First Published March 30 1988

Readers Mail Bag

THE INMATES at the Georgetown Prison are calling for the setting up of a Parliamentary Committee — of all parties in Parliament, as well as the Guyana Council of Churches, the Guyana Human Rights Association and the TUC to urgently investigate certain practices at the Georgetown Prison.

The inmates are calling on President Desmond Hoyte to set up this Committee and also to visit the prison to get a firsthand look.

Firstly, despite the good work of the Senior Supt. of Prisons, Mr. Donald Mentis who is doing his best to upgrade the facilities, a number of officers at all levels are disrupting the plans.

The inmates are calling for an investigation into the kitchen where head cook Lewis, would like to improve the food quality but is meeting with all kinds of obstacles.

The stores need to be managed by a Public Servant and not a Prison Officer.

The attitudes of some officers, especially some in the Reception Section, need to be looked at.

The inmates are also calling for an investigation into the Prison Hospital where certain practices involving certain officers and prisoners including a well known prisoner are in full progress. The system of transferring (and not transferring) prisoners to the PHG also needs urgent investigation and overhaul. Also, prisoners sometimes do not receive all the drugs allocated.

The inmates believe the printery, art, craft and carpentry shops, chain link fencing unit and the tailor shop can be made economically viable and not only teaching units for the benefits of prisoners but a money earner for the prison.

A proper agricultural project near the City should be set up. There is need for a proper welfare officer and more library, video and cultural activities.

The sleeping accommodation, health and sanitary conditions, and illegal sale of drugs, the dining hall and remand areas Number One and Two need to be looked at.

The attitudes of Prison Officers in all areas should be made a priority. Some need to be transferred. The Georgetown Prison is a nightmare and a proper investigation is needed now.

Since my release on bail on March 9, 1988 I’ve written the Minister of Home Affairs about the problems in the Georgetown Prison.

I was in Prison when I saw a Prison Officer throw hot porridge on a prisoner and despite letters to the authorities nothing has been done about it.

Please publish this letter because President H.D. Hoyte and the government are not aware of the conditions at the Georgetown Prison.




I WRITE this letter both as a Roman Catholic and a Director and founder member of the Stabroek News.

As a Catholic, I strongly repudiate the article in OUR issue of March 26 in which Dr. M.Y. Bacchus advocates the legalising of abortion in this country. I think the doctor has said it better than I can in quoting Pope Pius XII as to the immorality of abortion. His argument that abortion goes on anyhow and is dangerously and improperly done in back streets, could be used to legalise other forms of murder.

As a founder member of the Stabroek News, I also feel very saddened that our Women’s Page Editor wrote and I quote, “that we should not allow emotion and morality to cloud our vision.” I certainly hope that morality will always “Cloud the vision of the Stabroek News.”



‘EDITOR’S NOTE: Needless to say, we respect the strongly held views of Mr. de Freitas and other Catholics on the abortion issue.

We do not normally interfere with the women’s page or the arts page which are left entirely to their respective editors.

The opinions expressed and articles published on those pages do not reflect the opinion of the editor nor, indeed, of our directors and shareholders.

We are aware of the heated ongoing debate in other climes on this major social problem. Both sides advocate their position with great conviction. In the final analysis, everyone must make their own decision based on religious conviction or other criteria.


The Small Businessman

Shortages A Blessing In Disguise

Body Repairmen Become More Inventive

THE shortage of body repair materials and spare parts has not only put a lot of pressure on the vehicle repair industry but has also brought some good with it.

Take the case of Saywack’s Motor Repairs of Campbell Avenue, Campbellville.

In the business since 1972, Managing Director Saywack says he has seen and experienced a gradual reduction in the availability of spare parts and repair materials.

And with it has come some incredible prices which are normally out of reach of ordinary car owners.

“But,” says Saywack, a former foreman at Guyana Gajraj Repair Department, “this situation has forced us to use our initiative in getting around problems.”

He cites the absence of fire gum on the market and says that used crushed stove wicks, ground into powder form, works better than fire gum for exhaust repair.

“Before also, we would not have knocked out a small dent on a car, but would just apply filler and spray it. Now we would take time to beat it out and prepare the surface. this would give the customer a better job. I think that because of the price everybody has to conserve on materials,” says the proprietor.

Saywack attributes his success to tight managerial control of his five man staff, and loyalty from them through welfare oriented practices on the premises.

“You can’t employ too many strangers in a business like this. You would get cleaned out. When 1 am not there my son is in charge and I also have my brother-in-law with me. The two other fellows are very nice, but you must have someone to take over when you are not there.”

Saywack says he could reduce work­shop-time quite a bit if only he could acquire a small lathe to recondition brake hubs and other parts.

“If I get all the materials for a body repair job before 1 start, we could complete the job in three full days.”

The workshop has had the experience of seeing customers applying for bank loans to help meet the mounting costs of car repairs.

“Things are very expensive. There are a few traders who check with me every now and then to see what I want. Other than that I have about 10 customers with their cars at home waiting to get the parts before we make a start,” the Managing Director observes,

He agrees that there is a future in the body repair industry. “I do between 10 to 15 cars a week if 1 have the parts,” he observed.


Richards Laments Slow Pitches In WI


WEST INDIES cricket captain Vivian Richards has lamented the fact that slow wickets are still being prepared for matches in the West Indies.

He said that it is difficult to understand why the trend of having slow wickets particularly at Bourda and Queen’s Park Oval is persisted with.

Richards said that the West Indies usually have to encounter disadvantages of pitches prepared to suit the strengths of home teams whenever they play outside of the Caribbean but it is strange that the same thing does not happen here.

He declared that fast wickets should be prepared because the strength of the West Indies rests in the fast bowling area and the batsmen were properly equipped to play pace bowling.

The West indies captain however, said that his team will continue to approach the situation of unfavourable pitches positively as they have always done.

Meanwhile, Manager of the Pakistan team Intikab Alam has blamed the nature of the itinerary for Pakistan’s performance in the One-Day International series.

He says that the four-day matches should have been played before the One-Day series so that Pakistan would have had a real opportunity to acclimatise.

Unlike Richards he says that the Bourda pitch is a good one and because of its nature Pakistan is likely to play two spinners in the One-Day International and first Test match.

Around the Web