Apr 15, 2016 News
Members of the Commission of Inquiry, (COI) into the March 3, disturbance at the Camp Street Prison have launched an investigation into the latest riot at the prison.
The riot resulted in the death of 18 prisoners and left several others injured. But given the recent tension at the prison facility Commissioners tasked with investigating the March 3, disturbance has launched a new investigation.
The Guyana Police Force was ordered to assist Prison Officers in manning the Camp Street facility and the Guyana Defence Force to assist in guarding the outer cordons of its precincts.
Yesterday, armed ranks were patrolling the compound; the prisoners had retired to their cells and a semblance of order had returned to prison.
On Friday, 12 soldiers were seen guarding the four points of the prison, along with police. This continued yesterday.
An official close to the ongoing Commission has confirmed that due to the new developments at the State Penitentiary, the tribunal has launched a probe into the incident.
According to the official, these efforts are in keeping with the Commission’s mandate. The COI is expected to investigate, examine and report on the causes, circumstances and conditions that led to the disturbances on March 3, 2016, that resulted in the death of prisoners and any other subsequent disturbances at the Camp Street Prisons; the nature of all injuries sustained by the Prisoners, and any other subsequent disturbances.
On Thursday tension at the prison rose to another level, after some inmates allegedly gained access to the prison keys.
The prisoners were allowed to roam free in the jail yard. Forty-two prison officers have since sent in sick leave certificates in fear for their lives.
Since the deadly prison unrest in March, the committee heard that inmates have become brazen. They are exposing their weapons, while behaving much more aggressively toward prison wardens. Thus, the officers, being fearful for their lives, have decided to stay away
President David Granger had ordered that a COI be established following last month’s deadly riot.
The President appointed Justice James Patterson, Merle Mendonca and retired Director of Prisons, Dale Erskine as Commissioners to oversee the work.
According to the rules of procedure, the panel is expected to render its report, findings and recommendations to the Minister of Public Security.
Stakeholders whose views will be considered by the commission may include staff of the Prisons and their representative unions, members of the judiciary, prisoners accommodated within the Camp Street facility, functionaries in the Ministries of Public Health and Social Protection and any other stakeholder whose input would be deemed appropriate.
Following Thursday‘s incident, President Granger subsequently ordered security to be beefed up at the prison during an emergency meeting of the National Security Committee at the Ministry of Presidency.
He called for the police and the army to secure the jail.
The Head of State had instructed that the outer cordons of the prison be extended to include D’Urban, John and Bent Streets, which will be blocked off to the public except for persons residing within those areas, as is done on Camp Street.
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