… 7 recaptured
…PPP/C expresses concern over latest disaster
Joining the four criminals that are already on the run, another 13 prisoners
escaped from the Lusignan penitentiary between Sunday evening and Monday morning, literally slipping out from under the nose of a Joint Services operation.
Among these 13 men, 10 were charged for murder, while one was charged for attempted murder and two for armed robbery. The murder accused are Clive Forde, Pascal Smith, Kerry Cromwell, Odel Roberts, Kendell Skeet, Rayon Jones, Jason Howard, Shawn Harris, Paul Goriah and Jamal Forde. The armed robbery accused are Teshawn McKenzie and Winston Long, while the attempted murder accused is Jamal Joseph.
By late Monday evening, Roberts, Jamal Forde, Jones, Long, Howard, McKenzie and Jamal Joseph were recaptured. Three were caught at Agriculture Road, Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara, including Forde; and two others were caught in Georgetown. Howard was later recaptured in North East La Penitence, Georgetown while Joseph was caught in South Ruimveldt.
It is believed that the men escaped from the swampy pasture of the Lusignan Prison by digging a hole under the perimeter fence. The hole is about five feet in length and another five feet in depth.
While there are three layers of security at the penitentiary, the men were able to escape presumably during the downpour in the wee hours of Sunday.
The first layer of security, Guyana Times understands, is the actual prison security. Then there are the Police ranks who are overlooking the criminals, and outside the parameter are members of the Guyana Defence Force.
The Guyana Prison Service has come in for harsh criticism after it was revealed that the exterior of the prison had thick vegetation, which the men used to their advantage.
Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan, who appeared on the state owned National Communications Network (NCN) to speak to the nation, said a joint services’ operation codenamed ‘Clean Sweep’ has been intensified to recapture the fugitives, as well as the four who are still on the run following the fire at the Camp Street Prison.
Nevertheless, the Minister explained that there were 99 inmates in total in the swampy holding area, 13 of whom have escaped; but he said the remaining 86 will be transferred to the brick prison at Camp Street which has been sufficiently completed to securely hold them.
However, since the escape of the prisoners, Police have been combing the backlands along the East Coast of Demerara, and army and Police ranks have been stopping and searching vehicles along the East Coast Highway. In addition, security presence in the community of Lusignan has been beefed up; but the residents are still in fear. And in success, ECD, members of the joint services have been urging residents not to go into the backdam.
The escapees have now joined the Camp Street escapees: Royden Durant, aka Smallie; Uree Varswyck, aka “Malcolm Gordon”; Stafrei Hopkinson Alexander and Corbena Stephens.
Meanwhile, the Opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic has, in a statement, expressed its deepest concerns over the latest “disaster to have befallen this nation.” The release stated that most dangerous prisoners escaped the pasture in which they were corralled at Lusignan, East Coast Demerara, and this is the latest tragedy that has catapulted the nation into even greater fear.
The matter, the opposition highlighted, is compounded by the fact that the present Government is manifestly incapable of saying or doing anything to allay the fear and trauma that have gripped Guyana.
“Will they still ludicrously contend that they inherited this situation from the PPP/C Government?” the PPP asked.
As such, the PPP/C reiterates its continued support for the members of the Disciplined Forces, and has urged them to expend their best efforts in seeking to capture all the escapees, so that Guyana can return to some degree of normalcy.