Father remanded for harbouring son, other prison escapees
A 60-year-old father of six and boat captain of Lot 114 Fourth Avenue, Bartica, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), was on Monday remanded to prison on four charges relating to the harbouring of four convicts, including his son, who escaped from the high-security Mazaruni Prison.
Ralph Jones, who was represented by Attorney-at-Law Adrian Thompson, was not required to plead to the indictable charges, which were read to him by Magistrate Crystal Lambert at the Vreed-en-Hoop Magistrate’s Courts.
The charges stated that on February 16, at his Fourth Avenue, Bartica home, he received, harboured, comforted, and maintained his son, Rayon Jones, along with Imran Ramsaywack, Kenrick Lyte, Samuel Gouveia, knowing that they were convicted prisoners, who had escaped from the Mazaruni Prison.
Reports from the Guyana Prison Service are that at about 07:15h on February 16, during the unlocking of the Solitary Division which was supervised by four prison officers, it was observed that the padlock to the entrance gate was tampered with and checks revealed that two bars within the cell had been cut. It was then that prison officials realised that the four prisoners had escaped.
During a bail application, Thompson told the court that his client harboured the escapees because he was fearful for his life. According to the lawyer, at around 03:00h on February 16, his client’s son and the other escapees showed up at his home demanding clothing, food, and money.
He said that while Ralph Jones was aware that his son was incarcerated, he did not know that the other men were also serving time for varying offences. The lawyer added, “This is not a voluntary act. He [Ralph Jones] was scared when they showed up at his house. His son turned up with criminals for help. There is nothing he could have done. His actions were under duress.”
The Police Prosecutor, however, made serious objections to bail. In doing so, he cited the serious nature and penalty attached to the offence. The prosecutor also noted that there is a possibility the accused might not return for trial if he is granted his pre-trial liberty. Having considered the submissions, Magistrate Lambert refused to grant bail and ordered that Ralph Jones be remanded to prison. The case will continue on March 5.
The Guyana Police Force in a statement last Thursday said that the senior Jones admitted to harbouring the prison escapees. The elderly Jones reportedly told investigators that after escaping from the Mazaruni Prison, his son contacted him by telephone and informed him of his actions.
Police said that Ralph Jones further admitted that sometime after 01:00h the following day, all four of the escapees showed up at his house, where he provided them with a change of clothing. He collected the clothes that they were wearing and dumped them in an alleyway aback his house.
Police said that ranks went to the location where they found a white salt bag that contained several items suspected to be belongings of the escapees. They included clothing, footwear, deodorant, toques, pillow, and pillowcases, along with a bottle of Red Star rub, a toothbrush, and a food bowl.
Ramsaywack and Lyte were on death row, while Gouveia and Jones were convicted for manslaughter.
Up to press time, the escapees were still at large. The Guyana Police Force, in its efforts to recapture the inmates, is appealing to members of the public, relatives, and friends to give any relevant information as to the whereabouts of these escapees so that they can be captured and returned to the prison.
The Joint Services is encouraging all law-abiding citizens to report to the nearest Police station or call 455-2238, 455-2222, 455-2241, 226-4585, 225-2700, 225-3650, or 911, should they see the escapees.
All information will be treated with strict confidence. Also, an appeal is being made to the escapees to surrender to the Police or relevant authority to avoid any serious confrontation that is likely to result in the use of force. (G1)