In the face of the recent prison escape by Royden Williams, widely known as ‘Smallie,’ serious concerns have been raised by the Office of the Leader of the Opposition, Aubrey Norton, regarding the ability of Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn, to effectively manage the crisis.
“It is time for him to step aside and allow the experts to take charge of the sector and recapture this convicted murderer,” a statement from the office said.
The office noted that while the nation’s top priority must be the expeditious recapture of the dangerous fugitive, important inquiries regarding the Minister of Home Affairs and the management of internal security cannot be disregarded.
“During a press conference yesterday, Minister Benn’s statements only served to reinforce the opposition’s belief that he is ill-suited to handle the Ministry of Home Affairs. The opposition is seeking accountability and answers concerning the oversights that allowed the convicted murderer to escape,” the statement read.
Critical questions have arisen regarding the authorization of access to the prisoner. As per the law, only prison staff members, medical officers, or ministers of the convict’s denomination can grant such access. The identity of the individual who authorized access for someone other than the designated officials remains unclear.
Additionally, the opposition sought clarification on the number of prison officers involved in transporting Williams to and from his holding cell, the rationale behind using an open vehicle instead of an enclosed one, the whereabouts of the Mazaruni Prison boats at the time of the escape, and the presence of a suspicious boat nearby without raising any alarm.
The opposition is also scrutinizing the type of restraints worn by Williams, while considering the apparent difficulty of escaping and jumping into a river with same. Moreover, questions are being raised about the supervision of the conversation between the prisoner and his visitor, as well as the absence of video recordings of the escape. The opposition leader expressed doubts about whether the surveillance cameras conveniently malfunctioned precisely during the escape.
Significantly, the security sector has received substantial funding, with over $85 billion allocated since 2021, including significant investments in the Guyana Prison Service and the Guyana Police Force. In 2023 alone, these entities have been allocated over $28 billion.
The opposition has emphasized the availability of necessary resources that must be effectively utilized to recapture Royden Williams.
The PNC, when in power, was doing an excellent job of apprehending criminals. They were actually encouraging crimes against East Indians and other human beings.
What it this Norton talking about?