City Prison riot leaves 16 dead; Panel to Investigate says Ramjattan

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Trouble at the Camp Street Prison in Georgetown started late Wednesday (March 2, 2016) evening when inmates at “Capitol A” set fire to the building following an earlier inspection in that section.

It was during that search 19 mobile phones and an undisclosed quantity of narcotics were retrieved by Prison Authorities causing the prisoners to react in such a manner says Vice President and Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan.

According to Superintendent of Prisons, Kevin Pilgrim the prisoners used their bed mattresses to start the after the illegal items were confiscated by prison officials.

Today (March 3, 2016) the prisoners decided to send a louder message by setting more fires, this time causing 16 inmates to lose their lives while five others received minor burns and smoke inhalation. The second fire was started just before noon.

Superintendent of Prisons said “for the period of last night a total of 9 fires would have been set by the hands of the persons within the capitol “A” division, through the assistance of the members of the Guyana fire service to extinguish those fires”

Director of Prisons Carl Graham said “all that was possible, was done to prevent that fire” and describes the ordeal as “unfortunate and tragic.”

Capitol “A” is where persons who are committed to stand trial and remanded to prison are usually held. Camp Street prison was originally designed to accommodate 600 inmates, but presently 984 individuals are locked in prison.

Minister Ramjattan announced during an emergency press conference at the Ministry of Presidency that a three-person panel will be establised to investigate the true causes and reasons of the matter.

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