Escapees still at large
- Willems
Stabroek News
March 3, 2002

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Even as investigations into the Mash Day jailbreak continue, several questions remained unanswered as to the actual trail of events leading to the escape of five dangerous felons from the Georgetown Prison on Camp Street.

Initial reports, including a police press release on the day of the incident, had suggested that both officers had received wounds as a result of gunshots from one of the escapees.

It was also stated that the injured female officer, Roxanne Winfield had received her injuries under unclear circumstances.

On Friday, at the funeral of murdered prison officer, 21-year-old, Troy Williams, Director of Prisons, Dale Erskine, had stated that he had prevented other inmates from escaping by throwing the keys back into the yard.

Speaking to this newspaper yesterday, Erskine stated that the position in the yard where the keys were retrieved, along with the injuries sustained by Williams, which included stab wounds to his back and cuts on his fingers pointed to him throwing the key into the yard. However, he declined to provide any further details other than to state that they were still piecing together evidence from the jailbreak upon which to build a picture as to the events of the unfortunate day.

Erskine was optimistic that the ongoing probe by a commission of enquiry appointed to investigate circumstances leading to the breakout would see the truth being revealed.

Evidence associated with the jailbreak obtained by this newspaper from sources stated that Winfield was manning an inner gate while Williams was at the outer gate when the attack occurred.

The unnamed prison source had related that on the fateful day one of the escapees, Shawn Browne (whom the police release said had shot both officers) came out of the self-support division. (Prisoners who receive food and other items from relatives use this area.) This area was said to be located between the two gates.

According to the source, the other escapees had been waiting at an area behind the second inner gate, which was being guarded by Winfield, where about 100 prisoners were engaged in games under supervision of officers.

Meanwhile, a witness recalled seeing the fugitives hijack a car on a nearby street, in full view of the police who retreated when the felons shouted "shoot." This car was later abandoned on Mandela Avenue near the well site and another, carrying a young woman, her baby and her mother hijacked in the vicinity.

This second car was also dumped, this time in Dennis Street not far from the University of Guyana. The trail seemed to have fizzled out, but there has since been a third hijacking, and a robbery of guns from security guards, which seemed to suggest that the escapees have not left the jurisdiction.

Apart from an advertisement in yesterday's Stabroek News, which was placed by an advertising agency, there has been no word from the police as to the status of the manhunt.