Prison Officers at the Westgate Correctional Facility staged a sit out today, when they downed tools around mid-morning, in what is being touted as a protest against a host of ongoing issues, including the fact that they have been working without a new contract for the past eight years.

As a result of today’s protest action, the maximum security prison has been placed on lockdown, with inmates confined to their cells and no outside activity for the duration of the protest.

Commissioner of Corrections Edward Lambe is currently on leave. Bermuda Real spoke with the Acting Commissioner Kenneth Cann, who was leaving headquarters in Hamilton to go to the west end facility shortly after 2pm. He stated that a full statement will be released via the Ministry of National Security later today.

He confirmed that the prison was on lockdown, and that the protest action is confined to Westgate at this stage. He was not in a position to comment on reports first published by TNN that staff morale is very low right, and that officers were being over worked due to a staff shortage, which is causing health issues.

Those issues, may or may not be addressed in the Ministry statement due to be released at some point later today. We’ll have more details as they become available.