GEORGETOWN – Twenty-two prisoners who were remanded to the Georgetown Prison were granted bail on Monday as a means of easing the congestion in the penal system.
The prisoners who were behind bars for minor non-violent offences were offered bail as six magistrates held special bail hearings at the Lusignan Prison where hundreds of prisoners were taken following Sunday’s devastating fire and prison break at the Georgetown prison.
Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan told reporters that other major decisions will include the relocation of over 1 000 prisoners from the Lusignan facility.
He said the prisoners have been in open spaces even as efforts are afoot to make them comfortable until they can be transferred to the Timerhi, New Amsterdam or Mazaruni prisons.
Ramjattan acknowledged that the inmates are still exposed to the elements but said that tents and temporary accommodation are being established.
He added that on Monday, the Civil Defence Commission delivered tents, water and food items to the prisoners.
Police Commissioner, Seelall Persaud also promised that the prisoners at Lusignan will see significant improvement within the next 24 hours.
“There are five that are still at large. Four of the five we have confirmed their identities and we are still to confirm the identity of the fifth person. We had information that has been partially confirmed of one escapee sighting in Georgetown” he said.
Meanwhile, a 22-year-old man who was reportedly kidnapped by four of the prison escapees on Sunday afternoon and forced to drive them away from the prison, has been found alive and safe.
According to police reports, Matthew Shivtahal was found late Monday by investigators.
He was questioned by police then taken for medical checks at a city hospital. He had no serious injuries according to relatives.
His mother, in an interview with News Source Guyana said she received a call from the police just after 10 p.m. (local time) on Monday.
“I am thankful, very thankful. That is my only child so I am very happy he is alive and well”, the mother said.
On Sunday, a major fire engulfed the prison during a jail break. Security officials reported that four prisoners who are on the run, are believed to be armed and dangerous.
The security personnel say road blocks have been set up in several parts of the city and a major joint services operation has been launched.
It is suspected that there might have been a number of casualties as a result of the fire.
It was just after 4 p.m. (local time) on Sunday that fire was seen in one of the sections of the jailhouse just after reports surfaced about the prison break.
The prison was built to accommodate just over 600 inmates but for several years, it has found itself overcrowded by more than 400 inmates.
At the time of Sunday’s jailbreak and fire, there were 1 018 prisoners at the facility. (CMC)