Granger announces post-jailbreak emergency plan

The construction of secure temporary structures to accommodate displaced inmates of the razed Camp Street Prison is among the measures in an emergency plan agreed to by the National Security Committee (NSC), President David Granger announced to the nation last evening.

In a brief televised address, Granger outlined the four-point emergency plan agreed to by members of the NSC, which had met twice since the events of Sunday afternoon’s jailbreak.

The NSC received up to date reports on the death, destruction and displacement caused by the fire set by rioting prisoners.

Granger said that the agreed four-part emergency plan comprised the construction of temporary structures to safety and securely house prisoners in the short term and protect the population; the completion of recovery operation to account for and accommodate every single prisoner; implementation of legal measures to immediately reduce the prison population; and, importantly, the immediate recapture of the five inmates, who escaped custody.

President David Granger yesterday convened a second meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) following Sunday’s riot at the Camp Street Prison. Granger is flanked by Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo and Minister of State Joseph Harmon. Also present are Commissioner of Police Seelall Persaud, Fire Chief Marlon Gentle, Deputy Head of the Guyana Defence Force Colonel Nazrul Hussain and Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney General Basil Williams. (Ministry of the Presidency photo)

Granger told the nation that the Guyana Defence Force, the Guyana Police Force, the Guyana Prison Service and the Guyana Fire Service are working together to ensure public safety. “A manhunt is being executed, air and ground patrols are being conducted and vigilance has been heightened on roadway and at key points,” he stressed, while also lauding the security forces for their response and the ability to limit casualties.

He commended security forces for their resolute response to the emergency under difficult circumstances, containing the situation and limiting the loss of life. “They have been working around the clock,” he said while expressing condolences to the relatives of slain prison warden Odinga Wain Wickham, who was killed in the violent breakout.

The NSC, the President informed, will be meeting again and will continue to implement immediate measures to ensure that “the situation remains stable and secure and that there is a return to normalcy.”

Five prisoners are believed to be on the run after the escape. Three have been identified as convicted mass murderer Mark Royden Williams and murder suspects Uree Varswyk and Stafrei Hopkinson Alexander.

Commissioner of Police Seelall Persaud told reporters during a press conference on Sunday that from information gathered it is believed that Williams was the mastermind of the breakout.

CCTV footage in the prison shows what happened but it has not yet been fully analysed. Prison Director Gladwin Samuels revealed that Williams was seen along with Varswyk, while “one person had his face wrapped in some piece of cloth so from the CCTV footage he could not have been identified.”

Persaud believes that Williams orchestrated the ruckus at the prison with help from fellow inmates, simply because he “wanted his freedom” and would stop at nothing in getting it.

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