of the inmates.

Minister of Justice Dennis Richardson has been made aware of the allegation and is sending someone to the prison today to liaise with Rohan and to investigate the allegations made.

Source: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten

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