Dragnet spreads for `Blackie' gang
- slain Prison Officer to be buried today by Wendella Davidson
Guyana Chronicle
March 1, 2002

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THE police dragnet widened yesterday for the killer gang which fled the Georgetown Prisons Saturday and at least five persons remained under questioning, sources said.

The young Prison Officer killed by the gang which also shot a female officer in the head, is to be buried with full military honours today with prison officials from the Caribbean scheduled to attend the funeral in Stanleytown, New Amsterdam, Berbice.

The five armed and dangerous members of the notorious `Blackie' criminal gang hijacked cars in their daring and well-planned escape and were still on the run yesterday.

Sources said the police have questioned prison officers and civilians in connection with the jailbreak.

Yesterday, five of them, a Prison Officer, two female employees of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) and a brother and sister of one of the escapees, Shawn Brown, were still being detained, they said.

A heavy dragnet has been set up and the police have been combing several areas, including backlands, for Mark Fraser, Andrew Douglas, Brown, Troy Dick and Dale Moore. They are linked to the notorious Linden `Blackie' London who was killed in 1999 when he was cornered in an East Bank Demerara guest house in a joint Police-Army operation.

The slain Assistant Prison Officer (APO), 1925 Troy Williams, who was stabbed when the five broke out of the jail, will be buried in his hometown Stanleytown.

The late 21-year-old prison officer is to be accorded full military honours and according to a Prison's Special Order issued by Director of Prisons, Dale Erskine, the Guyana Police Force Corps of Drums and the Joint Services choir will be in attendance.

Erskine said yesterday that the heads of sister prisons in Barbados, St Kitts and Nevis, and the Turks and Caicos have all expressed sympathies to the Guyana Prison Service following the killing which has sent shock waves throughout the prison fraternity.

He said the Director of Prisons in Barbados, Colonel Nurse has indicated that two officers from the island will represent his department at the funeral today.

Erskine said the body can be viewed at the Merriman's Funeral Home at 42 Stanleytown, from 11:00 hrs to 13:00 hrs, following which it will be taken to his residence at Lot 51 Stanleytown where it will remain from 13:25 hrs to 14:25 hrs.

The body will then be taken to the Grace Temple, Assemblies of God Church, Pope Street, for a funeral service scheduled to start at 15:00 hrs before being interred at the Stanleytown Cemetery.

Co-workers, family members, including his mother and father Alexis and Elvis Williams, have all said the late officer was a quiet person.

Speaking with the Chronicle two days after the slaying of her eldest child, Mrs. Williams said, "I never wanted him to join the Guyana Prison Service. I always had a fear that something bad would happen to him."

The young man was initially stationed at the Mazaruni Prisons, but in a quest to further his studies, sought a transfer to Georgetown to be able to attend the Critchlow Labour College where he was a student at the time of his death.

The mother of eight said she last saw her son in December when he travelled home to be with the family briefly, but spoke with him via telephone as late as the Tuesday before Mash Day when he was killed.

During the conversation she had requested that he travel to Berbice to join the family in celebrating a sister's birthday on Mash Day, she recalled.

He, however, told them he was detailed to work and couldn't make it.

Roxanne Whinfield, the female Prison Officer who was shot in the head by the gang, remained in critical condition yesterday in the Intensive Care Unit of the Georgetown Hospital.