Minister of State, Joseph Harmon revealed today that his Cabinet colleague, Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan, will be meeting with a technical team of former prison officials, and security stakeholders to chart a way forward on the matter of prison security. Harmon said that this is being done to ensure that unrests or disturbances of any kind are not repeated.
During his post-Cabinet press briefing at the Ministry of the Presidency today, Harmon said that the Director of Prisons (ag), Gladwin Samuels, was given “clear directions to address any operational issues, on-site”.
He said that these operational issues or challenges include addressing the provision of an adequate supply of water, washroom facilities and the overall treatment of prisoners by ranks stationed at the various prison locations. Several strategic measures will also be implemented, the State Minister noted. These include higher levels of security and supervision by more Joint Services ranks, and increased electronic monitoring and surveillance.
Minister Harmon reiterated that the prisons at Lusignan and Timehri were designed to be temporary holding facilities and not “Hard/Strengthened Prisons”. The Mazaruni and Camp Street Prisons are currently being rehabilitated. When completed, Harmon said that inmates will be relocated to ease overcrowding at other facilities.
Since the last two jailbreaks from the Camp Street Prison and from Lusignan Holding Bay, Harmon said that the government has taken all necessary steps to recapture those who escaped.
All escapees from the Camp Street prison break were either recaptured or killed. However, Cobena Stephens, also known as OJ, and Paul Goriah, who escaped from the Lusignan Holding Bay, remain on the run, taking the total to four now at large.