Commission of enquiry meets today
Winfield's condition remains the same
Stabroek News
March 5, 2002

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The commission headed by former chancellor of the judiciary, Cecil Kennard, to enquire into last month's prison escape will meet today to look at the statements taken by the police.

The commission requested copies of the statements to allow it to determine who, among those interviewed by the police, would be called or whether it would summon additional witnesses.

The commission met on Friday but Kennard said that was just to allow the members of the body to get acquainted.

Kennard said that the while the commission's proceedings would be closed to the public, he would issue a brief statement on the progress of the enquiry after every session.

Asked whether a lawyer would be assisting the board of enquiry in its work, Kennard said he felt that someone would need to assist the commission in the presentation of the evidence.

The board of enquiry has been mandated among other things to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the escape on February 23, by five prisoners described as dangerous; the culpability of any person(s) for the escape and to make recommendations as to the appropriate disciplinary action to be taken against those found to be culpable; and to look at the existing security arrangements with respect to the custody, management and control of prisoners classified as dangerous.

Among the other members of the commission are Lt Col Christine King of the Guyana Defence Force, Detective Senior Superintendent Frederick Caesar, and Security Coordinator, Ministry of Home Affairs, Sultan Kassim,

Meanwhile, numerous questions arising since the daring Mash day jailbreak during which 21-year-old prison officer Troy Williams was killed and his colleague Roxanne Winfield, 37, and a mother of three was critically injured, remain unanswered as a countrywide police manhunt for the five escaped felons continues.

Foremost among these questions: (1) Are the men still in the country? (2) If so, what are their means of survival? (3) What sort of progress has the police made in the manhunt so far?

Police Public Relations Officer, Assistant Superintendent David Ramnarine confirmed yesterday that the hunt was still on for the five escapees and the police force has since beefed up its public awareness campaign, which he claimed would help greatly.

Ramnarine said that the search parties include ranks of the regular force as well as the Target Special Squad. He said the search was not confined to a specific location.

Williams was laid to rest on Friday. However Winfield's condition was reported to have deteriorated, with the results of five of a series of seven tests carried out by Trinidadian neurosurgeon Dr Richard Spann on Saturday to ascertain the functioning capacity of her brain, giving little cause for optimism.

Yesterday Winfield's husband paid a brief visit to the hospital and her relatives remained at home troubled by reports of her deteriorating condition. However, they continue to hope that a miracle would bring about an improvement in her condition, maintaining that with God everything was possible.

The hospital authorities have restricted the visits Winfield once had. During the course of last week visitors were allowed in pairs in the Intensive Care Unit, but since Saturday visitors have been restricted.