Technical Officers were prevented from giving full brief to PPP on prison riot – Edghill alleges

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Opposition Member of Parliament, Bishop Juan Edghill, on Wednesday, said that the Prison Director, Gladwin Samuels and Police Commissioner, Seelall Persaud were blocked from sharing information to the members of the People’s Progressive Party during what was supposed to be a briefing on Saturday last at the Parliament Building.

According to Edghill, when the Opposition met with Samuels and Persaud in the presence of Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan and Public Infrastructure Minister, David Patterson on Saturday, their brief entailed nothing different from what was being reported in the media.

However, he noted that when the members of the PPP sought to question the Commissioner of Police and Director of Prisons on the timeline of the events which unfolded at the Camp Street Prison on July 9 2017, the two Ministers- who he referred to as “Twin Sins”- kept interjecting.

“When we sought to ask questions, and the Commissioner and Director of Prisons started answering [then] the ‘Twin Sins’ of the APNU/AFC Government kicked in, ignorance and arrogance, I call them the ‘Twin Sins’, the impatience and intolerance and the unwillingness to share information [kicked in and] the two technical operation people were shut down,” Edghill explained.

He referred to examples of questions posed to the Officers. “We asked specific questions, like for  example; was there any truth to the fact that members of the media were at the prisons before 16:45, because we read a [news] article on July 10 that says 3:15 [the media] was at the site, having heard of the unrest within the prisons. So the timelines were not correct. [As such] they said none of [the reporters] had ever asked those questions in your press conferences.”

“The second thing we sought to get was, was there any time that the prison officers were not in control of the prison or did the prisoners take command of the prison at any time and start to release people? The director of Prisons started to give us an indication that prison officers were apparently placed in a room and set afire and prisoners had to rescue those prison officers from that room that was set on fire.”

However, the Opposition MP noted at that point, Ramjattan sought to conclude the meeting, telling members of the PPP that the details will be revealed in the Commission of Inquiry.

Nevertheless, Edghill, on  behalf of the Opposition said that they were in full support with the Security Forces restoring order and capturing the fugitives on the run.

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