THE news of COVID-19 cases at the Lusignan Prison was met with protest from prisoners on Wednesday, Director of Prisons Gladwin Samuels has confirmed.
“They protested by refusing meals this (Wednesday ) morning, vociferously expressing their concern about the presence of the coronavirus in the prison, and by hurling bricks and other objects at members of the Joint Services. Prisoners also aggressively spoke about the need for speedier trials and reduction and granting of bail for some categories of prisoners with minor offences,” Samuels said.
The situation was later quelled by the officer-in-charge of the facility, Senior Superintendent (ag) Deoraj Gyandat, supported by members of the Prison Directorate, other senior staff of the Prison Service, Senior Superintendent, Khali Parsaram, Regional Commander (4C), as well as other senior and junior ranks of the Joint services.
The director of prisons said the inmates were assured that, in partnership with the Ministry of Health, testing will be done starting with persons who have been identified as contact persons to those who tested positive.
Testing has commenced systematically, he said, noting that the rest of the prison population, including staffers, will be tested.
Samuels explained that the Health Ministry had also come onboard to aid with the daily sanitisation of the facility which will be done using chemicals prescribed by the Health Ministry.
This sanitisation, he said, will be done thrice daily. Another quarantine facility has been established so that persons who test positive for the coronavirus can be separated and treated away from the rest of the prison population.
The Ministry of Health has also deployed a team of doctors and nurses to complement the medical team of the GPS. They are also going to facilitate further training of prison personnel so that greater efficiency can be achieved with the daily sanitisation exercises.
“The Guyana Prison Service wishes to thank the prisoners for their cooperation and the service will continue to work with other agencies, especially the judiciary, to address the overcrowding situation,” the director noted.