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Need for “massive” movement of prisoners from Georgetown to Mazaruni -Granger

The Mazaruni Prison

The Mazaruni Prison

In the wake of last month’s violence at the Georgetown Prison that claimed the lives of 17 inmates, President David Granger Friday announced plans to for a “massive” movement of  a number of prisoners to the Mazaruni Prison.

“The problems will not be resolved unless there is a massive re-deployment of prisoners from Georgetown particularly- I ignore New Amsterdam for the time being- to Mazaruni. Mazaruni has the space and it needs to be reinforced and fortified,” he said on his weekly interview programme, Public Interest.

Granger did not say how soon prisoners could be moved from Georgetown to Mazaruni.

He noted that  money has to be provided to construct new prison blocks at that maximum security jail located on the left bank of the Mazaruni River in Region Seven. “We still need to provide secure facilities at Mazaruni for a greater number of prisoners and move more prisoners,” he said. Following the March 3, 2016 unrest a number of them have been already transfered from the Camp Street jail to the Mazaruni prison.

Plans are also in train for the staff of the Guyana Prison Service to be trained by the Guyana Police Force.


The Georgetown Prison.

The President noted that already representatives of the Executive and the Judiciary have met to examine ways of reducing overcrowding by hearing the cases of the large number of prisoners who are on remand. “There has been an engagement between the Executive branch and the Judicial branch to examine sentencing policy to ensure that custodial sentences or perhaps  remands or the denial of bail will be reviewed so that there is no huge build up of persons in the prisons, particularly the Georgetown Prison,” he said.

Granger partly attributed to the problems in Guyana’s prison system to rogue  staff members who allow prohibited items such as cigarettes, ganja, metal weapons and cellular phones into the jails. “It is impossible for that level of contraband traffic to have occurred without the complicity of a few rogue officers,” he said.

Asked about the current situation at the Georgetown Prison, he said “the situation is stable and it is being normalized but I admit what passes for normalcy is inadequate.”

After more than one dozen prison wardens reported sick, believed to have been as a result of threats to them and their families, police have been deployed inside the Georgetown Prison and soldiers have been ordered to accompany police to stand guard around the jail at barriers .

Vehicles and pedestrians are barred from using Bent, John and D’urban Streets. Only pedestrian traffic  is allowed on Camp Street  near the front of the jail.

In its 2015 Human Rights Report, the United States State Department states that a total of 963 prisoners were in Georgetown’s Camp Street Prison, designed to hold 550 inmates. “Overcrowding was in large part due to a backlog of pretrial detainees, who constituted approximately 11.3 percent of the total prison population.”

Overall,  the report states that the Guyana Prison Service reported that, as of October, 2015 there were 1,944 prisoners in five facilities with a combined design capacity of 1,640.

  • Gtloyal

    All prisoners who have been sentenced should go to mazaruni. Camp street should be for those who have not been sentenced as yet.

    • Emile_Mervin

      Granger is on the right path with re-locating prisoners from Camp Street to Mazaruni, but unless he can quickly create jobs for Guyana’s youths, then he will have a recurring problem. Guyana has a 40% youth unemployment rate; the highest in the Caribbean.

      • Gtloyal

        Any suggestions of how to do so? Today every opinion counts.

        • SYL

          Firstly, control the birth rate , max. two per family, Secondly train the youths in entrepreneurial skills, such as live stock, and cash crop business etc, as an initiative already embarked on by the Hon. First Lady, but intensify it and enlarge its borders. Invite more companies to Guyana to initiate OUTSOURCING business activities, in technology , and create manufacturing business that would employ the local citizens , Provide tax incentives for the companies. In other countries its known as “tax holidays” for some types of investors to be attracted to the shores. Possibly another vehicle assy. plant. Ask Bro. Harmon, he travels with the fat cats and business dealers.

          • Gtloyal

            “Firstly, control the birth rate , max. two per family …”
            In a country where, for the last fifty years, the population has been at 7 to 8 hundred thousand, what is your aim with this proposal? Reduce the population?
            “… Secondly train the youths in entrepreneurial skills, such as live stock, and cash crop business etc. …”
            Under normal circumstances this would be a good idea but which guyanese youth today would want to till the soil when he/she can do the same work and reap gold. On a recent visit to Region one, which was once known as the bread basket of Guyana, I was surprised to see vegetables coming on the ferry from GT. Why? The farmers are now mining gold! I don’t want to be pessimistic but it is a bit more complex than we think.

          • SYL

            Any comments on the tax incentives for manufacturing, and outsourcing? Financial center.

          • Gtloyal

            If we can get things done in an honest manner, these are ideas that are worth exploring. Give it a try. Make it succeed. Why not?
            Decision makers just have to be reasonable to both investor and country … and not only to themselves as we have grown accustomed to.
            One of our major weaknesses is our not having proper infrastructure in place – basic needs such as electricity and means of transportation, to attract manufacturers. We need to work to get these things in place.
            Another weakness is that our workforce is not properly trained. Our schools do not prepare students for our labour market. We do not have a proper university. We need to up our preparation, atune our education system to meet our needs. We need to form professionals. At times we find ourselves working with foreign trained professionals who are not familiar with our reality. Most are well intentioned Guyanese but they have been away for just too long and were trained to work under different circumstances, with people of a different culture.
            Guyana needs to set its goals, draw up a project for a number of years and stick to it. For far too long we have been having reactive leaders. Time for some proactivity. And if we have to offer special tax incentives to get it off the ground, then so be it.

          • SYL

            GT what would you do to curb the killing of the girls by the punks who think they own the girls once they involved with them?
            My idea is to cut their testicles balls off, and send it the the bosses of the human rights org. The guy who killed the beautiful 25 year old and left the child mother less and indirectly father-less is an ass, and needed to be whipped with the CAT-O NILE TAIL.In some of the Arab custom they pay for their wives, and if anything goes wrong the fee is a bargain chip. These black bastards[ I’m black too ] just think they own people’s daughters, and the girls too do not listen to their moms, and find themselves in those unfortunate circumstances.Most guys cheat on the girls anyway, but cannot take their own medicine in return.So guys you cannot give TLC, then leave the girls alone, and girls try to control your hormones, until you get not a perfect guy but a loving one.

      • SYL

        The president is like “Johnny” come late. I said that many months ago that send the prisoners to Mazaruni. This type of decision making happens all over the “third ” world. [ where is the second world?] However, back to my point. In one instant in another third world country, there was a missing railing on the edge of the road way, but the govt. was told by it local citizens to fence it, but did not do so. Consequently an American soldier who didn’t know the area good , while driving at night drove off the edge and died, the security fence was placed immediately.Once the issue doesn’t threaten the fat cats, things remain the same.

  • rudeo

    agree….no plan to deal with rogue warders announced….not holding my breath on that

  • george wiltshire

    Please note that many of our youths do not want to work. While some are saying the pay is too small others are lying. Others are seeking what they call dignified jobs that they are not qualified for. Then again the wages are really small.

  • MEMES Unlimited

    Great way to go Mr. President. I would suggest that unemployed youth be declared as a disenfranchised “minority” group and then to enact legislative framework for an Affirmative Employment & Special Emphasis Program to bridge that gap.

    The nuts & bolts aspect would require, at the minimum, a massive vocational training program to train and certify such young people and a special percentage (20%) employment allocation for employment in Government jobs, seek similar employment arrangements with the Private Sector by way of tax breaks for achieving pre-set youth employment targets. A further special needs sub-group should be allocated to single parent (women) families to boost income and capacity to care for their children.

  • Lancelot Brassington

    Good start here Mr. Granger. The security at the Mazaruni Prison would have to be the very best though. Otherwise prisoners could escape and find their way into the gold bush ‘back dams’ and live happily ever after. Might not be the best circumstances but infinitely better than being in jail. Good start nevertheless.

  • SYL

    Tax holiday is an incentive, but like any other system if its implemented and lawless corruption is in play, then it defeats its purpose for the jurisdiction . I am experiencing on a daily basis the results of tax holiday and the citizens that resides from 140 different nations are laughing their way to the bank.Its all about controlled corruption, and the system works. Tax holiday encourages investors, and employment is created. Just tell the politicians to keep their hands out the cookie jar.

  • rs dasai

    The neeed is to eleminate crime. Gvt cannot do it alone.