Justice minister Nandi Glassie told media that the woman has been admitted into an intensive care unit but had now been transferred to a general ward.
Ministry of Justice secretary Tingika Elikana could not be contacted to verify the circumstances that led to the inmate being transferred to New Zealand, as he was on leave. Prison superintendent Henry Heather was also on leave yesterday.
CI News has been told the woman fell while in prison custody and was in a coma when flown to New Zealand under the care of a nurse and accompanied by a female prison guard.
The emergency medical transfer raised intense speculation that the female inmate had actually died in New Zealand.
Opposition coalition leader Rose Brown says she was contacted by several concerned people as there had been no official information released on facts surrounding the case. She wants to see the matter is being dealt with appropriately by the prison authorities and those concerned including the minister (Nandi Glassie) responsible.
“It is therefore important that any information conveyed, whether it be official or unofficial, is conveyed correctly.”
She says the recently published McDermott-Matapo Arorangi Prison review was “…quite damning and critical of the prison authorities and I want to be satisfied within myself and for those involved, that their interests are protected especially for the inmate, her family and the prison wardens.”
“On matters of public interest such as in this case in public facilities, I’m surprised the Minister of Justice has failed to respond responsibly and yet, when the shootings occurred, he was very quick off the mark and then all of a sudden, went silent.
“I hope that this is not going to be a repeat of that incident where government is seen to be protecting its own and responds only when it wants to instead of when it should.”
Brown added her sympathies lay with the inmate and her family and the distress this has caused.
“But simple communication, transparency and human sensitivity will go a long way to allaying people’s fears and suspicions when incidents of this nature occur.
“I hope the minister and his government will act responsibly and do the right thing, otherwise another backlash is imminent regarding those prison and health officials involved.”