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Westgate kitchen closes after ceiling collapses

Request for proposal: Minister of National Security Wayne Caines (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The closure of the kitchen at Westgate prison because of a collapsed ceiling caused by water damage was “regrettable”, the national security minister said yesterday.

Wayne Caines said that a team from works and engineering had been to the prison to fix the ruptured pipe that had caused the damage.

He added: “Now we are getting contractors.”

Mr Caines said that a request for proposal would be issued for repair work to the ceiling and that Westgate was “an old building”.

He added that the ceiling problem would be dealt with on an “aggressive basis”.

Mr Caines said: “We will make sure to get somebody in the not-too-distant future to replace it.”

A spokesman for the Department of Corrections said on Sunday night that the kitchen had been closed since last Friday. He added that prisoner meals had been prepared at the Co-Ed Facility in St George’s and that the Royal Bermuda Regiment had offered its kitchens to help out as well.

The spokesman said that damage assessment in the kitchen would be carried out “in the next few days”.

He added: “Following this, we will have a realistic timeline for restoring the kitchen to normal operational levels.”

The spokesman also said yesterday that the prison service’s main telephone lines were down because of technical problems.

Mr Caines said: “Unfortunately, with the telephone system going down and the roof going in it seems like all these forces are converging against the work we are doing.

“Sometimes you have difficult sets of circumstances.”

But he added: “It’s our responsibility to keep working through them.”