…7 charged, 3 jailed on escaping charges
…tell court they escaped from pasture not prison
Some three days after escaping from the Lusignan Prison, murder accused Kendall Skeete was nabbed in Wismar, Linden, on Wednesday morning, now bringing the total of recaptured escapees to eight.
Skeete was found at an abandoned house in Wisroc Housing Scheme, Wismar, at approximately 11:15h on Wednesday.
According to Divisional Commander Fazil Karimbaksh, the Police Anti-Crime Squad, acting on confirmed information from its intelligence network, responded and was able to apprehend the fugitive without any use of force.
A cordon and search was also conducted on the building where the murder accused was discovered alone. Skeete, who was in prison for the murder of a Goed Fortuin, West Bank Demerara man back in 2008, has since been transferred back to Georgetown.
Skeete, who hails from Wismar, is believed to have been trying to make his way into the interior.
Commander Karimbaksh noted that Skeete cooperated fully with the Police and confirmed that he indeed escaped from the Lusignan facility.
The 25-year-old murder accused was among 13 inmates, who fled through a hole under the fence at the walled pasture at Lusignan Prison between Sunday night and Monday morning. While there are three layers of security at the penitentiary, the men were able to escape during the downpour in the wee hours of Sunday.
It was reported that the men escaped from the fenced-in swampy pasture of the Lusignan Prison by digging a hole under the perimeter fence. The hole was about five feet in length and another five feet in depth.
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 on the exterior, there are members of the Guyana Defence Force.
The Guyana Prison Service has come in for harsh criticisms after it was revealed that on the exterior of the prison, there was thick vegetation, which the escapees used to their advantage.
However, the freedom of most of this group of escapees was short-lived as seven of them were recaptured during the course of Monday by ranks of the Joint Services.
They have since been charged and appeared at the Cove and John Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, facing charges of escaping from lawful custody.
During the arraignment, three of the men pleaded guilty and were sentenced to one year’s imprisonment. They are: 22-year-old Jamal Forde, Jamal Joseph and 19-year-old Winston Long. The presiding Magistrate, Peter Hugh told the men that because they did not waste the court’s time, their sentence was set at the minimum end of the scale and not the three years’ maximum.
Meanwhile, the four other escapees: Teshawn McKenzie, Royan Jones, Jason Howard, and Odel Roberts, pleaded not guilty and they were remanded until their case is called again in August at the Vigilance Magistrate’s Court.
The men told the court that they escaped from a pasture and not a prison, arguing that the only reason they did so was because of the conditions they were forced to stay in.
Efforts continue to recapture the remaining five fugitives on the run. Additionally, the Joint Services are also on the hunt for the four inmates who initially escaped from lawful custody on July 9 after staging an attack on correctional officers at the Camp Street Prison and setting the penitentiary alight.
In total, the nine escapees are: Clive Forde, Shawn Harris, Kerry Cromwell, Pascal Smith, Paul Goriah, Mark Royden Durant, Uree Varswyck, Stafrei Hopkinson Alexander, and Cobena Stephens.