Prison escapee Douglas makes taped statement
Says he was getting no justice
Stabroek News
May 10, 2002

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VCT Channel 28 last night aired a taped statement by notorious prison escapee Andrew Douglas in which he said he had broken out of jail because he had been incarcerated since March 2000 and was not getting justice. Shortly after the broadcast, police descended on VCT's Quamina Street studios seeking a copy of the tape for which arrangements were duly made. This is the first public statement by any of the escapees since their February 23 breakout from the Georgetown Prison during which a guard was murdered and another seriously injured. Since their escape, Douglas and four others have been linked to a series of bullet-riddled, high-profile robberies and there has been an intense operation to recapture them. Several persons have identified them during the attacks and reported this to the police. They are also believed to be linked to the attack in which Police Superintendent Leon Fraser was killed. Douglas and his fellow escapees Dale Moore, Shawn Brown, Mark Fraser and Troy Dick were charged on Wednesday for the attack and robbery on Patrick Seebaran last Friday in Campbellville. The police have also offered a reward of $10M for information leading to their arrest.

VCT stated that it was in no way associated with the production of the tape nor was it condoning the acts of criminals by airing it.

Douglas, dressed in army fatigues and clutching what appeared to be a gun, made a plea for justice while saying that he is a peaceful citizen. He did not say anything about the other escapees nor did he say anything about the death of the prison guard and the injury to the other guard. He declared that he was not out of prison to commit robberies.

Wearing a red baseball cap and apparently reading from a statement, Douglas said that he was resident in Suriname when he was brought back to answer a number of charges which were wrongfully instituted.

Consequently, he was placed in prison in March 2000 and has since been waging a battle to regain his freedom even writing to President Bharrat Jagdeo and Minister of Home Affairs Ronald Gajraj, who belatedly responded, assuring him that once innocent he would not be convicted.

The prison escapee, who appeared to tremble during the taping, further appealed to members of the public to understand his fight which he said was one for justice for himself and others locked away in jails awaiting trials.

He also spoke about the arrest of his brother - following the jailbreak - at his Buxton backdam farm by police after a raid in search of the escapees.

He also claimed that he was kidnapped by a named police officer from Paramaribo and brought to Guyana and that he keeps in his possession his Surinamese passport # R856533.

Since being returned via the Corentyne River in short pants and a vest, he claimed no one cared about his fate and this forced forced him onto the prison roof to protest his innocence. After nothing happened he said he decided to break out of the prison.

The statement appeared to have been taped in a dark room or at night and appeared to be the work of an amateur. The police are likely to be very interested in how, where and by whom the statement was taped. The taping is further substantiation of the police claim that the prison escapees are being aided and abetted by a number of people across the country.

When the police arrived at VCT, they requested to speak to news anchor and editor Tommy Rhodes. After waiting briefly at the gate they were escorted up to the presenter after he had completed his broadcast at which time they requested the original or a duplicate of the tape. Rhodes told them that the station did not have a copy but that it could facilitate them with one and the police left to collect a blank cassette to record the statement.

Rhodes also informed the officers that calls had been made to the Police Public Relations Consultant, Royston King alerting him to the fact that VCT was in possession of the tape and would be delivering it to police headquarters today after airing it.

The officers however stated that Commissioner of Police (ag) Floyd McDonald was not aware of this development.