The Prison Services are alert; there is no need for any major concern or fears by the citizenry regarding the current hole in the prison fence assures Welton Trotz, Head of the Guyana Prison Service.
Yesterday, he confirmed that the entire ablution area for the Capital Block collapsed around 19:20 hrs on Thursday evening at the south eastern section of the Camp Street prison, creating a gaping opening in the structure.
Trotz said that the concrete structure fell as a result of water seepage that undermined the foundation of the structure, and it gave way landing on the roof of one of two kitchens in the compound. “It’s an old foundation that may have been weakened by water seepage.”
Trotz noted, too, that some major emergency works is to be done by a contractor of repute to fix the fence. As such, he and several contractors were at the location up to yesterday afternoon.
Quelling fears over security in the city as the gaping hole remains in the fence, Trotz assured that in addition to Prison Services ranks, support is being provided by the Guyana Police Force in the form of static and other patrols around the Camp Street Prison.
Following the fall of the ablution area on Thursday evening, Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson, and a team visited the lot 12 Camp Street Prison location for a firsthand look, and to assess the damage with a view to having it fixed in the fastest possible time.
“We are trying to work out the area to effect repairs but we have not decided when repairs will begin. In the meantime, we have put in some temporary works to secure the section of the building that was left exposed following the unfortunate unfolding.”
Those temporary works include boarding up the three sections left exposed to the elements with zinc sheets, following the fall of the concrete structure.
At the time of the collapse the prisoners were already on lock down and as such, no one was injured but the roof of one of the two kitchens at the location was destroyed.
Even with the hole in the fence, Trotz said that “prisoners will be allowed in the yard but under supervision and control.”
Residents in the immediate environs of the Camp Street Prison on D’Urban Street were sent scurrying for safety after what they describe as a scary experience that reminded them of the 2002 jail break.
As armed and plainclothes ranks from the prison service and the Guyana police force stood guard, prisoners from their cells sang aloud, “London Bridge is falling down, al-you gonna let we out now!”
One witness who lives opposite the fence of the prison on Durban Street while recounting the experience said, “When the thing fall the whole place shake up and everybody scatter because the jail men start hollering for freedom”.
Describing the experience one woman from lot 13 Durban Street said “I thought was earthquake and the prisoners started shouting freedom at last… seriously the whole place started to shake up.”
Another resident, Deon Frazer, said, “Me whole house vibrate and I am the third house in the yard. I think the prisoners were getting away, so when I hear the noise I called me children inside and I make dem lock up cause I didn’t want no prisoner run in by me.” He said he has been a neighbour to the prison since in the 1990s, and Arlene Meyers another neighbour said, “It leaning a little while now.”
However, Trotz dubbed it as possibly an over exaggeration on the residents’ part.
Meanwhile, the Guyana Prison Service is set to observe its 32nd anniversary with much pomp and ceremony starting Sunday with church services at all prison locations nationwide.
The week of observances will include various activities with the communities in which Prisons’ are located.
Next Thursday a route march is planned to take off from the 1763 Monument then proceed along Brickdam. Minister of Securities, Khemraj Ramjatan will take the salute at the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Several outstanding ranks will be awarded and recognized. Next Friday a Health fair will be held outside the Camp Street prison square in collaboration with the ministry of health.
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