Jul 29, 2017 News
The political opposition submitted to the National Assembly, on Thursday, a motion to have full disclosure from the government. At issue are the Georgetown Prison Fire and other related developments.
The Opposition stressed that July 9, last, will go down in the country’s history as the day when the most devastating prison fire took place. It recalled that the fire destroyed over 80 percent of the Georgetown Camp Street Prison, saw eight prisoners escaping and led to the death of prison officer Odinga Wickham. Several other prison wardens were injured.
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) noted that the first official communication on July 9 took place after 10:30 p.m. on the National Communications Network (NCN). This featured heads of the Disciplined Forces, followed by a brief interview with Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan, and a pre-recorded interview of the President.
On July 24, last, the Opposition recalled that, by way of a public announcement, the nation became aware that 13 additional high risk prisoners escaped from the walled area of the Lusignan Prison Pasture. The party believes that this represented nothing but incompetence on the part of the government to address such events.
Despite many requests for the public release of the final report and recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into the March 2016 disturbance and resultant death of 17 prisoners, the Opposition stressed that the report remained a secret document.
It said that the public remains in the dark after the July 9 incident with more questions than answers as to what led to the jailbreak and fire, and how the government managed this situation as it unfolded, and its aftermath.
The PPP also reminded that the public was informed that many of their questions would be answered in the course of a Commission of Inquiry to be appointed by the President. However, on July 20, 2017 it was reported in the state media that there would be no Commission of Inquiry until the escapees were all captured.
“Given the Government’s behaviour in this regard, the Opposition believes that there is no other recourse than to have full disclosure in this National Assembly on genuine queries, which surround the entire issue.”
The Opposition wants the Government to tell the House why there is a discrepancy in the timeline of when the July 9 fire and jailbreak began. It also wants to know what time were the prisoners seen leaving and who made the sighting.
The PPP wants the Government to inform the National Assembly how the prisoners were able to access accelerants that started the fire and how soon a report from the Guyana Fire Service on this matter will be forthcoming.
Among its other questions, the Opposition wants the Government to explain how it plans to “immediately reduce the prison population” as stated by President David Granger.
The Opposition is also calling on the House to have the Government accept collective responsibility for these repeated events at the prisons of Guyana and give full disclosure with regard to the circumstances surrounding the most recent escapees of July 24.
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