At least 10 inmates of the Lusignan Prison were on Monday evening shot and injured after they reportedly protested the deplorable conditions at the facility.
Photos seen by this publication showed several men covered in blood after they were allegedly shot by wardens stationed in the towers around the perimeter of the prison.
A source told INews that the inmates protested the food that was given to them on Monday afternoon. They reportedly threw the food and other utensils at the wards who allegedly retaliated by opening fire.
The prisoners, however, were in the holding area while they were being shot at.
Things escalated after the inmates realised that it was live bullets that the wardens were using.
Based on information received, in addition to the gunshots, the prison wardens allegedly used tear gas thus causing more chaos at the penitentiary.
This publication was was told that there are no water supplies in the prison and that the toilet facilities are unacceptable.
Moments after the riot started, acting Director of Prisons, Gladwin Samuels and Commissioner of Police, Leslie James arrived at the scene with the intention of getting the situation under control.
This riot came mere hours after three prisoners escaped from the facility by scaling a fence while the security officials were reportedly asleep.
Just recently, the Private Sector Commission (PSC) wrote a letter to Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan where it said it was becoming increasingly concerned by a number of issues affecting the prisons in Guyana and, by virtue of this, public safety in the country.
“A recent meeting of the Management Board of the Prisons has highlighted a number of serious matters which we feel should be addressed with utmost urgency. Issues brought to the fore include a general lack of adequate security at all of the prisons, a lack of fire prevention systems, the lack of transportation facilities to enable movement of prisoners and food, where necessary, and the inadequacy of the current complement of prisons to safely house the prison population” the PSC in its letter to the subject Minister highlighted.
Moreover, the Commission said that while it is concerned about the safety and security of the public, “it is also disturbed by the less than humane conditions under which the prison population at the Lusignan Prison is housed. These prisoners are made to sleep under sheds in the open, posing health risks to the prisoners and a danger to the wardens. We are of the opinion that these conditions could also have an impact upon the country’s Human Rights ranking.”
Another burning issue, the PSC said, is the lack of fire prevention systems in the prisons, most of which are constructed of wood.
The Commission said it is concerned that, after two devastating prison fires, resulting in loss of lives and the escape of dangerous criminals, enough is not being done to prevent further fires.
Outlining that the issues will require short and long term solutions, the PSC posited in its letter to Ramjattan that the “vexed question of internal security is one that is hampering investor confidence and one that must be prioritised by our Government. We are, therefore, confident that you will utilise your good office to address this particular aspect of our security.”