Ramjattan angered at ongoing smuggling into prisons

The cannabis plant (centre) that was found during a raid at the Lusignan Prison (Police photo)

The increasing cases of smuggling into prisons across the country has left Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan angered.

 “…You get angry at what’s happening, you feel a sense of despair but really it just goes to show the quality of some of our prison officers that allow that to happen”, Ramjattan told reporters on Friday when questioned about his thoughts on the situation.

He said he has been engaged in talks with Minster of Finance Winston Jordan for the allocation of funds to purchase scanners for the entrances of these facilities in the next Budget.

“I now have to get technological about the thing, you have to get scanners at the doors that can pick up these things because I don’t think you can collude with scanners but the thing has to get that far now and I have been speaking to the Ministry of Finance for the next budget process 2019 that we buy scanners for those doors that are entry and exit points at these prisons”, he said.

While nothing that the required equipment is expensive, Ramjattan said that he hopes that persons would not by-pass the scanners too. “That’s another problem but we are going to have cameras to ensure that people will be seen trying to by-pass”, he added.

The Guyana Prison Service is continuing to grapple with the rampant smuggling of items into prisons. Several warders have been accused of involvement and charged.

Two Saturdays ago, the police in `C’ Division were summoned following the discovery of a cutlass and a knife outside of the north eastern fence of the holding bay at the Lusignan Prison.

Director of Prisons (ag) Gladwin Samuels had said that reports had indicated that the weapons were allegedly seen in the possession of an inmate who was disarmed by a fellow inmate.

Samuels had said the items were tossed out of the holding bay. After a report was made to officers on duty, a search was conducted in the area which led to the recovery of the weapons. Both the cutlass and knife appeared to be new.

Prior to this, about two weeks ago, Joint Services ranks conducted a three-hour search of the Lusignan Prison and found improvised weapons, cellphones, cellphone batteries, phone chargers, phone cards, cannabis, cannabis seeds and a cannabis plant, among other items.

In another instance, a plot to smuggle contraband items, including cannabis and phones into the prison, was thwarted.

While a suspect fled, three bags containing cannabis, cigarettes, cellular phones, and lighters, among other items, were found.

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