Improvised weapons, among more contraband unearthed at New Amsterdam Penitentiary

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Some of the illegal items unearthed

A number of illegal items including a number of improvised weapons were on Tuesday afternoon unearthed at the New Amsterdam Penitentiary by ranks attached to both the Prison Service and the Guyana Police Force following their most recent raid.

According to Prison Director, Gladwin Samuels, the search was conducted between 16:45h and 18:12h and spearheaded by Assistant Police Superintendent, C. Singh.

The items found consisted of eight improvised weapons; 146 Ziplock bags containing marijuana to the total quantity of 292 grams; five cigarettes; seven lighters; six cellular phones; 12 phone chargers, and three SIM cards.

“This is yet another in our series of searches to make the prison safer. Please note that efforts are constantly being made to prevent the items from entering the prison,” Gladwin Samuels said.

The smuggling of contraband items into prisons remains a pervasive problem within the system.

Nevertheless, authorities have been working to curb the practice, and those efforts have resulted in several prison officers being caught facilitating the illegal trade, which is said to be a “big business”.

In fact, Samuels disclosed during a press conference earlier this month that five prison officers have been relieved of their duties after they had been fingered in the May 1, 2018 incident in which a parcel containing cannabis had been thrown into the Lusignan Prison Holding Bay area.

“…We also have five officers who have been interdicted from duty following the May 1 matter at the Holding Bay, where our CCTV footage would have revealed that a number of what is suspected to be contraband items were thrown into the Holding Bay facility… Based on the reviews we would have conducted, it is clear that the officers were working in collusion with each other in order to facilitate the movement of the suspected contraband into the prison,” he explained.

Samuels further disclosed that legal advice has been sought from the Director of Public Prosecutions on the way forward; and he has decried the behaviour of such ranks.

“It is quite disturbing! It is quite embarrassing, to have to face these situations on a daily basis. But this is not a situation whereby the prison administration is failing to act. The reality of it is, despite we would do vetting and so forth, these prison officers are drawn from communities…and for some strange reason, despite they’re given their dos and don’ts, they allow themselves to be sucked into the financial gains that these activities can bring you,” he said.

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