“We are not out of the woods yet. We have a lot of work to do to recapture prisoners and maintain order” – Minister Ramjattan

DPI, Guyana, Monday, July 31, 2017

As intensified efforts of the Joint Services to apprehend the remaining four escapees from a total of seventeen prisoners, continue, Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan thanked ranks and members of the public for their assistance thus far.

Police Commissioner ag David Ramnarine, Minister and Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan and Director of Prisons Gladwin Samuels at the press conference today giving an update on the escaped prisoners and prison conditions.

During a press conference today, at his office, the minister said, “Members of the public have demonstrated bravery and a duty to society. The information has been treated with the strictest of confidence and, with four remaining fugitives on the run, I plead with the members of the public to continue their vigilance, and to report all information to the police.” The minister also pleaded with family members, associates and friends of those wanted, to turn them in, warning that anyone caught harbouring them would be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law.

The joint services remain vigilant at prison facilities in New Amsterdam, Timehri, Georgetown, Lusignan and Mazaruni, Minister Ramjattan added, to ensure that any other escape attempts are thwarted. He cautioned however that, “We are not out of the woods yet. We have a lot of work to do to catch the four, to maintain order in the institutions.” He reiterated that the other facilities remain saturated at this point in time, hence stepped up security. The minister also pledged to not rest until all of the remaining fugitives are captured, stating, “We will intensify the efforts. We are not going to let up until the last one is caught and in a sense, order and stability, and security is restored.”

Millions are being spent after a supplementary request was approved by the Parliament, to improve the holding facilities and accommodation for staffers at Camp Street. At least 85 prisoners have been transferred back to the secure Brick Prison, in Camp Street from Lusignan. Prefabricated buildings, to temporarily accommodate staff, will be set up over the coming week, for prison officers on duty.

It was revealed by the Director of Prisons Gladwin Samuels that one prisoner remains hospitalized in Georgetown. He was injured with a pellet lodged in bottom of his left eye and, despite his disruptive behavior, will be given specialist care. Two other prisoners injured on Saturday, during a melee at Lusignan Prison which resulted in 22 others being hurt, were treated and returned to custody at the East Coast, Demerara facility. Samuels also disclosed that three (3) improvised weapons were discovered during the incident.

The six prison officers injured during the July 9 fire and prison escape were visited, last Saturday, by senior officers, who spent over two and half hours with them. The prison director stated that critical information was revealed, “Many of those officers would have already given information to ranks of the Criminal Investigation Department and I’m quite sure the police will be acting on the information received.” He added that today, several other ranks who were on duty, were at the CID, giving statements about the events of July 9 whilst others will do so tomorrow.

Based on eyewitness accounts, Urie Varswyck was identified as the one who shot the late officer Odinga Wickham, and wounded his fellow officers Drexel Gonsalves, Jason Maltay, and Liverpool. Other eyewitnesses identified another escapee Shawn Collins since recaptured, and the still at large Royden Williams, as the persons who chopped Officer Hubert Trim.

The Joint Services remain hot in pursuit of the remaining four escapees, led by an “Intelligence apparatus that is alive and kicking”, the Police Commissioner ag. David Ramnarine stated. He also thanked the public for cooperating with the authorities along with the Fire Service for its logistical support.



By: Paul Mc Adam