Several transferred after Lusignan prison fire

Last Updated on Monday, 13 July 2020, 17:10 by Denis Chabrol

by Samuel Sukhnandan

A fire at Lusignan prison on Sunday has led to several prisoners being transferred to other prisons across the country, while 156 of them remain at the holding bay at that penitentiary.

This is according to Prison Service Director Gladwin Samuel, who briefed the press on the situation earlier
Monday saying that other alternative arrangements are now being considered.

Of the 284 inmates that were affected by the fire that gutted the prison, Samuels noted that  27 of them  have been transferred to the Camp street prison, 51 to Timehri, and 50 to Mazaruni prison.

The prison director confirmed that the fire was started by the inmates and at least eight of them have been identified as the masterminds, while describing Sunday’s incident as “very dangerous”.

He reported that two parcels of cannabis, a container with alcohol and a cell phone were discovered on one  prisoner, while another prisoner was behaving hostile towards prison officials.

Samuels told the press that the prisoners demanded that the illegal drugs be returned and when this did not happen, they band together and began breaking up the infrastructure and set a section alight.

Several prisoners made attempts to escape but were unsuccessful after the area was flooded with law enforcement officials.

Eleven persons sustained injuries, two of which were taken to the Georgetown Public Hospital and later released.  One of them was accused of assaulting a prison officer during the incident.

In ruling out the fire being politically motivated, Samuels said there has been a heightened state by prisoners most recently.
Only recently, there have been three apprehensions within the prison and one civilian arrested for attempting to deliver drugs to the prisoners.

The expansion of the Mazaruni prison which was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic is being looked at again with the aim
of recommencing construction. The facility would be able to hold a maximum capacity of 200 additional prisoners during the first phase.