The opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) yesterday said that President David Granger and his government cannot evade blame for the Camp Street Prison jailbreak and fire.
“These horrific incidents occurred under the President’s stewardship,” the party said in a statement, while adding that the latest incident ensued from his government’s failure to implement the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into the fatal fire at the prison last year when 17 inmates died.
“Despite the valiant efforts of the men and women of the security forces, the seemingly unrivaled incompetence of the Granger-led government continues to put the security of Guyana and Guyanese in jeopardy. The prevailing fear and uncertainty will further exacerbate the distressing economic situation with devastating consequences for all,” it added.
The statement followed comments made by President Granger in an interview with the state-run Guyana Chronicle, where he absolved Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan of blame for Sunday’s breakout and the destructive fire.
The PPP said that in light of both the deadly fire last year and the breakout by six inmates on Sunday, when a prison officer was killed and others were injured, it found the president’s comments irresponsible and insensitive to the fear that has gripped the country.
“More so, it is an insult to the intelligence of Guyanese and a callous attempt to absolve himself and his Administration from any semblance of blame, not only from these incidents, but for the ineptitude in governance that continues unabated since the coalition took office in May 2015,” it said.
The party accused the government of having a proclivity to shirk from its responsibility and cast blame, including at the PPP, for the “unacceptable state of affairs the country has been plunged into.”
“It appears that the coalition government is obsessed with passing blame in an effort to mask its lack of vision and inability to manage the affairs of the State,” it said, while adding that the excuse of a lack of funds for important national endeavours, including prison reform is “most laughable” when billions have been and are being spent on “non-priority areas,” including Jubilee Park, a green fence at the Ministry of the Presidency and what it called extravagant overseas travel.
“The PPP therefore urges the government to stop shifting blame and to take responsibility for the consequences of its incompetence,” the party further said.