Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn, on Saturday made an impromptu visit to the Lusignan Prison. Minister Benn while there reviewed the damage done during a recent fire at the facility along with the facility designated for a COVID-19 isolation region.
The Minister was accompanied by the Director of Prisons, Gladwin Samuels, Assistant Director of Prisons, Kevin Pilgrim and other Senior Officers of the Guyana Prison Service. Engineers from the Ministry of Home Affairs and Guyana Prison Service, as well as other staff from the Ministry were also on location.
In a release from the prison service, it stared that among the issues discussed was the administration of the prison population, security challenges and COVID-19 concerns. Some recommendations for meeting some of the challenges were also discussed.
The future dialogue will entail discussions surrounding the construction of additional areas so that social distancing can be practiced, and better supervision and management of the prisoners can be conducted; according to the release. The Prison Directorate and engineers were also tasked with detailing the development plans for the Lusignan location.
The Minister also visited the kitchen area and the livestock sections and was provided with some insight into what can be achieved if requests for additional land and other resources are approved.
It was noted “He was also brought up to date on the current status for court hearings at the various levels – Magisterial, High Court and Court of Appeal. Inmates made some representations on accommodations, court hearings, legal assistance, food, familial visits, recreational diversions and counselling services.”
Minister Benn expressed concerns with regards to the condition of the facility, stating that it is in an unsatisfactory state. The Minister committed to working with all concerned to bring measurable improvements, not only to Lusignan, but also to the Georgetown, Mazaruni, New Amsterdam and Timehri Prisons on a timely basis.