Guyana: 13 prisoners dig their way out of Lusignan jail – seven recaptured

 13 prisoners dig their way out of Lusignan jail

Some of the recaptured on their way back to jail

Police up to press time had recaptured seven of 13 prisoners who staged a daring, pre-dawn breakout yesterday from the Lusignan Prison holding area, after crawling to freedom through a five-foot long tunnel they had dug inside a makeshift latrine.

Odel Roberts, Rayon Jones and Jamal Forde were nabbed yesterday evening along the Agriculture Road, Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara, while Teshawn McKenzie and Winston Long were captured near the Route 44 bus park in Georgetown.

A few hours later, Jamal Joseph and Jason Howard were captured in North East La Penitence.      

But up to late last night, a heavily-armed joint services team was still scouring the East Coast Demerara backlands and other areas for the six other fugitives – Clive Forde, Kerry Cromwell, Pascal Smith, Kendall Skeete, Paul Goriah and Shawn Harris.

They are also still to capture four other escapees from the Georgetown Prison jailbreak – Mark Royden Williams called ‘Smallie’, Stafrei Hopkinson Alexander, Uree Varswyck and Desmond James, who escaped just over two weeks ago after killing a prison warden and burning almost every section of the penitentiary to the ground.

Nine of the Lusignan escapees are on murder charges, two on charges of robbery under arms, one for grievous bodily harm and one for discharging a loaded firearm.

Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan stated that the massive jailbreak was only discovered at around 07.00 hrs yesterday, when prison wardens carrying out a routine count, determined that 13 prisoners were unaccounted for.
“Further checks revealed that a tunnel was dug and tracks were found leading towards the Lusignan Backlands. Police sources have said that ranks hunting the fugitives are at a disadvantage, since several hours had elapsed before the jailbreak was discovered.

President David Granger later called a special emergency meeting of the National Security Committee at the Joint Service Operations Centre, where he was briefed on the jailbreak.

“The massive Joint Services Operations codenamed ‘Clean Sweep’ has been intensified to recapture these 13 fugitives plus the other four who escaped from the Camp Street Prison,” Ramjattan said in his statement.
“There are 17 fugitives at large and I ask for your full cooperation in their recapture. Wanted bulletins have been issued and the harbouring of these criminals is a serious offence and anyone found to be assisting them will be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law.”

Ramjattan stated that there will be increased security both at Lusignan and Camp St, inclusive of improvements of the security infrastructure, more perimeter patrols, surveillance lights and cameras and continued clearing of the surrounding areas. There will also be increased security checks on all prisoners throughout the day.

“Once again we apologise to the public for the inconvenience which this massive joint services manhunt will result in.
The security services are utilizing every means and resource at their disposal to recapture the fugitives. This relentless pursuit and unrelenting effort will stop at nothing until every single one of these fugitives is recaptured.
I urge you again to report all relevant information to the police and this will be treated with the strictest confidentiality.”

Among yesterday’s escapees, those accused of murder are Clive Forde, Kerry Cromwell, Pascal Smith, Odel Roberts, Kendall Skeete, Paul Goriah, Jamal Forde, Jason Howard, and Shawn Harris. Teshawn McKenzie and Winston Long are charged with armed robbery, while Jamal Joseph was charged for inflicting grievous bodily harm, and Rayon Jones for discharging a loaded firearm.

Recaptured 22-year-old Jason Howard also called ‘Smelly,’ is accused of a horrific double murder, attempted murder, and a string of armed robberies. He was considered to be the most dangerous of the escapees.

The entrance to the tunnel which the men used to escape

In December, 2016, Howard and two others were charged with murdering elderly rice farming couple Mohamed Munir, 75, and his wife, Bibi Jamila Munir, 69, by setting their house on fire with the victims inside. This allegedly happened after the couple refused to open their bedroom door, for the men to steal the $20M that was rumored to be in there.

Fugitive Clive Forde, 29, of Lot 83, Adelaide Street, Charlestown, and Lot 123 Street, Alberttown, is accused of gunning down Sanasie Lewis on September 04, 2015 in the vicinity of Ghetto Flex Bar, Albouystown, Georgetown.

Kerry Cromwell, 24, of 130 King Edward, Street, Albouystown, was on remand for the shooting death of Linden bus driver Alvin Lorrimer. The victim was shot while standing outside his bus at the Linden bus park.

Jamal Forde, 22, of Car Wash Bay, Bel Air, Georgetown, was charged with the May, 2015 murder of Sophia businessman Shawn Anys, who was slain during the course of a robbery.

Paul Goriah, 30, of Timehri Squatting Area, East Bank Demerara and Cove and John, East Coast Demerara, was set to stand trial for the March 2016 murder of re-migrant Anthony Breedy.

The body of the 60-year-old agriculturist was found around in the lower flat of his house at Hill Foot, Soesdyke. His limbs were bound and he bore injuries to his head. His home was ransacked.

Pascal Smith, 25, was remanded last year for the murder in Alexander Street, Georgetown, of John Houston. Police gave his last known address as 123 Barr Street, Kitty.
Odel Roberts, 22, called ‘Gully,’ of 124 ‘C’ Field, Sophia, was charged with the murder of businessman Shawn Anys; Kendall Skeete, 25, of 115 Wismar, Linden, is on remand for the fatal October 2008 stabbing of Kenneth Allen.
The 27-year-old victim was stabbed to death allegedly by Skeete at Goed Fortuin, West Bank Demerara. Allen, of Goed Fortuin Squatting Area, died from a stab wound that penetrated his lung and heart, according to the post-mortem report.

The father of two and a mason/carpenter, sustained several stab wounds while attempting to stop a group of men from assaulting and robbing another man in the area. He intervened in the dispute and the attacker turned on him.
Shawn Harris, 31, of 131 Pike Street, Kitty, is accused of murdering Sunil Singh, also known as ‘Grey,’ on February 5th, 2017, at Owen Street, Kitty. The victim, a vagrant, was allegedly slain after he attempted to rescue an employee of a Lamaha Street nightclub from an attack by three men. The attackers also stabbed a bartender at the Blue Martini nightclub, Charles Valenzuela, 21.

Harris was also one of four persons charged in connection with the Bank of Baroda robbery committed at Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara on January 22nd, 2016. He was also sentenced on a drug charge some time back.

Police are appealing to anyone with information that may lead to the arrest of the remaining fugitives to make contact on telephone numbers 225-6411, 225-8196, 225-2227, 227-1149, 226-7065, 911 or the nearest police station. All information will be treated with the strictest confidence.

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