SOPs were followed says Director of Prisons, Gladwin Samuels

DPI, GUYANA, July, 10, 2017

Director of Prisons, Gladwin Samuels said that the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) were activated at the Georgetown Prisons as the events unfolded.  Samuels added that at 16:45 hours, he received two phone calls that there was a fire at the prison. It was also reported that a prison officer was taken hostage and there were reports of gun shots being fired.

The sections which are referred to as the ‘wooden prison’ at the corner of the Durban and John Street, and Prison Chapel at the corner of Bent and John Street, were on fire. The incident started at the two locations simultaneously.

Samuels said that from “his perspective the two wooden buildings were completely gutted and prison sports club that was been used as a holding area was set on fire and destroyed”.

At the Press conference, the Director of Prisons, said that all prisoners from the Georgetown Prisons have been transferred to safe location. He noted that all procedures were followed after the disturbance erupted at the location.  Samuels said that up to the time of the Press Conference, the last group of 40 prisoners was being transported to the Lusignan Prison.

“The Fire Service was there but the fire quickly spread to other buildings, which the assistance of other agencies, we immediately activated the Evacuation Procedure whereby the brought prisoners to a safe area outside, all of the prisoners that they have access to and that were readily available”.

Samuels highlighted that on Sunday morning prison officers accounted for 1,018 prisoners.

Samuels stated, “As we speak a joint and entire search of the facility was being conducted to ensure that all persons have been removed from the prison.” He added that he has not received any reports of any prisoners dying.

Six prison officers were taken to the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC). One prison warden, Odinga Wickham, succumbed to gunshot wounds, two are in critical condition and three are stable.

Samuels pointed out that the fire was a distraction so that Uree Varswyk also known as Malcolm Gordon and Mark Royden Durant known as Royden Williams could escape, these two prisoners are still at large and the Guyana Police Force have issued wanted bulletins for the prisoners still at large on the run.

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