Technical heads meet to chart a way forward on prison issue – Min. Harmon

─ efforts being made to prevent repeat of unrest/prison escape

─ “clear directions to address any operational issues, on-site” given to acting director of prisons

─ Lusignan and Timehri were designed to be temporary holding facilities and not “Hard/Strengthened Prisons”

─ higher levels of security and supervision by more Joint Services ranks, and increased electronic monitoring and surveillance among others to be implement

DPI, Guyana, Friday, October 19, 2018

The Cabinet has been briefed, following the recent prison escape and unrest at the Lusignan Prison’s Holding Bay.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon today said his Cabinet colleague Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan is also meeting with a technical team of former prison officials, and security stakeholders to chart a way forward. This will aid efforts to prevent a repeat of similar occurrences.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon

Minister Harmon, during his post-Cabinet Press briefing at the Ministry of the Presidency today, added that the Director of Prisons (ag), Gladwin Samuels was given “clear directions to address any operational issues, on-site”.

These operational issues or challenges include addressing the provision of an adequate supply of water, washroom facilities and the overall treatment of prisoners by ranks stationed at the various prison locations. Several strategic measures will also be implemented, the State Minister noted. These include higher levels of security and supervision by more Joint Services ranks, and increased electronic monitoring and surveillance.

Minister Harmon reiterated that the prisons at Lusignan and Timehri were designed to be temporary holding facilities and not “Hard/Strengthened Prisons”. The Mazaruni and Camp Street Prisons are currently being rehabilitated; when complete, inmates will be relocated to ease overcrowding at other facilities.

Since the last two jailbreaks from the Camp Street Prison and from Lusignan Holding Bay, the government has taken all necessary steps to recapture those who escaped. All escapees from the Camp Street prison break were either recaptured or killed. However, Cobena Stephens, also known as OJ, and Paul Goriah, who escaped from the Lusignan Holding Bay, remain on the run, taking the total to four now at large.

By: Paul Mc Adam

Images: Leon Leung

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