Recently, Public Security Minister and 3rd Vice President, Khemraj Ramjattan, said he may be out of options with regard to prison security. Such a statement has worrisome implications not just for the security of prisons, but potentially for the country as a whole. Under Mr Ramjattan’s watch, there were a number of prison riots, including one that led to a fire which killed seventeen inmates and another that completely destroyed the Camp Street penitentiary.Just a few weeks ago, there was yet another at the Lusignan Prison, which led to the escape of a few inmates while eight others were later shot. Any prison uprising is cause for concern, and the plethora of such incidents since Mr Ramjattan’s tenure as Security Minister may very well be the most for any similar length of time compared to his predecessors.That lends itself for national concern and for the immediate implementation of necessary corrective measures. Equally worrying is the minister’s pronouncement that nothing much can be done at this time pertaining to the situation at Lusignan. He cited that request for funding for construction of prisons was rejected. It naturally begs the question: what happens from now and until something can actually be done?With the ongoing spate of crime, his comments, even though they may be factual, offer little or no comfort to those who continue to suffer at the hands of bandits. Recently, the Police announced that incidents of rape and robberies have increased, which confirm the populace suspicions of crime increasing. Many are now helpless in the face of criminal onslaughts, with some being raped in the presence of family members.To say that such horrific incidents are humiliating and emotionally devastating would be a gross understatement. They can be seen as symptomatic of the failure to effectively address the growing crime situation. Some believe that there is a lack of concern over what some citizens are forced to endure. Also, concerns continue to grow over how deportees with criminal backgrounds are processed and integrated into society. Many fear that some may be involved, and have possibly brought a new dimension to the execution of crime.That said, if places of incarceration are not secured, it would not only have a disturbing impact on citizens, but it has potential to erode confidence and enthusiasm of those within law enforcement itself. In other words, motivation to pursue criminals could possibly wane if there is a belief that the confinement of prisoners can be regularly breached. The impact of the statement that nothing much can be done at this time at Lusignan cannot therefore be treated lightly.While there is no argument over the obvious challenges the Guyana Prison Service face with regard to the security of prisons, the Minister’s statement can be construed in some way as throwing in the towel, and a blow to morale, as options in his mind appear non-existent. While that may not be his thinking, it’s difficult not to point that out. No subject minister — and by extension no Government — can afford to give up on situations like that when people’s lives are at stake.No country, especially one that stands to potentially break new economic grounds, can afford to even convey such an impression. Alternative solutions must be robustly pursued; and while the harsh realities have to be conveyed to the citizenry, there must be a sense of real optimism and hope.Law enforcement agencies must be continually encouraged, and ways found to mitigate their challenges. This will help to boost confidence both in them and in residents. It was reported that St Kitts recently deployed forces from the Regional Security System, citing that criminal activities threaten to derail the country’s advancement, human development and economic progress. While this does not suggest that be implemented here, it shows the acceptance of the gravity of the situation and a willingness to explore alternative measures to safeguard people.The Government that Mr Ramjattan represents, in the 2015 campaign, convinced the populace of its prowess for national security, including combating crime. What transpired since has caused many to question that promise of comfort in some security-related matters. Given the accusations they levelled against the previous administration, some are convinced that things have now gotten worse.For one: the main prison has been destroyed by fire, and a similar attempt was made on another, which now seems prone to unrest and escape. Secondly: there are daily reports of criminal activities, some with fatalities on the part of the victims. It’s a constant barrage on people’s mindset, as criminals operate with impunity, executing brazen robberies from which no law-abiding citizen feels a sense of insulation.This has a telling impact on all, as fear builds and hovers. Naturally, it is also counterproductive to development, as investors are more concerned with a crime-free or low-crime environment. This is where a vision for both short-term and long-term solutions becomes imperative. The longer this takes, the more fear and despondency would grow. This is what the Honourable Minister needs to fully understand, if he does not.