LETTER: Govt must accept responsibility for prison breakouts


Dear Editor,

Should not the coalition Government be held accountable for the spate of prison breaks and riots? And where are the objective critics on the handling of the prison problem? They were very critical of PPP but have lost their pangs now.

There was one prison break (2001) under the previous Government and it was lambasted left, right and center for alleged incompetence. Even when there was use of force in 2012 in Linden, the PPP administration was assailed for incompetence for not preventing the violence.

And with regards to the 2001 prison break, we have learnt about the connection between those escapees, certain communities, certain political operatives and drug lords and drug money. The escapees were termed ‘freedom fighters’ and supported by many opposed to the government of the day as the escaped prisoners created havoc by murdering scores of innocent Guyanese. The PPP government was assailed, perhaps justifiably, for its handling of the entire episode.

Fast forward now, in the two years of this current Government, there have been four prison breaks or riots so far – Camp Street twice, Lusignan and the Juvenile Center in the Essequibo. In fact, there have been ongoing problems at Lusignan with several breakouts. No one has been held accountable for any riots or breakouts. Under the previous regime, there was a call for heads to roll for the prison breakout. Now, not only are the previous critics silent, but they see no fault on the part of the current government and are saying this spate of prison breaks should not be politicised.

To its credit, the current opposition is on record as saying they will not support the escapees or make political mileage as their opponents did when they were in power. The government must accept responsibility for the breakouts and riots and stop blaming others. In addition, the government must work with the opposition and civic society to address prison issues.

Yours faithfully,

Vishnu Bisram



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