Guyana – Prisoners threaten riot over treatment
GEORGETOWN –– All is not well at the Mazaruni Prison and both inmates and prison officers are calling for major changes in the management of the facility, which they say has deteriorated to unprecedented levels within the past few months.
At the centre of the concerns are two senior officers who have been at the facility for a considerable length of time and who, according to inmates and wardens, are laws unto themselves.
An inmate, who asked not to be named for obvious fear of victimization, told this newspaper that bad treatment and torture of prisoners were the order of the day at the Mazaruni Prison. He described instances where prisoners actually commit suicide after enduring hours of torture and humiliation.
“The prisoner that hanged himself during last month when it was reported that he was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital, that was not so. The prisoner was beaten and tortured by [named officer] before he hanged himself around 11:30, midday. He was left in the cell and only taken to the hospital hours later where he was pronounced dead at about 16:30 hours,” the inmate stated.
He said that a lot of what took place at the Mazaruni Prison went unnoticed, simply because there was not much supervision from higher authorities, “and the officers here could get away with murder”.
This newspaper was told about a coal pit where prisoners work and the coals are reportedly sold by the officers in charge of the Mazaruni Prison to businesses, without the knowledge of the prison authorities in Georgetown.
“The gas that is given to run the generator at the prison is being sold to outsiders and the prison only gets electricity at nights,” the inmate said.
His observation was confirmed by more than one prison warden at the location.
According to sources at the facility, about 30 prisoners work on the prison farms, but the produce is being sold in Bartica, and there is hardly any left for the prison itself which is supposed to be self-sufficient in these commodities.
“The food that the prisoners eat at Mazaruni is really bad. The fish and some other meat smell real bad. Money that the prisoners work for is being gambled out by the officers,” a prison warden disclosed.
“There is a lot more going on [at Mazaruni] that the administrators don’t know about,” he added. He said that the situation was reaching boiling point and there was already talk of action to be taken by inmates to arrest the situation.
He appealed on behalf of his fellow inmates for an immediate investigation to be carried out there, so that a major riot could be avoided.