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Thursday, June 18, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Five prison officers were injured during
a retaliatory attack by prisoners at the
remand section of the Golden Grove
During the attack, one officer was beaten
severely, one stabbed in the forearm, another
received a cut on the face, the others cuffed,
kicked and another officer s teeth were bro-
ken. The injured officers were taken to the
Eric Williams Sciences Complex, Mt Hope.
T&T Guardian was informed that an
inmate attempted to take one of the officers
However, he was able to evade capture
and was taken to hospital.
One officer, the T&T Guardian was told,
begged for his life after he saw his colleagues
being beaten. Prison sources said prisoners
used makeshift weapons to attack the offi-
cers. Those include "shanks" made out of
sharpened tooth brushes and metal objects.
A prison source said around 6 am yes-
terday while prison officers were trying to
deliver breakfast to the inmates, the officers
Prison authorities said the attack followed
a search for contraband items on Tuesday
A senior prison officer, who was not
authorised to speak to the media, said prison
guards searched the Remand Yard where
they discovered makeshift weapons, cell-
phones and narcotics.
According to the officer, the inmates, in
an attempt to defend their stash, attempted
to assault the prison officers. In the fracas
one prisoner was beaten.
An inmate informed T&T Guardian that
the riot followed an incident where the pris-
oners were soaked with water during the
night, which prevented them from sleeping.
One inmate, said a fellow prisoner, who is
also an Imam, was badly beaten inside the
After the initial riot, the prisoners bar-
ricaded themselves in a part of the Remand
Yard. The officer said the prisoners even
created shields to prevent the officers from
storming their area.
Before midday T&T Guardian was
informed senior prison officers were trying
to negotiate with the prisoners to end the
A statement from Commissioner of Pris-
ons Sterling Stewart yesterday stated: "A
few inmates attempted to obstruct officers
from carrying out a search.
"The situation is now under control and
a quantity of improvised weapons, cellular
phones and other contraband items were
found and confiscated."
Prison officials suspended the visiting
hours for all male inmates. People who
claimed to have been waiting since 3 am to
see their relatives were forced to return
Around midday the riot ended. Reports
state a number of inmates also were injured
during the riot. The officer informed T&T
Guardian 15 inmates were responsible for
The prison officers remain alert in case
any further unrest may occur.
Five injured in retaliatory attack
JENSEN LA VENDE
Secretary of the Prisons Officers Association,
Gerard Gordon, yesterday said the slow pace of
cases being heard and determined contributed
to the volatile environment among remand pris-
"This place is a hell hole for both the inmates
and the guards and I am personally fed up of going
to funerals of prison officers who die from stress
of this job. This situation will get worse," Gordon
said in a telephone interview.
He said the prison was built to hold 300 inmates
but was housing up to 1,000. He said there were
more people on remand than convicts.
Speaking with the media outside the prison yes-
terday Lystra Alexander, who said she left her Point
Fortin home some two hours before sunrise to visit
her son, said she was told only female inmates
were allowed visitors.
"I came here since 4 am and they said riot inside.
I have a son inside and they not saying anything.
I have things to give him and they not letting us
"The prison officer who spoke to us said he not
sure of what going on and they have to wait till
someone higher to inform us. I am worried that
he may have been one of the perons injured,"
Another relative, who asked not to be identified,
said: "Technically they tell us they have no visits
today and people here since 3 am and we wait till
midday and they still eh know what going on?
"No information about the prisoners. Let us
know what going on. Tell us who get damaged so
we know what to do because we hearing from
sources inside that it s all 40 persons who may
have been injured but when you ask the officers
they don t know anything," the relative added.
The riot disrupted the process of taking prisoners
to court and those affected had their matters
Slow pace of
Association on attack:
Prisoners, accompanied by prison officers, return to the Golden Grove Prison, Golden Grove Road, Arouca, yesterday after doing work on
the outside. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
at Arouca prison Two years ago, following the shooting death of
off-duty prisons officer Andy Rogers in Malabar on
November 7, 2013, there were riots behind bars by
prisoners who claimed victimisation.
In response, a nine-member committee headed
by Prof Ramesh Deosaran, was mandated by
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to look into
the conditions at the prisons and submit a report.
The committee met and recommended then
that the Government build a new remand facility
within 18 months, implement full body scanners at
prisons so all who entered would be searched, have
cellphone jammers installed and provide clothing
for accused who were on remand.
Some the recommendations are in the process
of becoming reality.
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