The first witness who was called to the stand today by the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the deadly rioting at the Camp Street Prison stated that he had no knowledge of any attempt by authorities at the penitentiary offering to rescue the inmates despite their cries and pleas for help.
Dwayne Lewis, a prisoner who is presently on remand for manslaughter, during today’s public hearings testified that members of the Guyana Prison Service (GPS) did not make any effort to attend to the fire last Thursday, nor did they assist prisoners whose lives were being threatened.
Lewis told the Commission that he was unaware of any attempts by the prison administration to offer assistance to prisoners despite their repeated calls for assistance. He said he was in the very cell where the fire began but was unaware of how or who started the blaze, which resulted in the death of 17 other inmates.
With regards to the seizure of the cellular phones and narcotics which were unearthed during a raid at the lockups the day before the tragic incident occurred, the prisoner said that the items should not have been taken away from the inmates in the first place.
According to Lewis, having access to the cellular phones and drugs brought a sense of ‘comfort’ and ‘calm’ to those who are/were behind bars since many of the inmates are beyond frustrated.
He contended that the presence of these items within the walls of the Camp Street Prison help in ‘maintaining order’.