A new 300-cell male prison has been proposed for the Bluff of Cayman Brac the Caymanian Compass has learned in an exclusive interview with the project’s coordinator.
Although he said he had to remain anonymous at this time, the project manager, who is a prominent architect who recently received Queen’s Honours, said the plan is the result of a non-partisan initiative to deal with many of the country’s problems with a single action.
‘The project committee was made up of members of every political persuasion, who put aside their differences for the good of the country,’ the architect said. ‘They gave selflessly of themselves during many secret meetings that went well into the night.’
The Cayman Brac Prison will be partially funded by accepting inmates from other jurisdictions.
Jamaica and the Bahamas have both agreed in principle with paying the Cayman Islands Government to have inmates convicted of white-collar crimes in their countries incarcerated here, the architect indicated.
The prison will set a new standard in the Caribbean.
‘The design of the facility will rely heavily on the most modern centres of incarceration, but with a definite thrust toward rehabilitation and an emphasis on returning useful citizens committed to the rule of law,’ the architect said.
‘While the inmates are being punished, they will be educated to the ways of society.’
The new prison will feature a farm and a farmer’s market, where prisoners can learn various vocations, from farming to distribution to retail marketing, the architect indicated.
‘The prisoners will learn a vocation and the residents of Cayman Brac will benefit from having a steady supply of fresh produce at attractive prices,’ said the architect. ‘It will also be a source of income for Government.’
The prison will create many spin-off benefits for Cayman Brac, including a more vibrant economy as a result of additional residents that will have to staff the prison.
It is also envisioned that a magistrate’s court will eventually be built in Cayman Brac.
‘There will be lots of crumbs that fall of the table from this,’ said the architect.
Grand Cayman will also benefit from the Cayman Brac Prison.
Under the plan, Northward Prison would be converted to a segregated female and juvenile offender facility.
Part of the juvenile facility would be made into a vocational training centre, with an emphasis on auto mechanics.
All government vehicles would then be serviced at the new facility by inmates.
‘They learn a trade and the Government gets value for money in exchange for costs of their incarceration,” said the architect.
The benefits do not stop there.
Fairbanks prison will be closed and demolished. The expensive marl used to fill the site will be removed and sold to help defray Hurricane Ivan restoration costs.
Once the fill that was put there is removed, excavation could continue.
‘We’re currently conducting studies to see if that site could then be used as a landfill, with the idea that we would fill downwards rather than upwards,’ said the architect. ‘This concept has been used successfully in other jurisdictions, and with the proper environmental safeguards, could be used here, too.’
The architect said he was unsure when the Government would formally announce the project.
‘My suspicion would be on April Fool’s Day next year,’ he said.