News

Panic system to be installed at Supreme Court

PAUL HENRY Co-ordinator — Crime/Court Desk henryp@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, February 02, 2013    

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THE Supreme Court is to be outfitted with a panic system to alert staff members in the event of disturbances at downtown Kingston building.

According to several persons present at a general staff meeting on the building Tuesday, Chief Justice Zaila McCalla gave the directive for the system to be installed.

The reported directive came a day after an incident at the holding area on the ground floor of the building that saw police officers clashing with inmates who had attempted an escape when their cell was opened. A police officer was injured and the police used pepper spray during the scuffle that irritated the eyes and skin of workers on the building.

However, following the incident, many office workers complained that they were not aware of the incident as they were in their respective offices. Some only heard about the incident on the news.

One worker told the Jamaica Observer that , oblivious to all that was happening, she walked downstairs just as the chemical substance was being released. Her eyes burnt and welts broke out on her skin, she said.

"There was no alarm to say something was happening," complained the worker. "It's the same way I could have gone down there and the men disarm the police and hold me hostage."

According to those present at the meeting that the Observer spoke with, the chief justice said she has already spoken to the police high command about the matter and had instructed court's head of human resource to get moving on procuring the warning system put in place.

Additionally, emergency drills will also be held for the workers.

"All we can do now is see how long HR is going to take," a worker said.

"The building is too huge and too many high-risk inmates come here for there not to be a warning system to inform the staff of [disturbances]," another staff added.

Meanwhile, other workers are calling for the installation of fire alarms on the building.

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