COVID-19: Over 50 prisoners released, Ramjattan wants to free ‘lots more’


By Isanella Patoir

Over 50 prisoners from the Camp Street Prison in Georgetown, the Lusignan Prison, East Coast Demerara and the Mazaruni Prison were freed in an effort to reduce the prison population due to the COVID-19 crisis.

This is according to the Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan.

“I want as many as I can possibly do and the law allows me one-third of their sentencing before they can be considered…I will be urging that lots more of them be released.

“I am pretty lenient in relation to that,” Ramjattan told the News Room during an interview Friday.

He said the prisoners were released about three weeks ago.

He explained that the majority of those released were in prison for possession of narcotics.

“They were in for largely possession of narcotics… and there was some minor larceny (and) assault and you had some more serious offences.

“But based on the recommendation by the superintendent they too were released.”

Ramjattan explained that those released would have served one-third of their sentences and they were also selected because of good behaviour. This decision was made by the Minister and Director of Prisons Gladwin Samuels.

Ramjattan said he informed the Chairman of the National COVID-19 Task Force, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo of this decision.

Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan

“The minimum requirement is one-third of their time, some of them served more.

“…I was asked to give a no objection and I give a no objection,” Ramjattan stated.

The News Room understands that Ramjattan also gave the all clear for some persons to be released based on recommendations by the Parole Board.

“…they got parolees that were released and the others based on COVID-19 circumstances,” Ramjattan said.

Meanwhile, to ensure that the prisoners have no contact with the deadly virus, Ramjattan said Prison Wardens and officers are now living inside the prison compounds

“There is a strict no entry policy into the prisons during this time and no one is allowed out.

“We had the Prison wardens and Prison officers in line inside of the prisons with them so they cannot come out and meet their families, probably get contaminated and then go back inside,” Ramjattan said.

This, however, he said is proving to be costly as they now have to feed a number of Prison Officers.


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