…positive cases may be around 10- sources say
Inmates at the Lusignan Prison situated on the East Coast of Demerara, refused their meals and pelted officers, hours after learning that there were positive COVID-19 cases among them.
According to the Guyana Prison Service (GPS), a number of measures have been implemented to allay the fears of the prisoners, including the eventual establishment of another quarantine facility and testing of all the prisoners and staffers.
It was disclosed Tuesday that two prisoners tested positive.
However, sources told Kaieteur News that the number is about 10.
“The news of Coronavirus in the Lusignan Prison did create some amount of disturbance among the prisoners. They protested by refusing meals this morning, vociferously expressing their concern about the presence of the coronavirus in the prison, and by hurling bricks and other objects at members of the Joint Services,” a GPS statement revealed yesterday.
Prisoners also aggressively spoke about the need for speedier trials, and reduction and granting of bail for some categories of prisoners with minor offences.
“The Officer-in-Charge of the facility, Senior Superintendent (ag), Deoraj Gyandat, supported by members of the Prison Directorate, other senior staff of the GPS, Senior Superintendent Khali Parsaram, Regional Commander (4C), as well as other senior and junior ranks of the Joint services were able to calm the prisoners and reassured them that steps were being taken to appease their situation at the location,” the GPS statement added.
It was explained that the agitated prisoners were assured that in partnership with the Ministry of Health, testing will be done starting with persons who have been identified as contact persons to those who tested positive.
“Testing has commenced. Systematically, the rest of the prison population, including staff will be tested. The Ministry of Health has also come on board to aid with the daily sanitization of the facility, which will be done using chemicals prescribed by the Ministry of Health. This sanitization, which has commenced, will be done thrice daily. Another quarantine facility has been established so that persons who test positive for the coronavirus can be separated and treated away from the rest of the prison population.”
The Ministry of Health has also deployed a team of doctors and nurses to complement the medical team of the GPS. They are also going to facilitate further training of prison personnel so that greater efficiency can be achieved with the daily sanitization exercises.
“The Guyana Prison Service wishes to thank the prisoners for their cooperation, and the Service will continue to work with other agencies, especially the Judiciary, to address the overcrowding situation.”
Since a major fire left several dead at the Camp Street Prison, Lusignan has become a key holding facility.
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