At Least 16 Killed in Prison Fire in Guyana

One prisoner is dead and at least six other prisoners were badly burnt about their bodies during a fiery midday protest inside the Camp Street Jail in Georgetown Fir in Camp street jail

At least 16 prisoners died in a fire Thursday as they protested overcrowding and other issues inside a prison in the capital of the South American country of Guyana, authorities said.Inmates set two fires during a riot in the most secure section of Georgetown Prison as guards swept the lockup and seized drugs, cell phones and other items, said Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan.”We have a crisis on our hands,” he said. “Long delays in trials have caused much frustration and vexation among prisoners.”

The first fire was set late Wednesday using mattresses and was extinguished with no injuries reported. The second fire was set Thursday around noon and led to the fatalities, officials said.

Ambulances were seen entering the facility’s main gate, and authorities said at least eight prisoners were hospitalized for burns and smoke inhalation. Officials were seen carrying at least one prisoner by the feet and shoulders with burns on most of his body.

Hundreds of people lined up at the prison gates to take food to inmates and seek information about relatives inside.

Camp Street PrisonThe colonial-era prison holds nearly 1,000 prisoners even though it was built to hold about 450 inmates. Previous fires have been set at the prison in recent years to protest conditions, but none had caused fatalities.

Ramjattan said a prison in Guyana’s interior will be prepared to ease overcrowding of prisons in Georgetown. It is unclear how soon inmates would be transferred.

He said a three-person committee will be created to investigate the fatal fire.

Other News Sources: The Fire Service had to be summoned to the jailhouse as some of the prisoners set fire to mattresses during the protest.

The fire was quickly extinguished but the prisoners could be heard loudly voicing their concerns about the length of time it was taking for many of them to face trial and have their cases heard. Some of them also shouted concerns about the conditions they have to face in the camp street jail which continues to be overcrowded.

Over the years, there have been various assessments which all recommended new facilities to be built to accommodate prisoners and there have also been recommendations for speedy trials. Some prisoners have been on remand for years, awaiting a date for their trial to commence.

Just recently a new wing for the jailhouse was constructed.

Just after 1:00pm, A’ Division Commander Clifton Hicken confirmed the discovery of six dead bodies. He said investigators suspect there may be many more and searches are underway in the room where the fire took place.

A source close to the Camp Street jail told News Source, that prison officials suspect that there may be as many as 15 to 20 dead prisoners in total as a result of the fiery protest which erupted on Thursday midday.

News Source understands that President David Granger has summoned senior Prison, Fire and Police Officials to his office for a full briefing.

The protest at the camp street jail began on Wednesday night. It reportedly erupted after prison officials conducted a surprise raid and were able to unearth a number of illegal items including phones and improvised weapons.

Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan said inmates had set fire to their mattresses to protest against conditions inside Camp Street prison.

He said they were protesting about overcrowding and delays for prisoners awaiting trial.

Mr Ramjattan said the protest had begun after a raid by police officers on cells looking for contraband.

Ambulances have been taking injured prisoners to hospital and hundreds of people came to the prison gates to find out about relatives inside.

On Wednesday, the Fire Service was called twice to douse a blaze in the capital offences section 1 of the prison. The same area erupted with the protest again today.

Members of the Guyana Defence Force and the Police Force were seen increasing their presence around the jail as the joint services.

President David Granger has summoned a high level meeting with senior Police, Prison and Fire officials and other security officers as the death toll in the Camp Street prison fire continued to climb on Thursday afternoon.

A full investigation is underway and security has been beefed up around the jail. Several roads close to the jail have been completely closed off to traffic.

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One prisoner is dead and at least six other prisoners were badly burnt about their bodies during a fiery midday protest inside the Camp Street Jail in Georgetown Fir in Camp street jail

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At least 16 prisoners died in a fire Thursday as they protested overcrowding and other issues inside a prison in the capital of the South American country of Guyana, authorities said.Inmates set two fires during a riot in the most secure section of Georgetown Prison as guards swept the lockup and seized drugs, cell phones and other items, said Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan.”We have a crisis on our hands,” he said. “Long delays in trials have caused much frustration and vexation among prisoners.”

The first fire was set late Wednesday using mattresses and was extinguished with no injuries reported. The second fire was set Thursday around noon and led to the fatalities, officials said.

Ambulances were seen entering the facility’s main gate, and authorities said at least eight prisoners were hospitalized for burns and smoke inhalation. Officials were seen carrying at least one prisoner by the feet and shoulders with burns on most of his body.

Hundreds of people lined up at the prison gates to take food to inmates and seek information about relatives inside.

Camp Street PrisonThe colonial-era prison holds nearly 1,000 prisoners even though it was built to hold about 450 inmates. Previous fires have been set at the prison in recent years to protest conditions, but none had caused fatalities.

Ramjattan said a prison in Guyana’s interior will be prepared to ease overcrowding of prisons in Georgetown. It is unclear how soon inmates would be transferred.

He said a three-person committee will be created to investigate the fatal fire.

Other News Sources: The Fire Service had to be summoned to the jailhouse as some of the prisoners set fire to mattresses during the protest.

The fire was quickly extinguished but the prisoners could be heard loudly voicing their concerns about the length of time it was taking for many of them to face trial and have their cases heard. Some of them also shouted concerns about the conditions they have to face in the camp street jail which continues to be overcrowded.

Over the years, there have been various assessments which all recommended new facilities to be built to accommodate prisoners and there have also been recommendations for speedy trials. Some prisoners have been on remand for years, awaiting a date for their trial to commence.

Just recently a new wing for the jailhouse was constructed.

Just after 1:00pm, A’ Division Commander Clifton Hicken confirmed the discovery of six dead bodies. He said investigators suspect there may be many more and searches are underway in the room where the fire took place.

A source close to the Camp Street jail told News Source, that prison officials suspect that there may be as many as 15 to 20 dead prisoners in total as a result of the fiery protest which erupted on Thursday midday.

News Source understands that President David Granger has summoned senior Prison, Fire and Police Officials to his office for a full briefing.

The protest at the camp street jail began on Wednesday night. It reportedly erupted after prison officials conducted a surprise raid and were able to unearth a number of illegal items including phones and improvised weapons.

Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan said inmates had set fire to their mattresses to protest against conditions inside Camp Street prison.

He said they were protesting about overcrowding and delays for prisoners awaiting trial.

Mr Ramjattan said the protest had begun after a raid by police officers on cells looking for contraband.

Ambulances have been taking injured prisoners to hospital and hundreds of people came to the prison gates to find out about relatives inside.

On Wednesday, the Fire Service was called twice to douse a blaze in the capital offences section 1 of the prison. The same area erupted with the protest again today.

Members of the Guyana Defence Force and the Police Force were seen increasing their presence around the jail as the joint services.

President David Granger has summoned a high level meeting with senior Police, Prison and Fire officials and other security officers as the death toll in the Camp Street prison fire continued to climb on Thursday afternoon.

A full investigation is underway and security has been beefed up around the jail. Several roads close to the jail have been completely closed off to traffic.