284 prisoners displaced due to fire at Lusignan

–All accounted for and relocated

DPI, Guyana, Monday, July 13, 2020

Following the fire at Lusignan Prison on Sunday, 284 prisoners have had to be relocated. This was disclosed by the Director of Prisons Gladwin Samuels during a press conference on Monday.

Samuels explained that the fire and riot began after an alert officer observed a prisoner with a parcel. The prisoner was then searched and the discovery of two parcels of cannabis, a bottle containing rum and a cellular phone was made.

The prisoner was then escorted to the office of the Officer in Charge where he was questioned. Happening simultaneously, was a confrontation between two other inmates. According to Samuels, it is alleged that one of the prisoners was assaulted by an officer.

The Prisons Director noted that this led to unease among the prisoners and as the Officer in Charge attempted to return the jail to normalcy, he was met with demands to return the parcel that was seized.

When the demands were not met, the prisoners began destroying the building which eventually led to the fire being set. Despite the efforts of the Guyana Fire Service who managed to contain the fire, all the buildings housing the prisoners were destroyed.

A section of the administrative building was saved.

“We saw the displacement of 284 prisoners. Our initial response was to segregate those prisoners we knew could not have gone into the holding bay, while the others were placed into the holding bay. As time progressed, we were able to transfer 27 of those prisoners to the Georgetown Prison; 51 to the Timehri Prison and as we speak, 50 prisoners are in transit to the Mazaruni Prison. This leaves an additional 156 prisoners who will have to be accommodated in the holding facility,” Samuels stated.

The Director also disclosed that several prisoners attempted to escape but their efforts were foiled due to the increased security that was on the ground and additional support from the Joint Services.

During yesterday’s ordeal, 11 prisoners received injuries but no deaths were recorded. The origin of the fire is currently being investigated and leads are being followed.

“Eight prisoners have been named and the police have been furnished with that information for further investigation,” Director Samuels stated.