Intensive manhunt underway as 13 more prisoners tunnel out of Lusignan, “we are in a total war”- Minister Ramjattan

DPI, Guyana, Monday, July 24, 2017

The Joint Services have intensified efforts to apprehend a total of seventeen prisoners, following the escape last evening of an additional 13, from the open holding area at the Lusignan Prison.

The 13 fugitives, burrowed their way out of the holding area via a 5 ft deep tunnel. The tunnel was disguised as a makeshift pit latrine, next to the fence. The escape tunnel exited approximately 5 ft away from the outer fence on the extreme northeast section of the facility.

According to the minister, arrangements are being intensified to remove the remaining 86 prisoners, from the afore mentioned holding area to the Brick Prison at Camp Street.

The other prisons at New Amsterdam, Timehri and Mazaruni are “saturated”, according to the Minister and he explained that the Brick Prison building at Camp Street has been sufficiently completed to house the prisoners.

It was noted that there are three levels of security, comprising Prison Service ranks responsible for the inner section, the Guyana Police Force next and the outer perimeter, secured by ranks of the Guyana Defense Force.  Minister Ramjattan, declined to apportion any blame at this time, as to who was directly responsible, saying, “later on there will be a time for that”. The focus, right now, he emphasized is on the need to apprehend those who are at large, and “every effort is being made to catch them.”

Guyana Police Force Commissioner ag. David Ramnarine stated that ranks are working on “double quick time”and  patrols and security checks have been further intensified particularly in the East Coast and East Bank Demerara corridors. He urged the public to cooperate, be patient and extra vigilant. Farmers in the backlands of the coast, Ramnarine added, needed to take extra precaution as they go about their business.

The difficulty of searching and sanitizing prisoners was highlighted by Director of Prisons Gladwin Samuels. He pointed out the difficulty of searching prisoners and the need to ensure the staff’s safety. Asked about the use of cellular phones by some inmates to access social media, Samuels said that 22 devices were discovered, during the first sanitation exercise and 27, the second time.

Mr. Samuels said that adequate security measures will be put in place at the Georgetown Prisons where the 86 prisoners have been relocated and the security at the Lusignan Prison will be further beefed up.

The officials sternly warned members of the public not to aid the fugitives and that anyone caught doing so will be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law. They urged citizens to report any suspicious activity to the police on telephone numbers 59256411, 2258196, 2252227, 2271149, 22260765 and 911.

 

By: Paul Mc Adam

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