~ Project to last 5 years ~
PHILIPSBURG--Government is considering a proposal by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) to build a prison to replace the outdated and run-down Pointe Blanche prison, Justice Minister Anna Richardson told Members of Parliament (MPs) on Monday.
Richardson made the announcement during a meeting of Parliament’s Justice Committee in which she updated MPs on her ministry’s activities for the year.
UNOPS has been tagged as a potential partner to construct a new prison for at least five months, having first held a meeting with Richardson on July 6. UNOPS is an operational arm of the United Nations (UN) that implements projects on its behalf, as well as for international financial institutions and governments.
Richardson later met with UNOPS representatives in September and discussed the potential project, which is to include demolishing the existing prison, securing inmates in a temporary facility, and constructing a new prison with increased capacity.
UNOPS submitted the proposal on November 23, and it was shared with the Dutch government, which has allocated some 30 million euros for the project via the yet-to-be-realised Caribbean Entity for Reform and Development COHO.
Richardson told MPs that the project will be done in two phases. The first will last some 13 months, while the final phase will take four years. She did not disclose what each of these phases may entail.
In the meantime, construction company LICCOM will conduct upgrade works at the Pointe Blanche prison starting in early January 2021, said Richardson. These will include installing glass panels, steel doors, and a new locking system.