$32,000 for ex-prisoner for garlic tea burns

AN ex-prisoner who was serving a 30-month sentence and was assigned to kitchen duties at the Port of Spain prison in 2019, will receive compensation from the State after he slipped on wet tiles and was burned when the pot of garlic tea he was carrying fell on him.

In an oral decision on Monday, Justice Frank Seepersad ordered the State to compensate Michael Pemberton in the sum of $32,000, or 80 per cent of the $40,000 claimed for contributory negligence since he knew there was water on the tiles and was wearing rubber slippers at the time he fell.

Seepersad said it must be understood that incarceration did not strip prisoners of their fundamental rights, nor did it remove the State’s obligation to keep them safe.

“Where prisoners are to engage in tasks or chores, the State must ensure there is in place a safe system of work.”

In his claim, Pemberton said he and another prisoner were on kitchen duty on March 15, 2019, and were carrying the hot pot of garlic tea to a table outside the kitchen when he slipped.

He said the pot of tea tilted in his direction and onto his hands and right foot. He dropped the pot.

He received severe burns which left scarring, his lawsuit said.