Tighter security planned for Westgate
A “no-go zone” will be implemented off the shoreline by Westgate, as part of tighter security measures planned for the facility.
Public Safety Minister Michael Dunkley said the moves were in response to a prisoner’s recent break from a cell.
For the first time, maritime traffic will be restricted from a marked but as-yet unspecified distance from the jail.
Added screening will be installed on cell windows, Mr Dunkley told MPs yesterday — calling the Bermuda Day breakout “a timely reminder of the importance of security checks”.
He added that the break hadn’t been intended for escape — but was an attempt to obtain “contraband that had been thrown over into the prison facility”.
Officers were investigating the escape and making recommendations to ensure it didn’t happen again, Mr Dunkley said.
“To minimise the risk of contraband being thrown over the walls, we will work with the Bermuda Maritime Museum to restrict access to Casemates site,” Mr Dunkley said.
Government is also examining its budget to seek funding for extra cameras.
Meanwhile, Westgate’s perimeter fence has been checked, and weak areas repaired.
“Regular searches and tests of cell integrity are performed to ensure that from shift to shift any and all issues are properly identified,” Mr Dunkley told the House of Assembly.
Shadow Public Safety Minister Marc Daniels commended the moves, but added: “Of course, the challenge in all of these measures is securing the available funds to put such measures into practice.
“This may prove to be lip service when once reviews the Government’s Budget which has cut Westgate’s allocated funds by some $335,000.”
Senator Daniels called for further measures to ensure that “items do not get smuggled into the prison via staff, visitors, lawyers, doctors, tradesmen, and inmates on day release”.
The maritime no-go zone should also be backed up with “enforceable measures such as high-powered cameras that can monitor traffic at night, as well as during the day, and the means to pursue any would-be offenders caught on such cameras while trying to breach the prison’s security”, Sen Daniels added.
The Shadow Minister said he hoped funding for the measures wouldn’t derive from “other social programmes that the Government has already indicated would be cut”.