Kolbe’s prison contract up for review – 2011 audit ongoing
The Kolbe Foundation, an organization founded by Rotarians in Belize, has been managing the Belize Central Prison since 2002. Minister of National Security John Saldivar told Amandala on Thursday that the Kolbe contract with the Government of Belize is up for review and they will soon be undertaking a comprehensive exercise, to review both the terms and conditions of the contract, and the prison regulations.
Kolbe chairman John Woods told us Friday that the contract expires in August this year, but he said he could not supply us with specifics.
He referred us to prison CEO Earl Jones, who confirmed that the contract period closes on July 31, 2012.
CEO Jones told us, “We submitted a report card to the ministry of what we had achieved over the past [5 years] and the fulfillment of our contractual agreement.”
He said that this was submitted just before the 2012 elections.
“We are awaiting the minister’s response as to whether they are going ahead with the renewal of the contract or whether they will be asking for additional information,” Jones added.
He also informed us that there is an ongoing audit being done by Marion Usher, CPA, for the year 2011.
The first Kolbe contract spanned 2002-2007, and the existing contract 2007-2012. In the 2011-2012 budget, the Government of Belize allocated $7.2 million for prison services provided by Kolbe, almost equivalent to the amount budgeted the year before.
CEO Jones said that what government actually pays Kolbe depends on the head count: $13.50 a day per inmate.
The prison population, said Jones, is 1292 – the lowest since 2007/2008. There are just over 300 people on remand, 150 of them for murder, he added.
The per-inmate allocation, said Jones, should cover food, welfare of the inmate, providing of officers and some capital expenses, rehab services, and general admin costs.
The prison has 246 staff, and 180 are security officers, he explained.
Jones said that he has been in communication with the offices of the Chief Magistrate and Chief Justice, informing them of the inmates who have been on remand for extended periods, as far back as 2005-2006, which, he stressed, is a breach of their constitutional right to get a trial within reasonable time.
The number of inmates on remand has been cut down by about 100 since last year, Jones noted, adding that last year, nonetheless, saw more convictions. The Reporter