Hundreds sign prison petition on debut day

By Elesha George, Antigua Observer,

Hundreds of residents have signed a petition to demand that the government shut down operations at the present location of Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) and relocate the facility to the former Pan Am Base in Coolidge.

Organiser of the prison protests, Jessica Thompson told OBSERVER media that the goal is to reach 10,000 people and up to press time the group was able to obtain more than 480 signatures on Thursday, November 7th, 2019, the launch date of the petition.

“This petition is for all concerned citizens in Antigua and Barbuda, especially the family members of all the inmates inside HMP on Coronation Road,” she shared.

The petition followed letters sent to state officials including the Governor General, the Prime Minister and the Superintendent of Prisons, requesting an immediate shutdown of the penal institution.

This same letter has been forwarded to international organisations like United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to bring greater awareness to the need for a better state prison.

Thompson believes that pressure from international agencies will help force the government to prioritise addressing the sordid conditions at 1735.