The Indian Action Committee (IAC) is shocked and horrified at the deliberate destruction of the Camp Street jail, which was destroyed by fire on Sunday, July 9, 2017; set simultaneously in several buildings in the compound by dangerous prisoners – many of whom are on death row or serving life sentences for murder.
The IAC understands that the now destroyed prison was insanely overcrowded, with at least twice the safe capacity for housing both convicted criminals and those on remand prior to their trials.
The IAC is calling on the Government, which now has an ideal opportunity to construct two new prisons outside of the city of Georgetown: one for the remand detainees in the vicinity of Timehri and a second for dangerous convicted criminals somewhere in the remote interior of the country, such as within the New River Triangle.
The IAC further calls upon the Government to implement speedy trials for those on remand so that their constitutional rights under Article 144 can be protected and this can be facilitated by the allocation of sufficient funds into the now being prepared 2018 National Budget, given the recent statement made by the Public Security Minister that there is not enough money available for the reduction of this backlog of cases.
The IAC wishes to express its deepest condolences to the family and relatives of the slain Prison Officer, Odinga Wickham, who was brutally murdered by prisoners and the organisation wishes a speedy recovery to the other wounded prison officers.
The IAC also understands that hundreds of prisoners have been taken to Lusignan where the facility there cannot accommodate them and that these prisoners are being kept in the open exposed to the elements in an inhumane manner and, therefore, this unsafe situation presents a clear danger to the inhabitants of the villages nearby.
The IAC calls upon the Guyanese citizens to take all possible safety precautions because several very dangerous criminals have not yet been recaptured and these persons have the ability to create a grave crisis similar to what occurred after the 2002 Mashramani Day prison break from the same facility which led to the crime wave that lasted from then until 2009.
The IAC recommends that no new prison be rebuilt at Camp Street and that the land be put to other use, whether publicly or privately.
The IAC also recommends that as the economy deteriorates and unemployment rises with a concomitant worsening of the crime situation, that Government take a tough line on crime.