Guyana: Fire at Lusignan Prison extinguished

Fire at Lusignan Prison – July 11, 2020

 -15 prisoners injured, no deaths,    -All prisoners accounted for

DPI, Guyana, Sunday, July 12, 2020

The Guyana Police Force (GPF) has reported that the fire which was started at the Lusignan Prison on Sunday has been fully extinguished. 

In a press statement issued today, the GPF said the fire was started by inmates after midday following a riot. The disturbance broke out after a search was conducted in the prison and narcotics were found.

The situation was quickly brought under control following swift efforts by the Guyana Fire Service and other Joint Services.

The GPF statement Force confirmed that “Joint Services ranks were able to contain the riot and escort most prisoners from the Lusignan Prisons to nearby facilities. The situation is contained at this time and logistics and other systems are being implemented.”

Fifteen prisoners sustained injuries and are currently receiving medical attention.

Contrary to reports in sections of the media, the GPF reported that none of the inmates has escaped nor has any prisoner died. All the inmates have been accounted for.

An investigation in the matter is underway.

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  • ndtewarie  On 07/13/2020 at 9:59 am


    The West is going to hell in a hand basket
    And it looks as if its with a one-way ticket
    Today we text instead we hardly talk
    We forgot how to gaffe and squawk

    Long ago our parents used to hug
    No matter how ugly is your mug
    Today they’re busy away from trouble
    As the kids are loose playing marble

    It seems we are smitten
    We forgot how to listen
    Our eardrums deadened in all that blasting
    Of games and dumb movies all exploiting

    We have lost our sense of sweet smelling
    Choked with odours of bacon simmering
    Nicotine and cosmetic flavours to enhance
    Our olfactory organs leaving us in a trance

    Long ago we were embroiled in sing song
    It seems as if our journey has gone wrong
    We don’t know how or ever try to do the whistle
    We are too busy cavorting for our victuals/bittle

    We are becoming a lost people aye!
    Hardly look one another in the eye

    Forgotten before we use Facebook one should preface
    Use a real mirror before and check out your ugly face

    Whether you’re a homo, black, white, short or stink
    You have to learn to read, to write, spell and to think
    Stop being a wise guy thinking with only with your dicks
    You’ll only survive when you go back to the real basics

    You may call me naive or silly
    Old School or even willy nilly
    Beat me with names or even use bricks and sticks
    But eventually we’ve got to go back to the basics

  • guyaneseonline  On 07/13/2020 at 8:45 pm

    Reconstruction of burnt building not in immediate plans- Min Ramjattan
    Jul 13, 2020 Government, Ministry of Public Security, News

    —Some prisoners re-allocated others housed in holding bay

    —Contractors seeking to recommence works on Mazaruni, Camp Street, halted due to COVID

    DPI, Guyana, Monday, July 13, 2020

    Following the destruction of the buildings that housed inmates at the Lusignan Prison, Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan explained that due to the lack of budgetary allocations there are no immediate plans for reconstruction.

    Minister Ramjattan explained that with the construction work at Mazaruni and Camp Street Prisons and expansion work at the New Amsterdam jail, the long-term plan was to “move away from the Lusignan Prison scenario.”
    He did disclose that the work will begin on repairing the kitchen at the facility to ensure the prisoners receive their meals.

    Providing an update on the works at the other penitentiaries, the Director of Prisons Gladwin Samuels stated that “efforts are still being made to have the Mazaruni Prison completed and the rebuilding of the Georgetown Prison. Since those two facilities have not yet been completed, we have not been able to relocate an additional set of prisoners from the holding bay.”

    It was pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic halted the works at Mazaruni and Camp Street jails on April 2 and 3 respectively.

    Samuels noted that “had it not been for COVID, phase one of Mazaruni which can accommodate 200 prisoners would have been completed. The contractors have since written requesting permission to restart.”

    The Director said the Prison Service has compiled a document, which the Permanent Secretary will receive today, relating to the requirements for the construction workers seeking to return to the Mazaruni Prison.

    Samuels also disclosed that the contractors at the Georgetown Prisons have made a similar request. According to the Director of Prisons, provided that they can meet the requirements of the Prison Service, they will be able to recommence work.

    Upon completion of the Mazaruni and the Camp Street Prisons, the facilities will have the capacity to house 400 and 180 prisoners respectively.

    A total of 284 prisoners were displaced due to the fire on Sunday. While some were relocated to other penitentiaries across the country, 156 were placed at the holding bay at Lusignan.

    The addition of those prisoners brings the total number in the holding bay to 581, exceeding the 200-maximum capacity.

    Director Samuels explained that officers from the Lusignan Prison have been deployed to beef up the security at the holding bay and there is an additional police presence on the ground.

  • guyaneseonline  On 07/14/2020 at 12:45 am

    Seized alcohol and marijuana led to Lusignan prison arson – Samuels
    Jul 14, 2020 Kaieteur News

    Eight names of suspected “masterminds” identified

    By Shervin Belgrave

    The seizure of contraband alcohol and marijuana was the spark that resulted in a riot at the Lusignan Prison that ended in part of the facility destroyed by fire on Sunday, and the names of eight suspect masterminds have been handed over to the Guyana Police Force.

    Sections of the prisons that were destroyed by the fire

    This was revealed by the Director of Prisons (DoP), Gladwin Samuels, in a press conference held yesterday at the Boardroom of the Ministry of Public Security with some reporters tuning in virtually. Those names are said to be that of inmates who were involved in a riot at the prisons on Sunday which eventually resulted in a fire that destroyed a section of facility and injury to several prisoners.
    Initial reports stated that the sequence of events began with the seizure of a number of illegal items and narcotics during a routine search by prison officers.
    However, Samuels said this was not true. He detailed that it all began when a prisoner was spotted with a package, acting suspiciously. This prompted prison officers to approach the inmate and conduct a search on him in the presence of other prisoners. In the package that he was carrying, officers found two parcels of an unknown quantity of marijuana along with a bottle of rum. These items were seized immediately and the prisoner was escorted to the Officer in Charge for questioning. Upon seeing this, other inmates started to behave in a disorderly manner.
    While officers were trying to calm them down, a fight broke out between two inmates who were working in the kitchen at the time. One officer rushed in to settle the dispute. However, one of the inmates confronted the officer. This led to the officer assaulting the prisoner before dragging him out of the kitchen and into the yard. The inmate continued to resist being restrained by the officer and threatened to kill him. Four other officers rushed to assist their colleague in restraining the prisoner and in the process beat the prisoner.
    According to sources, the beating of the inmate riled up the already vexed prisoners even more and they began kicking through walls and breaking down doors. They stormed out into the yard and rioted against the officers demanding that the seized drugs and rum be handed over to them. Several others began setting fire to different sections of the prisons and the prison officers were left with no choice to call in the Fire Department.
    When firefighters arrived, the old prison building was totally engulfed with flames and the fire was spreading quickly to other sections of the prisons. The blaze was however contained fairly quickly.
    Meanwhile, some prisoners tried to escape in the midst of the chaos which forced officers to fire shots in the air to restore some order. Prison officers were quickly backed up by members of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) who were called in to fully contain the rebellious inmates and prevent any of them from escaping.
    A few hours later, fire fighters were successful in extinguishing the blaze, saving other buildings and a section of the administrative office.
    Prison doctors were then called in to treat at least 11 prisoners who were injured. Two of the injured were sent to the Georgetown Public Hospital for further treatment. It was later revealed that one of two inmates sent to the hospital was the one assaulted by the prison officers while the other had sustained burns to the arms and shoulders. Both men were treated and sent back to the prisons.
    As investigations continue, DoP Samuels informed that because of the fire a total of 284 prisoners were displaced. As a result 27 of those prisoners were transferred to the Georgetown prison, 51 were transported to Timehri and another 50 are in transit to the Mazaruni Prisons. The remaining 156 will be accommodated at the Lusignan Holding Bay.

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