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Fairbanks Custody Suites

Ground was broken on proposed Custody Suites near Fairbanks Women’s Prison on Thursday, 26 September, 2013. Participating were, from left, Mr. Jason Ryder of Eagle Construction, which is building the units; Deputy Chief Officer and Project Manager Wesley Howell; Attorney General Hon. Sam Bulgin; Deputy Governor Hon. Franz Manderson; Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin; Chief Officer Eric Bush; and Commissioner of Police David Baines. Photo: Tammie C. Chisholm

We have known for a long time that those cells aren’t fit for human habitation

—Hon. Alden McLaughlin

GRAND CAYMAN, Cayman Islands - Ground was broken Thursday, 26 September, near Fairbanks Women’s Prison for the construction of Custody Suites to replace the condemned holding cells at the George Town Police Station.

The suites will house up to 24 individuals with the first units coming online in November 2013 and completion of Phase One slated for January 2014.

“We have known for a long time that those cells aren’t fit for human habitation, but previous governments haven’t been able to find the necessary funding to make needed improvements,” said Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin. “This Government is now fixing the problem.”

Eagle Construction, a company with several years of experience in designing and delivering high quality secure detention facilities, was chosen through Central Tenders to build, deliver and install these Modular Custody Facilities. Eagle is able to meet a tight budget and time constraints.

The cost of the development is $2.1 million; however, half of the project was allocated for payment in last year’s budget and the other half is in the upcoming budget.

The Fairbanks site was chosen because of its availability. Cistern and septic systems already exist, as this was the area where Caymanians lived in FEMA trailers following 2004’s Hurricane Ivan.

“We chose the Fairbanks site because it was the most appropriate area with the relevant zoning already in place,” said Mr. McLaughlin. “So there was no need to purchase any additional land…we were using existing resources to improve our estate for temporary incarceration.”

Completion of the Custody Suites will make the Cayman Islands compliant with Section 6 (1) of the Bill of Rights, which states that “All persons deprived of their liberty have the right to be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person”.

Government first acknowledged problems with the holding cells at the George Town Police Station in 2008 and Police Commissioner David Baines, when he took over his job here in June 2009, said the George Town lockup was inhumane.

The UK Prison Inspectors Report from last September stated: “The condition of the police custody suites at George Town and West Bay were extremely poor. We describe them as dirty, windowless, and hot. There were numerous safety issues and they were barely fit for human habitation. We were reassured that senior officers of police agreed with us, that they should be condemned and replaced as soon as possible.”

The new facility will be built so that there is a separation of male, female and juvenile prisoners. Each individual closed off cell has two bunks with an in-room toilet and sink, which makes them Human Rights compliant.

The facility is being constructed and will be shipped to Grand Cayman for assembly.

For further information contact: Tammie Chisholm - OTP