An early morning search of the New Amsterdam (NA) Prison by police and prison ranks on Saturday yielded five grams of marijuana, five cell phones, a quantity of improvised weapons, lighters and phone chargers.
This search comes on the heels of one conducted on Friday at the Lusignan Prison where officers unearthed yet another set of contraband items, including pepper sauce and syringes.
The search was carried out by ranks of the Joint Services between 05:30h and 08:10h.
Among the illegal items found at the East Coast Demerara penitentiary were six earpieces; a quantity of razor blades; 17 chargers; 24 lighters; five cells phones; a quantity of wire; 10 improvised weapons; eight metal spoons; two pairs of scissors; one plastic knife; two nail clips; six syringes with needles; a quantity of Ziplock bags; six bottles of pepper sauce; one pack of cards; three bottles of medicine; four bottles of oil with suspected cannabis seeds; one memory card; three mirrors and one wrist watch.
Authorities are trying to curb the smuggling of contraband items into prisons, which remains a perennial problem within the penal system.
In fact, Director of Prisons, Gladwin Samuels, disclosed during a press conference last month that five prison officers have been relieved of their duties after they had been fingered in an incident whereby a parcel containing cannabis had been thrown into the Lusignan Prison Holding Bay area.
He said, “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 (them).”
Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan, expressing anger at the increasing attempts to smuggle contraband items into the prisons, has blamed possible collusion between prison officers and inmates.
He noted that requests have been made for the procurement of scanners to be installed at the entry and exist points of the various prison facilities.