Police probing Sunday’s jailbreak at NA prison

Stabroek News
December 13, 2002

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Police in New Amsterdam have been called in to investigate Sunday’s pre-dawn jailbreak at the New Amsterdam prison when double murder accused Gogo Ramotar escaped.

Thirty-four-year-old Ramotar of Cromarty Village, Corentyne, East Berbice, fled the prison facility through its fence sometime between 4 am and 5 am on Sunday.

Up to press time he remained at large.

Police Public Relations Officer, Assistant Superintendent David Ramnarine said yesterday that detectives from New Amsterdam were continuing to investigate the circumstances of Ramotar’s escape. A report is expected to be completed at the end of the probe.

Police in the Ancient County, Ramnarine told Stabroek News, have carried out a number of searches since the prisoner’s escape from lawful custody. Contacts have also been made with prominent persons in Ramotar’s home village but few useful leads have been garnered, Ramnarine said.

Prison Chief Dale Erskine had earlier confirmed that the prison authorities had invited police to investigate the matter.

“Somethings need to be explained.....and it is better to let a body outside the prison system look at it,” Erskine told Stabroek News.

As a precaution against further jailbreaks “infrastructural works and additional things,” some of which might have been overlooked prior to Sunday morning’s event, are being examined, Erskine said.

Prior to Sunday’s jailbreak, the NA facility was regarded as a very secure prison from which no one had succeeded in escaping.

However, there is always an unguarded moment, Erskine said, while suggesting that authorities there have to face up to the likelihood of such occurrences.

Prison security has come under intense scrutiny since the February 23 jail-break in which five dangerous criminals fled. Their escape was followed by a frightening crime spree in which 11 policemen have been killed, numerous householders and businesspersons murdered, businesses robbed and several persons kidnapped and held for ransom. Three of the escapees have died as a result of separate shooting incidents.

Ramotar who had been charged with the murders of Gajraj Matadial and a Chinese national in 1999, was discovered missing during a shift change.

He is said to be of medium build, five feet seven inches tall, of brown complexion and walks with a limp.

Ramotar had been linked with Hilton Rodrigues, called ‘Chammar’ who was killed by police during a shoot-out in the backlands of the Corentyne Coast in March 2000. During that confrontation Police Constable Allan Higgins was fatally wounded.

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