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Several New Amsterdam prison officers face demotion following unrest

In picture (left to right): Board of Inquiry members Senior Police Superintendent, Clifton Hicken; Coordinator of the Community Policing Organisation of Guyana (left) Dennis Pompey and Businessman Taij Jaggernauth meeting with Home Affairs, Clement Rohee. Absent is Retired Major General, Norman Mc Lean.

Several officers attached to the New Amsterdam Prison are to be demoted and a new system put in place to dispose of weapons found in the possession of prisoners following a prison unrest two months ago that resulted in the severe chopping of four prisoners.

The report by the Board of Inquiry into the May 23, 2014 was presented to Home Affairs Minister, Clement Rohee on Monday.

Rohee declined to discuss the findings and recommendations until he and the top-brass of the Guyana Prison Service have studied the document. “I am now studying the recommendations, together with the Ministry of Home Affairs and the prison authority, then we will decide how to proceed with the recommendations made,” he said. He confirmed that the report focuses on the officers at the New Amsterdam Prison. “It does, yes,  and those are what have to be discussed between the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Guyana Prison Service.

But a source close to the probe said several of the New Amsterdam Prison Service staff members were negligent in executing their duties and recommendations were made for a number of them to be demoted.

According to the source, the Board of Inquiry further recommended that weapons found in cells and in possession of inmates be removed immediately from the prison compound rather than kept on the premises. “The weapons are recycled so we said a new system should be put in place,” the source said.

Asked why no one has been penalized for smuggling weapons into prisons , the Home Affairs Minister said the police should take action and the prison authority pursue the matter based on recommendations.

The inmates injured in the May 23 incident were Abdulsalam ‘Sato’ Azimullah, 31 of Hampshire, Corentyne and Davendra ‘Bara’ Harricharran, 28 of Nigg, Corentyne and Kwame Bhagwandin, 32, and Clarence ‘Wild Hog’ Williams, both of Angoy’s Avenue, New Amsterdam.

They were attacked by a prisoner only known as “Shoulder” after he was released from solitary confinement. There were reports that an unnamed prison warden had provided the key to a prisoner who opened the door to allow “Shoulder” to chop the other inmates.