Contraband found at Camp Street Prison
Following the discovery of several contraband items at the Georgetown Prisons over the past weekend, Police investigators are looking to have the 40 plus cellphones that were seized analysed.
This was disclosed by Commander of A Division (Georgetown-East Bank Demerara) Clifton Hicken, who told reporters on Wednesday that investigations are ongoing into the major prison bust, which comes just over two months after the March prison riots that resulted in the death of 17 inmates.
According to the Commander, the 44 seized cellphones are with investigators, who are sorting them out to be sent for examination. However, he explained that there are protocols that have to be obtained in such cases.
“We will request for certain information, via the hierarchy of the Force, from the companies. The company will then send the information requested, after following their process of course, and we will complete the investigations from there,” Hicken stated.
He noted that after the investigation is completed and advice is sought then the information gathered will be released to the public.
On Monday, the Guyana Police Force reported that several contraband items were found in the Camp Street penitentiary during a Joint Services raid; an exercise called “Operation Restore Order”.
The search, which was conducted in the main prison cell blocks, resulted in the seizure of 44 mobile phones, over 150 improvised weapons, scissors, a quantity of marijuana and tattoo machines, among other items.
The Fire Service was on standby in case of any possible disturbance. Back in March, it was a similar search exercise which prompted inmates to start a series of fires in the Division A cell block, the last of which claimed the lives of 17 prisoners and injuring several others on March 3.
The incident sparked much public outraged and concerns about the security at the facility, as many questioned how the prisoners were able to start the fire, especially since there was a search in the block on March 2 during which several contraband items were seized including 19 cellular phones.
A Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the unrest was ordered and during the proceedings, several prisoners testified of their fellow inmates (no names given) being in possession of cellphones, marijuana and in some cases “prison-made cutlasses”. In fact, one inmate had even admitted to posing for a photograph which was posted on a social media website.
The inquiry was wrapped up last week and the panel, led by Justice James Patterson, and which includes former Director of Prisons Dale Erskine and human rights activist Merle Mendonca, has until May 31 to submit their findings.