– steps being taken to address issues facing Lusignan inmates
EXTENSIVE renovation and placements of tents are being done at the Lusignan Prison as over 70 inmates who tested positive for COVID-19 have been relocated to a government facility for isolation on the East Bank of Demerara.
This is according to Adviser to the Minister of Home Affairs on the Security Sector, Harry Gill.
On Tuesday, the Health Ministry confirmed that 140 inmates at the Lusignan Prison were diagnosed with COVID-19, following an ongoing screening campaign at the facility.
The situation at Lusignan was worsened earlier this year, following a fire which destroyed one of the facility’s main buildings which housed an administrative office, kitchen and facilities for approximately 185 to 190 prisoners.
In order to ease congestion, Gill said steps are being taken to improve the living conditions of inmates as the Lusignan Prison is extremely crowded and this has resulted in the high infection rate of COVID-19 at the facility.
On a visit to the East Bank of Demerara facility being used to isolate inmates, the security adviser said he had a lengthy discussion with some of the inmates and many of the concerns were raised with the Minister of Home Affairs.
“The prisoners at the facility were well behaved and issues that were raised will be discussed and addressed with the minister and a system will be put in place for prisoners to voice their concerns and they can also write and someone at the ministerial level can address their concerns,” Gill told the Guyana Chronicle.
He continued: “I don’t want prisoners to feel they are locked up and no one cares, I want a system where concerns are addressed as much as possible.”
Adding that a major concern for all inmates was the delays faced before the courts, Gill said the relevant authorities would have to address such situation as that deals with another branch of government.
Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn, has announced that government will be building a new, modern detention facility to house inmates of the Lusignan Prison, which has been overrun and crowded since the Camp Street Prison fires.