By Richard Bhainie
A prison officer and two prisoners are under investigation by the Guyana Police Force following the recent discovery of contraband at the Lusignan Prison, East Coast Demerara, on Monday.
Deputy Director of Prisons, Nicklon Elliot, on Tuesday, informed the Guyana Chronicle that based on the report he has received, on the day in question, a prison officer accommodated the prisoners to work on the farms. Upon their return, the search was conducted and a number of items were discovered.
The items discovered were 490 grammes of suspected cannabis, one cellphone with simcard, one earpiece, 29 packets of cigarettes, a quantity of Ziploc bags, 12 smoking papers, a quantity of tobacco leaves and $30,000.
He explained that in keeping with the zero-tolerance policy of the Prison Service in relation to persons involved in corrupt activities, criminal charges and necessary disciplinary action will be instituted against the officer and prisoners, upon conclusion and based on the findings of the investigation.
Elliot stressed that while there are a number of systems in place by the Prison Service to prevent illicit activities at all the prison locations, prison officers have an imperative role to play in relation to their supervisory duties.
“It comes down to the level of supervision on the part of the ranks, so once the ranks have been found culpable of not properly supervising the prisoners while they are outside of the prison, and even inside in some cases, we will institute criminal charges depending on the level of investigation in relation to the matter,” he said.
In December, 2020, three prison officers were charged departmentally for neglect of duty and were under investigation for criminal conduct, in relation to the discovery of 553 grammes of cannabis, cigarettes, 5-year-old rum, Guinness and other contraband items found in the possession of two prisoners while under supervision of a prison officer.
The Deputy Director of Prisons related that the Prison Service is working to improve security of the prisons at all locations, and will continue to maintain its zero-tolerance policy in relation to corrupt activities.