Updated on Friday March 4, 2016, 23:45 by Denis Chabrol
Calm was restored at Georgetown Prison late Friday morning as a delegation of prisoners met with two senior government ministers and reached a negotiated settlement of three days of unrest that left 17 dead and nine injured .
“I would believe it, I would think it. I think it was an important step… We think it was a very useful commitment and I think it will benefit the whole security situation not only here in the prison but in the country because people have families and their families. families are concerned about what is going on here so we think what happened here this morning will ease the situation a bit, ”Minister of State Joseph Harmon told reporters.
More than 12 prisoners met with the Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan and the Minister of State, telling them about the poor conditions in Camp Street prison, limited telephone communications with families, poor quality of food and inhumane conditions inflicted on them by members. of the Guyanese Prison Service.
They claimed that several of the prisoners had been burned alive.
Ramjattan said the prisoners had promised to end the unrest that began Thursday evening. “They promised they would calm down now that they have seen two senior government officials,” he said. The Minister of Public Safety rejected suggestions that the government might appear weak in meeting the prisoners and giving in to their demands. “Absolutely not, it is meeting them to answer their requests and I think it is a useful thing to talk to them and to hear their versions too because indeed they could speak to the prison authorities and the prison authorities. listen and not act, “he added. he said.
Ramjattan said some of the concerns were “very credible”, but it was too early to say whether any prison officers currently stationed at Georgetown Prison would be redeployed.
Harmon echoed Ramjattan’s report on the talks that the prisoners assured they would do everything possible to convince the other inmates to ease the unrest. “The important thing is that they gave us the commitment that when they re-enter the prisoners, they will speak with the other prisoners to make sure that there is no further escalation in what is happening. is happening this morning, so I think we have sort of a gentleman’s agreement on both sides. We are going to try to hold our end of the bargain and they are going to hold theirs, “said Harmon, retired Lt. Col. Guyana Defense Forces (GDF).
After more than an hour of talks, Ramjattan said some of the issues such as the quality of food and telephone communications would be addressed immediately and action would be taken to address the others by the commission of inquiry. “This commission of inquiry will start hearing complaints from prisoners as soon as possible and I want as many prisoners as possible to give proof of what is going on and the systems in place and all with the aim of remedying what is happening. ‘they’re complaining about,’ he said.
He hopes detainees will take the opportunity to testify before the three-member board, which could be appointed on Thursday.