Probe launched into alleged beating of Camp St inmate by prison guards

By Desilon Daniels


The Guyana Prison Service has launched an investigation into the alleged beating of a prisoner after he set a mattress on fire in order to draw attention to his medical condition.

Director of Prisons Welton Trotz told Stabroek News that the internal investigation into the accusations levelled against a number of guards at the Camp Street prison is underway.

Calvin Bailey was admitted to prison in 2007, accused of murdering an 18-month-year-old child. He is currently awaiting a retrial after his last trial ended with a hung jury. He was reportedly asthmatic since childhood.

In a recording, Bailey explained that his illness had made prison life much more difficult, especially when he was placed in solitary confinement.

On May 10, Bailey said, he had been placed in solitary confinement “for security reasons” and had made multiple requests to be removed due to his asthma. However, his requests were reportedly ignored. “I told them that I needed to see the chief or get medical attention because I wasn’t breathing well,” he said.

Bailey explained that in an attempt to gain attention he lit the mattress. “That’s when they start coming in a drove to the strong cell,” he said, while noting that all the while he was calling out for attention.

He said that he was beaten with batons by about eight officers. He added that he was also beaten by another prisoner. He maintained that the fire had been very small and had caused no damage. He, in turn, suffered two fractures to his right arm and one to his left.

However, Director Trotz denied that Bailey had been placed in solitary confinement but he revealed that guards are allowed to exercise some form of force in such cases. Trotz, however, said that he was unaware of any claims of Bailey being beaten by prison guards.

When questioned about provisions made for prisoners suffering from some form of illness or disease, Trotz explained that special conditions are laid aside. However, he said, “If you misbehave, you have to be treated the way you misbehave for.” He continued, “So if he needed to be placed within solitary confinement, then he must be placed there, even with his asthma.”


Atmosphere of fear

Pearl Bailey, the mother of Calvin, is far from satisfied with the harsh treatment that she believes has been meted out to her son.

Since his return to prison last week Tuesday, Pearl explained that her son is being ill-treated. Now, she said, he has no mattress to sleep on.

Activist Mark Benschop, who helped the woman bring her son’s plight to the light, said there is a need for the matter to be properly dealt with before it escalates further.

Benschop, who had been imprisoned at the facility until he received a pardon, said, “I’m hoping that those who are responsible, especially those officials at the Ministry of Home Affairs, can take these concerns very seriously”.

According to Pearl, she had been contacted several times to not have the matter publicised. Benschop stated that the requests are typical of prison officers.

“Oftentimes what you have happen is that the officers would love to cover up and they have given their version of what has happened and in doing so they attempt to cover up,” he said. “When you check Calvin’s side of the story with the officials’ side, you can see that something is not adding up with what the officials want us to know.”

Benschop also opined that there is an atmosphere of fear surrounding cases such as Calvin’s.

“When a situation like this happens, family of those in the prison are afraid to come and expose the ills that are happening there because they feel that if they do, their relatives in there will be penalized. And these sort of things need to stop.”

Benschop also noted that those inside are not the only ones to be penalized. “They also penalize those who are going to visit or who are going to take some sort of support,” he said.

Pearl agreed and said that since the incident, she had suffered victimisation as well. Pearl also said that she is waiting on official word on any launched investigations.

Latest in Local News

default placeholder

Body found in rubble of Wales fire

At 01:30hrs today, police say that a fire destroyed a home at Wales, West Bank Demerara, and the body of an unidentified person was subsequently discovered among the rubble.

default placeholder

Exxon Mobil says second well confirms `significant’ oil find

Exxon Mobil Corporation today said that drilling results from the Liza-2 well, the second exploration well in the Stabroek block offshore Guyana, confirm a world-class find with a recoverable deposit of between 800 million and 1.4 billion oil-equivalent barrels.

default placeholder

Proposed law bans smoking in public places

Proposed tobacco control legislation will see a ban on smoking in public places while cigarette advertising will no longer be allowed and pictorial and text health warnings will have to be displayed on at least 75% of the packaging on tobacco products.

default placeholder

$800M in specialty hospital steel ‘awarded’ to BK

Government needs to explain why about $800 million worth of steel and other equipment that were earmarked for the now-frozen specialty hospital project, went solely to businessman Brian Tiwarie, former President Donald Ramotar says.

Ezekiel Murray

Truck driver jailed for three years for crash causing child’s death

Clyde Barker, the truck driver who was accused of running over 12-year-old Ezekiel Murray along the Friendship Public Road last year and causing his death, was yesterday sentenced to 3 years imprisonment.

default placeholder

Businessman jailed and fined over gun, ammo possession

A businessman was yesterday sentenced to two years imprisonment and fined $100,000 after being found guilty of illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.

default placeholder

Business minister ‘in denial’ over economic ‘crisis’

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday said that Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin is in denial about Guyana not being in an economic crisis.

Kevin Joshua

Man found guilty of disfiguring teen in acid attack

Kevin Joshua, who doused a schoolboy with acid and left him disfigured, was on Tuesday found guilty by a jury of inflicting grievous bodily harm on the youth.


About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: