September 28, 2016

Mazaruni prisoners decry treatment at facility

Prisoners at the Mazaruni Prison, Region Seven (Cuyuni/Mazaruni) are peeved at the way they are treated with respects to their meals and other facilities at the jail complex.

Mazaruni Prison

Mazaruni Prison

One prisoner who managed to contact Guyana Times during Monday explained that they are forced to eat butter and bread on a regular basis although other food items are available.
The prisoner serving several years, noted that while in prison, inmates are mandated to assist in farming and rearing chickens and other livestock but unfortunately, they do not get a “piece of the meat” when these animals are slaughtered.
“We plant eggplant, pumpkin, ochros, squash, seasonings but when the food come, is next to nothing… the food don’t get taste… there is no meat… no eggs, nothing”, the prisoner complained. He noted that the officer in charge would always say “what we get that is what you all will eat”.
He said most of the inmates are “literally starving”. However, he further explained that the compound of the Mazaruni Prison has two jails, one for convicts who are serving between two to five years, while the second is for convicts sentenced for five years up.
In the “small jail”, he stated, more than two persons have to occupy a cell and it is similar in the “big” jail. The big jail has about 190 inmates. There are no beds but rather mattresses that are placed on pallets, he noted.
Nevertheless, he stated that although prisoners do not expect for the prisons to be bed of roses, on the other hand, President David Granger visited the penitentiary earlier this month, but did not meet with the prisoners, hence he could not have gotten “firsthand information” of what really happens within the prison walls.
The prisoner who is well spoken, noted that family are allowed to visit and take hygienic items such as toothpaste, soap and toilet tissue but no food items. On this note, he added that some inmates are given one soap, one tube of toothpaste and one roll of toilet tissue to use for one month.
“These are the items that come in bulk but yet, at the end of every month, we hear that they run out… we don’t have this, we don’t have that… and all sort of excuses…’, he added.
With respect to injuries at the facility, he explained that there is always a medex on hand. There are many fights on a regular basis which are concealed behind the walls… once you get injured you get looked after but there are some injuries that need hospital treatment but persons are left to bare the pains”, the prisoner noted.
He nevertheless praised the welfare officer, claiming that she does a lot to handle the issues within the Mazaruni Prison.

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