Police on Friday night arrested prison escapee, Desmond James on a dam at Canal Number 1 Polder, West Bank Demerara.
Police said at around 22:50hrs Friday acting on information ranks proceeded to an abandoned house on a access dam at Canal # 1 WBD where Desmond James was arrested. He indicated that he was heading to Essequibo and was found with a knife and a few pieces of clothing, police said in a brief statement.
Security forces were able to confirm on Thursday that six Georgetown Prison escapees were on the run. With James being arrested the five now on the lam are: Mark Royden Durant called Royden Williams or “Smallie”; Uree Varswyck known as Malcolm Gordon; Stafrei Hopkinson Alexander; Cornelius Thomas and Cobena Stephens, called “OJ.” Police believe that the first four mentioned are travelling together while the other two are separate.
The Georgetown Prison, which was built to accommodate 600, was holding 1,018 inmates on Sunday. But after fire ripped through the correctional facility that day, authorities were forced to relocate more than 1000 of them to a walled field neighbouring the Lusignan Prison on the East Coast.
For much of Friday there was heavy police presence in Victoria, East Coast Demerara where it is believed some of the escapees might be hiding out. A Guyana Defence Force helicopter provided aerial cover while ground troops patrolled the forested backlands. Up to late Friday afternoon no one was arrested, but ranks are convinced that the men might be lurking somewhere in the area.
On Friday Public Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan sought to assure the nation that every effort is being made to recapture the escapees – all of whom are murder accused and/or convicts. “Every effort is going to be made to catch those six escapees. The joint services will be doing their best to hunt them down and bring them in” the minister said.
This was also the assurance of Police Commissioner, Seelall Persaud, who shared that the joint services are currently conducting several operations to recapture the escapees. “…at a joint services level, we have embarked on several operations which are consistent with the plan,” he said. That plan which he referenced, is an operational plan developed by the joint services to be presented to the National Security Committee. The objectives of the plan are to ensure: security of the prisoners; security of the prisons; to recapture the six escapees; and to restore order in the prisons.
According to Persaud, that operation, along with the others, is intelligence-led.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the escapees are asked to contact the nearest police station. It is a criminal offence to harbour fugitives.