Baisu inmates face starvation
Prisoners at the Baisu jail in Mt Hagen, Western Highlands Province, have been without food for the past five days.
The company contracted to supply food ration to the jail stopped its operation over non-payment of services by the Correctional Services (CS).
This was confirmed yesterday by the Baisu jail commander Timbi Kaugla. Mr Kaugla said the supplier discontinued its service on Friday, February 17, but the jail managed to use its own funds to buy food for the prisoners until Monday.
“We were able to cater for food for the prisoners last weekend but we fell short as of Monday and the prisoners have been without food,” he said. But a senior warder at Baisu, who requested anonymity, gave a different story, saying the prisoners, numbering more than 170, had been without food since the weekend.
“The prisoners were fed with biscuits at the weekend and some of us concerned officers decided to contribute money from our own pockets to go to the market and buy kaukau (sweet potato) for the prisoners,” the officer said.
He said the situation required immediate attention from the CS management. Several attempts to get comments from the Correctional Services Commissioner Michael Waipo since Monday were unsuccessful.
The Correctional Services media unit could not comment because it had not been briefed about the Baisu jail food shortage. Berry Maip, who is the managing director of Whisky Fresh Ltd which supplies food rations to the Baisu prison, said yesterday when contacted that he stopped the food supplies due to non-payment of his services.
“My company was not paid for three months – from December to February. How can I go on supplying rations when I am not paid for my services.” He said he needed funds to run his company operations and he could no longer sustain it when payments were not forthcoming.
“I did not receive any favourable response from the CS management about my concerns so I simply pulled out my services because I can no longer buy food with limited funds.
“The CS hierarchy should seriously look into the matter because it is their failure which is affecting me as the service provider as well as the prisoners at Baisu prison,” Mr Maip said.