EYEWITNESS: New designs…


…for the “big jail”

While the Camp St Jail was conspicuously said to be “very old” – 132 years – not many have commented as to whether its inevitably old design had contributed to the periodic insurrections by prisoners over that time. Mostly, we heard about the “crowded conditions” and, of course, the planned breakouts. Anyhow, now that “boat gone a watah” and the jail’s been razed by the inmates, the Government has been forced to speed up recommendations for a new facility — to be built away from the city.

In the meantime, it was with great glee that Public Security Minister Ramjattan announced that, within a week, the prisoners sent temporarily to the Lusignan Prison would be housed in a “structure”. Up to now, as was exposed by the press, the 500 or so prisoners were left in what can only be described as a “cow pasture”. This wasn’t only because of the verdant vegetation and puddles, but evidently the actual presence of grazing cows — one of which was unfortunately lassoed and brought to the ground cowboy-style before allegedly being chopped up and barbequed.

Your Eyewitness assumed the restive prisoners became hungry and literally took matters in their own callused hands. Only a couple of days earlier, they had chopped up a number of prison guards, one of whom perished. Not much has been heard of him, save a few desultory expressions of “sorrow” by the Minister.

 None of the reports elaborated, however, on what the “prison authorities” were doing at the time to bring some order to the goings-on, even if only to ensure the killing was sanitary. The matter of where the tools to butcher the cowering cow had come from was also unexplained, but your Eyewitness doesn’t believe the prisoners were allowed to bring their “improvised implements” from Lot 12, Camp St. So he wonders whether the culture of allowing contraband isn’t confined to Georgetown, and is now part of the countrywide prison culture.

 There’s now talk about a multi-billion-dollar new prison to be built at Mazaruni, but we know that’s going to take years and years to be completed. In the meantime, there’s that “temporary” structure at Lusignan. Maybe — as is the modern trend — because the architects were attempting to not make it clash with the surrounding ambience, the structure can best be described as a large “cow-pen”. Of course the term “holding pen” is popularly used in the US to refer to jails — harking back to the enclosures for keeping cattle before they became dead meat!

 What does all of this mean? Simply that the authorities still don’t get the idea that confinement of prisoners IS their punishment.

 No need to treat them like animals.

…in Guyana telecommunications

What’s going on with both Digicel and GTT cutting back staff? Nothing more than inexorable progress in the workings of our free market economy, dear reader. Back in 1990, when Desmond Hoyte privatised our moribund and comatose telephone company, a new US company, ATN, saw an opportunity, took a gamble, and bought it. They invested and brought in new technology; made a bundle, and invested elsewhere and became a giant (for us).

The technology improved into mobile phones. Digicel, a new Irish company, saw an opportunity, made an investment, made a bundle, and expanded further – sometimes at the expense of GTT. But that’s the way the free-enterprise cookie crumbles; and like the “moving hand that writes”, technological changes don’t stop. These cut back on profit margins for companies already in the game as they try to keep up with 2G to 3G to 4G to 5G…and beyond, against new players.

 If we believe things are rough here, just take a look at the shakeout in India’s telecommunications sector!

…in tax collections?

The GRA Chief’s satisfied his outfit is capable of collecting taxes — Exxon’s taxes from our oil. Your Eyewitness agrees.

 According to the contract, the Guyana Govt has to pay the taxes!!



This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.