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16 prisoners dead, five others injured in violent Georgetown Prison unrest

The death toll in Thursday’s violent unrest at the Georgetown Prison has risen to 16, even  as authorities said calm has been restored to the maximum security facility.

Guyana’s Public  Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan said the incident was also engaging the attention of President David Granger.

One of the prisoners died at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation while the bodies of the others were found and retrieved at the prison itself. Five others who sustained serious burns about their bodies were taken to the hospital for emergency treatment.

Sources said the prisoners broke up the wooden beds and also armed themselves with pieces of steel that they used to “harpoon” prison service personnel who attempted to quell the unrest regarded as the worst in Guyana’s recent history. “When, with the smoke and the fire in there, they were trying to get them out, the prisoners started harpooning them. They broke up the bed in pieces and started ‘jooking’ up the prison officers and so they had to back off. I don’t know what is happening in there but it seems to be extremely serious but it is under control,” the source told Demerara Waves Online News on condition of anonymity.

Investigators said several of the inmates appeared to have died from suffocation caused by the thick smoke. At the time of the incident, a number of them were being moved from the area where the fire started to another area when a number of the prisoners resisted prison service personnel, slammed a door and prevented a number of the convicts from being affected by the smoke.

In addition to the discovery of several prohibited items such as cellular phones during a search of the jail Wednesday, authorities said the prisoners have been demanding their freedom.

The fire was set in the ‘capital’ offence block where a number of persons convicted for murder are held.

A number of the inmates Wednesday night and during the pre-dawn hours of Thursday attempted several times  Wednesday night to burn the prison.

  • Col123

    OMG!…a tragedy…historically,prison fires are deadly. Is there a sprinkler system in place?

    • Emile_Mervin

      Lot 12 was built for a fixed number of prisoners, but it has long been overpopulated and may never really have been updated to meet today’s building safety codes. Look for a Commission of Inquiry that will change nothing.

      • SYL

        Is this a matter to worry about? The article said most of them were murderers , so the victims now have justice.” you live by the sword you die by the sword” GT is a sick place, do like former President Hoyte and get the country clean up again, and stop the “redick”.

        • Emile_Mervin

          1 life matters. 16 lives matter! The government is partly responsible because Lot 12 was built for 600 but houses almost 950.

          The imprisoned have rights, including the right to speedy trials instead of being on remand for years. Now that 16 are dead we are being told that one of the gripes of prisoners is the length of time they have been waiting for trial.

          Either the Judiciary runs some night courts and resolves misdemeanor cases or the prison system collaborates with ministries to let petty criminals do supervised community service in exchange for eventual freedom.

          • SYL

            I’m addressing the matter as reported , until its reported other wise like you are saying, I stand by my opinion. Its reported that block A has murderers . Murderers violated someone’s right, once that’s so you , then its time to think about victims rights.On the other hand abide by the law in and out of prison like the Great Mandela and sure you’ll be okay in the world. Are you and I in prison? We abide by the law as much as possible.Lets stop the blame game, everything happens we blame the govt. and other authorities. People need to ABIDE BY LAWS OF THE WORLD Would you like someone of these social plebs to come into your house kill your members of your family and friends, assault you, then leave you alone alive, but fighting to stay alive. Now what would be your response? My friend, stop the compromise, and let a spade be a spade and not a hammer, ABIDE BY THE LAW AND BE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR ACTS AND OMISSIONS !

  • Emile_Mervin

    16 dead at Lot 12? A tragedy of epic proportions.

  • SYL

    Well Pam believe my story. Most law abiding people do not go to jail. If the tried and convicted guys had kept the law and did not violate someone’s right by either killing them or assaulting them, or any circumstances of the sort, they most likely be on the outside looking in, but they have victims families grieving for life, and you guys blaming the prison security for the burning of beds! Then they have the boldness to attack the authority of the prison. Let them burn, as they want to burn, let it burn. Now the Hon. President has to take hard working tax payers money to give to their families. When you and others blogger’s family get a loss by one or any of these social guilty plebs then you would think different.You’re home sitting and someone comes into your home kill all your family and friends, and you are left injured, tell me your thoughts.

  • Col123

    FK: it is really sad…we as a civil society need to address it…even POWs who were shooting at you are required by conventions,to be treated with humanity..,