Sep 20, 2020 News
– 120 test positive for COVID-19
With more than a 100 inmates testing positive for COVID-19 now, unrests at the Lusignan Prisons yesterday escalated, resulting in the death of two prisoners, and with five others injured.
Two government ministers who visited were also pelted, forcing them to leave.
Dead are inmates, Earl Graham, 51 and Winston Herbert, 21.
Pelted with objects and running for safety were Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony and Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn.
According to a press release sent out by the Guyana Prison Service (GPS) things got out of control sometime after 13:00hrs as the ministers were having discussions with inmates housed in Holding Bay One.
The unrests come just four days after inmates refused meals and pelted prison officers following the announcement that two of their fellow prisoners were positive with the novel Coronavirus.
Sources had told Kaieteur News that the actual number of positive cases in the prison stood around 10.
The prisoners were quite concerned and aggressively protested for speedier trials and the granting of bail for those with minor offences.
The disturbance had only lasted for a while and ranks from the Joint Services along with the relevant heads of the Lusignan prison, were able to calm the inmates down.
Yesterday, however, Kaieteur News was informed by sources that the number of inmates now infected with COVID-19 is almost 120 and for the second time in four days, unrests erupted.
GPS stated in its release that at around 07:30hrs the inmates began refusing their meals. The facility administrators immediately engaged them to hear and address their concerns.
The prisoners refused to engage the administrators and demanded to see Minister Benn.
Their protests continue until after noon with the refusal of the midday meals and continuing demands chance to speak with the minister.
As a result, Benn and Dr. Anthony decided to visit the holding bay at around 13:15hrs.
Upon the ministers’ arrival they were cheered by the inmates and a discussion commenced with representatives of prisoners concerning court hearings and remands, among other issues.
During the discussion, according to GPS, the men remained calm and the ministers committed to address issues that are within their powers but reminded the inmates that matters that are within the remits of the courts are beyond their jurisdiction.
GPS said that the initial response from the ministers was very well received but things began turning ugly during a subsequent discussion between the ministers and prisoners from Holding Bay One.
Inmates from the other holding bays within the prison became aggressive and began throwing missiles at prison officers and the ministers.
In a video seen by this publication, inmates could be heard telling others not to pelt.
“Aye don’t pelt don’t pelt,” they shouted. The calls were ignored and chaos erupted.
It was further stated in the press release that the ministers were forced to end their discussions and run to safety, exiting the confines of the compound.
A source told this newspaper that one of the ministers received some hits to head from objects thrown at him.
Things began to go from bad to worse after the ministers exited the main gate.
The situation was described by GPS as a massive disorder as prisoners rushed to break open the gate. Some scaled fences while others entered the restricted area launching attacks on the prison officers forcing them to flee.
Others reportedly set mattresses on fire and ranks had to take up positions within the tower and discharged rounds in the direction of those who attempting to break open the gates.
In a live video seen by this publication, loud gun shots could be heard coming within the walls of the prison.
A fire truck was seen at the scene along with an ambulance which arrived shortly after.
Men in uniform were seen running into facility with stretchers and running out again with injured individuals.
In a press release, it was stated that shots fired resulted in the injury of several prisoners. After some amount of order was restored, four of the injured were picked and rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) while three others were treated by medical personnel on the ground.
At GPHC, two inmates, Earl Graham and Winston Herbert, were pronounced dead on arrival while the others were admitted.
Graham was serving a three month sentence for malicious wounding, assault and resisting arrest. Herbert was in custody for rape.
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