October 1, 2016

Another inmate sets fire to burn down Camp Street Prison

By Devina Samaroo

The quick response from Prison Services officers prevented what could have been another prison riot after a lone inmate

TSU ranks deployed to the scene to keep the situation under control

TSU ranks deployed to the scene to keep the situation under control

started a fire within his cell with the sole intention of destroying the facility.
Less than three weeks after the deadly prison riot, the fire erupted at the Camp Street penitentiary on Monday afternoon.
Director of Prisons, Carl Graham told Guyana Times that the prisoner was housed in a section called the “stronghold cell”, which is adjacent to Capital C.
He explained that the individual had set some of his clothes afire with the intention of burning down the building.
According to Graham, the inmate did not appear disgruntled nor did he express any particular reason for setting the fire.
“All he said was that his intention was to burn the prison down,” Graham stated.
When Guyana Times arrived at the scene, Guyana Police Force (GPF) ranks and Guyana Fire Service (GFS) officers were out in their numbers.
The area was already cordoned off and the servicemen were making regular patrols.
Ranks of the Tactical Services Unit were also present at the scene.
Canada-based Attorney Selwyn Pieters, who is representing the Prison Service and the Police Force at the ongoing Commission of Inquiry (CoI), also visited the Prison.
He told media operatives that the matter was currently being investigated and charges were expected to be laid soon.
“That’s being investigated right now by the criminal investigations unit and charges will be laid as appropriate,” he noted.
The historic prison riot that erupted at the overcrowded jailhouse intermittently over three days claimed the lives of 17 criminals while injuring several others and prison officers.
The unrest prompted the establishment of the CoI to probe the circumstances that led to the disturbance and to review the overall prison system with the aim of making recommendations for prison reforms.
Authorities suspect that the prisoners got aggressive and began to behave unruly because several contraband items, including cellular phones, were confiscated during a Police raid of the facility.
The rioting escalated into utter chaos after prisoners ripped down the walls of the prison, broke out of their cells, and engaged in a face-to-face confrontation with the prison officers who were desperately trying to keep the situation under control.
The prisoners only settled down after Government officials, including State Minister Joseph Harmon and Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan met and negotiated with them.
The prisoners demanded better living conditions – a petition that was met by the Government.
Meanwhile, several prisoners have already given their testimony about the events that occur behind prison walls at the CoI.

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