Deputy Director of Guyana’s Prisons Gladwin Samuels has stated that the distribution and sale of contraband in Guyana’s prison system is a multi-million dollar industry and his stern footing against it may have led to him being disliked by the inmates at the Camp Street Prison.
Samuels made the statement while being interviewed by reporters as the second day of his testimony at the Camp Street prison Commission of Inquiry continued.
The Deputy Director has been fingered by several of the inmates that testified at the CoI as having given the order to ‘close the doors and let the prisoners burn to death.”
This charge, he has sternly denied and has insisted that everything in his power was done to save the lives of the 17 inmates that died during the riot on March 3.
Samuels was questioned as to what may have caused the prisoners to have such a stern dislike for him and paint him in such a manner.
“I would have effected what deems to be the trade of contraband in prison…many prisoners thrive off of selling illegal items in prisons such as cigarette, narcotics and others…many of them manage to maintain their families,” said Samuels.
He stated that doing this has not brought him any kudos from some of his fellow officers or from the inmates.
“Contraband in prison is basically a multi-million dollar business for the two years I spent there…the record is there to show that I would have removed pounds of marijuana and thousands of packets of cigarettes,” he said noting that the inmates want to have their way.
In his statement to the Commission, Samuels explains that doing this has led to threats being made against his life and the lives of his family.
“Being a disrupter of what has become a way of life for many inmates and a few rogue officers has not brought me any kudos,” he stated.
The Prison official who was sent on leave as the riot quelled noted that he was not in town when the fire started and only arrived while efforts were being made to remove the inmates from the burning prison block.