17 Killed Prisoners Remembered with Candle Light Vigil
Family members of the 17 prisoners who met their fiery deaths during the recent Prison riot were remembered on Sunday evening at a candle light vigil outside the walls of the Camp Street Prison.
Mournful hymns were sung as those gathered demanded justice and called on the authorities to properly investigate what went wrong on that unfortunate Thursday morning.
The vigil was conducted with the heavy presence of Police Officers and members of the Guyana Defense Force.
The prisoners died during an in-house protest, when inmates in a section of the prison called “Capital A” set fire to their mattresses in objection to an earlier inspection.
During the search, Prison officials were able to confiscate 19 mobile phones and an undisclosed quantity of narcotics, causing the prisoners to become agitated.
Reports suggest that the prisoners used their mattresses to start the fire demanding to have those illegal items returned, according to Superintendent of Prisons, Kevin Pilgrim.
In response, Public Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan and Minister of State Joseph Harmon met with several of the inmates to hear their concerns on Friday last.
Following that meeting a three-member Commission of Inquiry was announced to begin its work immediately to find out the causes and circumstances that led to the disturbances at the Prison.
Already, Prisons Deputy Director Gladwin Samuels has been asked to proceed on leave on the basis that he was one of the senior officers on duty when the prisoners died.
According to Minister Ramjattan it “is not any indictment on Samuels at all” but rather “it’s about a winsome opportune moment for him to go on leave.”