The New Amsterdam Prison was on lock down yesterday as authorities intensified investigations into an attack at the facility by an inmate that left four prisoners nursing serious injuries.
Contacted yesterday, Crime Chief Leslie James told Stabroek News that police are assisting the Guyana Prison Service with the investigation into Friday’s attack, in which an inmate used acid to douse other prisoners, who he also chopped with a cutlass.
Prison officials are yet to explain how a prisoner managed to get ahold of acid and a cutlass. No official statement on the incident has been forthcoming from the Prison Service.
James, who yesterday said that the prison was on lock down, stated that police would do routine searches at the prison and a number of items have been found during these exercises.
Four prisoners, Abdul-salam ‘Sato’ Azimullah, 31 of Hampshire, Corentyne and Davendra ‘Bara’ Harricharran, 28 of Nigg, Corentyne and Kwame Bhagwandin, 32, and Clarence ‘Wild Hog’ Williams, both of Angoy’s Avenue, New Amsterdam are all patients of the Georgetown Hospital, where they are being treated for injuries sustained in the attacks.
Following Friday’s attack, which occurred around 5.30 pm, the quartet was rushed to the New Amsterdam Hospital for initial treatment before being transferred to Georgetown. At the city hospital, the men underwent emergency surgeries for their injuries.
Reports are that the well-planned attack was carried out by a convicted prisoner known as ‘Shoulder,’ who is now in police custody. The victims are also claiming that a “prison warden” reportedly gave the key to a prisoner, identified as Ryan Samaroo, who opened a door, allowing the assailant, who had reportedly been placed in solitary confinement, to run in and launch the attack. Another account has indicated that the prison officer might have been choked and beaten unconscious before being relieved of the key.
Harricharran suffered chops to his hand, feet, neck, ears as well as a cut to his neck. Bhagwandin’s face was spotted with what appeared to be acid burns he sustained to his head, face, back and other parts of his body. In addition, his hand was almost severed.
Harricharan’s pregnant wife, Padmini, told Stabroek News yesterday that she and relatives of the other men were not allowed to see them. “We hear that we got to get some pass to see them and we can’t get the pass till Tuesday,” the woman said.
“I am kind of mad because I can’t get to see him to know what going on or what condition he deh in,” she said.
On Friday, Padmini said that a few weeks ago after her husband was arrested police went to her house and ransacked it and took her into custody for the night together with her five-month-old baby. Harricharran was charged with the $10M robbery committed on a Corentyne businessman at a bank at Rose Hall. The woman insisted that her husband was innocent and she said he operates a business selling rice in Georgetown.
Bhagwandin’s partner, Richlyn Smith, had said he was arrested on January 15 in connection with a robbery. He was charged and placed on $300,000 bail and it was subsequently reduced to $75,000. Two days later he was arrested for another robbery that occurred on the East Bank of Berbice.
Meanwhile, Azimullah was committed to stand trial for murder last year.