Prisoner has broken ribs, leg after beating over drugs

A remanded prisoner was left with broken ribs and a fractured leg after allegedly receiving a beating from prison authorities following a drug find.

Stabroek News was told that Roscio Mercurius, who is on remand on a charge of carnal knowledge, was reportedly beaten after he was identified as the owner of marijuana and cocaine found on a prison officer at the Camp Street jail on Saturday. The officer is alleged to have told his superiors that the drugs belonged to Mercurius.

Attempts by this newspaper to contact Prison Director Dale Erskine for a comment proved futile but according to reliable sources the prison officer is now under arrest and is likely to be charged soon.

In a statement issued by the Government Information Agency (GINA) last evening, Erskine is reported as saying that a story in yesterday’s Kaieteur News suggesting that the beating of prisoners was creating tension in the facility was misleading, provocative and dangerous. In the statement, Erskine does not address the alleged beating of Mercurius, only saying that whenever searches are conducted prison officers are instructed to conduct themselves in a professional manner.

According to Charmaine Pierce, Mercurius’ reputed wife and the mother of four of his ten children, although he was seriously injured during the beating he is yet to be taken to the hospital for medical attention. She said she saw him early yesterday morning and he moved with the aid of a crutch. She said that Mercurius’ eyes were watering and he said that it was as a result of the beating he received.

Pierce said her husband told her that the prison officer was caught with the illegal drugs early Saturday morning and he immediately told his superiors that it belonged to prisoners and one of them he named was Mercurius.

The inmate, who has been cooking for condemned  prisoners since he was remanded 15 months ago, told Pierce that the officers beat him and told him he had to accept that the drugs belonged to him even though he kept denying it.

“He can’t walk on he own and dem ent  taking he to the hospital – if you hear he groaning in pain…” the woman said yesterday. She said initially she was denied permission to see him but after she persisted she saw him and was shocked at his condition. She said that the man cannot sit up without assistance.  Mercurius was a seaman before being remanded to prison.

Meanwhile, Erskine told GINA that yesterday’s Kaieteur News report, headlined “Riot brewing at Camp Street Jail following beating of prisoners” seemed to stem from increased surveillance to remove unauthorized items including cellular phones from prisoners. Erskine, GINA said, described the Kaieteur News as irresponsible, saying it “plays into the hands of the prisoners” and makes it difficult for officers to carry out their duty.

Erskine appealed to media houses to be more responsible in their reporting on the prisons.
GINA noted that last year, government acquired a baggage scanner for the Prison Service. The scanner is capable of thoroughly inspecting all paraphernalia entering and leaving the Camp Street Prison but some prisoners have been innovative and are finding ways to bypass the system.

Recently a volunteer worker at the prison was charged for trying to smuggle prohibited items into the prison and several prison officers have met the same fate for engaging in similar activities.

Assault leads
to disorder
at NA prison
Police yesterday said that at the New Amsterdam Prison, female prisoners on Sunday afternoon damaged several windows and doors of cells in the female section of the prison following the assault of one prisoner by another whom she had reportedly denied sexual favours.

According to the release investigations revealed that a female prisoner who is serving a ten-year sentence for manslaughter made sexual advances towards another female prisoner who is serving a three-year sentence for trafficking in narcotics. “Her advances were refused, whereupon she began kicking the other prisoner about her body,” the release said.

As a result of the assault on the woman other female prisoners became enraged and began to damage windows and doors while demanding that the aggressor be removed from the prison. “Order was quickly restored by the prison officials supported by the police.

The female prisoner in question was taken to Georgetown by prison officials while the victim was admitted a patient at the New Amsterdam Hospital,” the police said.

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