October 1, 2016

Govt must take responsibility for the prison deaths, riots

Dear Editor,
President Granger said it, “the prison riot caught him by surprise,” and sure did because his administration did not in the least fathom or as such expected such a reaction from them.
The Coalition Government is in high gear putting things in place for the big 50th Independence anniversary bash – they are in party mode – a prison riot is the last thing on their mind.
However, I am not in the least surprised, I knew something of this nature was bound to take place and here’s my reasoning. Granger at his inauguration released sixty criminals back into society, shortly after that he released forty more bringing the total to one hundred.
He later spoke of these criminals in endearing terms calling them “petty thieves” among other flowery terms. He alluded to his own fallacy theory that these guys were denied the basic human rights. He very nearly called them the new choir boys of his administration.”
In the history of Guyana never has there been a president who is so obsessed with criminals.
Meantime, the criminals themselves were taking notes on all of the foregoing developments. They were formulating in their mind that here we have a president who is on our side and one who would stop short of anything to “free us” yes, literally free us or, at least have us continue to enjoy all the privileges of an illegal lifestyle.
Make no mistake this is the mental picture painted in their minds of the Granger administration. Further to my logic were the 50th Anniversary themes such as the 50/50 plan for squatters – you pay 50 per cent for the land and you can go possess it, the other 50 per cent can be paid later.
This was another incentive for the illegal squatter settlers. So, if all of this could be forthcoming for those “underprivileged masses” in society why can’t these niceties be extended to us in jail. Please forgive me for mooting the idea, let’s say the immediate release of fifty more of the hardened criminals to coincide with the 50th Anniversary celebrations.
This seems to be a nice proposition. Instead of continuing in the same lenient careless way this government is going about things, came a turnaround in their attitude and treatment of prisoners. In a strange twist the authorities decided to order a lock-down and removal of all the prisoners’ illegal marijuana, cell phones and other paraphernalia.
This was the final straw that broke the camel’s back, this is certainly a cause for war.  The next logical thing to do was set the place on fire with the same lighters and matches used to light my weed.
At this stage the Granger Government thought that the prisoners were just on another of their temper tantrums and everything would soon subside albeit everything would be alright in the morning.
But that was not to be, the following morning saw renewed attempts to burn the prison down as the conflagration met full eruption. The fire service could have doused those cells with water from hoses held atop high ladders.
And by the way where was the water canon? This too could have been brought into action to bring the fire under control and save lives. I shall speak in detail of the water cannon in a subsequent article. The prison warders for their own part were outnumbered by the prisoners and were fearful for their lives so they did not open the cells.
The result is 17 prisoners were roasted alive locked away securely in their cells. I close by saying this reeks of gross negligence and incompetence on the part of the prison officials and the government on the whole.
The question on everyone’s lips is why? Couldn’t this matter be better handled? And the answer is yes, and that is if we had a responsible government.

I rest my case.
Neil Adams

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