Guards were too friendly with inmates -report
June 5, 2002
Articles on Mashramani Day Jailbreak
A breakdown in discipline and procedures and the lack of exposure to post-entry training of the prison guards at the Camp Street were highlighted as contributing to the Mash Day escape, according to the commission that enquired into the jailbreak.
The commission's report has also made a number of recommendations to improve security at the facility, which is located in the centre of Georgetown. The commission's report was handed over to Minister of Home Affairs Ronald Gajraj on Monday.
The five escapees - Andrew Douglas, Shawn Browne, Troy Dick, Dale Moore and Mark Fraser - in escaping from the prison, killed one prison guard and critically wounded another. They are still at large and are suspected of involvement in a range of crimes since February 23.
According to informed sources, the report said that on the day of the escape, a large percentage of the guards on duty were women and that the five, though classified as dangerous, were allowed to mix with the general prison population.
The report said that none of the officers on duty called attention to, or was alive to the danger, the presence of the five in the general population posed to prison security. It said that they were seen moving around the yard and even engaged some of the guards in conversation.
The report, the sources said, commented on the management of the Camp Street facility, charging that because of the overcrowding, prison officers felt that they had to be friendly with the prisoners. It concluded that as a consequence of this "friendliness" the guards trusted the prisoners to follow the procedures and did not enforce observance of them.
This, according to the report, led to a breakdown in discipline, which the top officers excused, blaming the shortage of staff and the overcrowding of the prison.
The report also blamed the inexperience of the prison officers, explaining that they seemed to have been exposed to a minimum of training after what they received on joining the service. It also commented on the composition of the staff of the prison and the need to raise the level of remuneration to attract more men to the service.
Former chancellor of the judiciary, Cecil Kennard OR, who chaired the commission of enquiry, handed over the report to Minister of Home Affairs, Ronald Gajraj, on Monday. Lieutenant Colonel Christine King of the army; Snr Supt of Police, Frederick Caesar; former deputy commissioner of police, Sultan Kassim were some of the other members of the commission.