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Jermaine Gordon under escort at VC Bird Int. airport

One of Jamaica’s most wanted men arrested in Antigua, deported

by STAFF WRITER

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Oct 18, CMC – (Adapted) A magistrate court has ordered the deportation of a 33-year-old Jamaican national, who has been described as one of that country’s 10 most wanted criminals.

Jermaine Gordon, who is wanted on murder and other related charges in Jamaica, appeared before Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh on Tuesday, after he was captured by police here last Friday.  The court ordered that he leave Antigua on Thursday.

Observer Radio quoted the police as saying that Gordon had admitted entering the island by boat illegally and had been residing here for some years.

Jermaine Gordon under escort at VC Bird Int. airport

Gordon is facing at least two murder charges in Jamaica.

UPDATE: Gordon was seen being escorted at V C Bird International airport in readiness to be deported.

Sources say that Gordon who admitted to police he had been in Antigua for several years, when he was arrested at his residence, denied that the picture he was shown as him, until police uncovered a tatoo on his body that matched pictures they had.

 

 

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Jack Warner

Warner loses fight against US extradition

by STAFF WRITER

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Sep. 28, CMC – Former politician and football official, Austin “Jack” Warner on Wednesday, lost his lawsuit challenging his extradition to the United States.

Jack Warner

Warner is wanted by authorities to answer charges of fraud arising out of a Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) bribery scandal.

Delivering a 50-page ruling in the High Court on Wednesday, Justice James Aboud dismissed the claim for judicial review brought by Warner.

That lawsuit challenged the process used by the Office of the Attorney General in signing off on the US Government’s request for his extradition in May 2015.

It now means that the extradition proceedings in the Port-of-Spain Magistrate’s Court will resume.

That matter was on hold while Warner’s challenge was being heard.

There was agreement however for the stay on the extradition proceedings to remain for 28 days to give Warner time to consider whether he wants to appeal the decision.

Indicted by US authorities over allegations of racketeering, wire fraud and money-laundering conspiracies spanning 24 years.

Warner is charged with 12 offences related to racketeering, corruption and money laundering allegedly committed in the jurisdiction of the United States and Trinidad and Tobago, dating as far back as 1990.

Warner claims the case against him is politically motivated and accuses the United States of seeking revenge because it lost to Qatar in its bid to host the 2022 World Cup.

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court rul

ONDCP welcomes Court of Appeal ruling

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Sept 13, CMC – The Court of Appeal of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of Antigua and Barbuda’s civil forfeiture regime, which provides for the forfeiting of the proceeds and instrumentalities of crime without the need for a criminal conviction.

The appeal had been brought by Ahmed Williams after a forfeiture order was made by Justice Clare Henry against his two parcels of real property.

Williams had previously been convicted of possession of cocaine with intent to sell. During his trial, Williams had maintained that his assets were not obtained through money laundering activity, but the Court ruled to the civil standard, that he had engaged in money laundering activity and that the property was on the balance of probabilities the proceeds of crime.

court rulIn his appeal, Williams represented by attorney Dr. David Dorsett, argued that forfeiture under Section 20A(2) of the MLPA amounted to a finding of criminal guilt in civil proceedings in which he had not been criminally charged.  He also argued that civil forfeiture constituted inhumane treatment.

But in its decision delivered by Justice Louise Blenman, the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal of Williams challenging the constitutionality of the forfeiture.

ONDCP director Lieutenant Colonel Edward Croft said he was pleased with the recent decision saying it reinforces the precedent previously established that the AML/CFT Civil Forfeiture Regime in Antigua and Barbuda is on a solid foundation.

In the newsletter titled DISCLOSURE, by Nicola Suter, the Financial Crimes Advisor, US International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Section stated, “This judgment is specifically relevant to Antigua and Barbuda however the issues addressed will be relevant to civil recovery cases across the Eastern Caribbean.”

In a statement, the ONDCP said that the Court, upholding the argument by Justin Simon, QC on behalf of the Supervisory Authority/ONDCP, held that civil forfeiture is separate and distinct from criminal confiscation, the latter requiring a conviction in a criminal court.

“Under the civil forfeiture regime, there is no criminal charge, property may be forfeited if the court is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that a defendant’s property was obtained from money laundering activity. The Court of Appeal held that civil asset recovery is civil in nature.

“It does not therefore infringe protections under sections 15(2)(a) of the Constitution concerning the presumption of innocence and 15(5) of the Constitution concerning double jeopardy,” the ONDCP statement noted.

It noted that on the argument that civil forfeiture constituted inhumane treatment, the Court said that it had been long established that the protections under section 7(1) of the Constitution from inhuman treatment  was a fundamental protection concerned with a person’s protection from bodily impairment and therefore was not related to property rights.

“The Court held that the civil forfeiture regime provides extensive due process guarantees which Mr. Williams took full advantage of. He had a full trial and was given the opportunity to oppose the property freezing order, lead evidence and cross examine witnesses. He was granted the full due process of the law,” the ONDCP statement added.

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Hermangild Francis

National Security Minister in favour of death penalty

CASTRIES, St Lucia, Sep. 14, CMC—National Security Minister, Hermangild Francis, says he has no objection to the resumption of the death penalty here, as long as it continues to remain on the books.

Hermangild Francis
Hermangild Francis

With that in mind, the Minister disclosed that sometime next week he will be visiting the Bordelais Correctional Facility (BCF) to see whether the gallows are functioning properly.

“We need to make an example,” said Francis who has lamented that criminals at times receive a ‘slap on the wrist’ when they are brought before the courts and has indicated that an example should be made of persons who commit violent crimes.

“The criminal code deals with capital murder. How many persons have been sentenced for capital murder? We need to get there,” Francis declared.

Speaking to reporters Thursdsay, Francis pointed out that he was not saying to bring back hanging.

“I am telling you the criminal code speaks about it – this is on our law books. If we as a people do not want  it then we remove it. If it is there, we must implement it – that is all I am saying.”

He observed that people have said that hanging is not a deterrent to crime, but stated that is not his business since the law provides for capital punishment.

The minister also addressed the issue of bail granted by the courts.

“Sometimes the police do what they are supposed to do, the persons are taken to court, they are granted bail and at the end of the day they go back and do the same things.”

He made the comments in response to a reporter’s question about the recent apprehension of an alleged serial rapist at Piaye, Vieux Fort, by residents who tied up  and beat the suspect before handing him over to the police.

An arrest warrant had been issued for the suspect in May this year after he failed to make a court appearance on a rape charge for which bail had been granted.

While declaring that he was not criticising the judiciary, Francis spoke of the need for all of the systems – the executive,  the legislature and the judiciary to work together.

“One person can’t be doing one thing and the other doing another thing,” the former Deputy Police Commissioner explained.

He told reporters that some of the persons in the judiciary must understand that they live in St Lucia.

“They have heard the facts, they have seen what is happening. When you bring somebody before a magistrate or a judge for a firearm offence, we understand the number of firearms that are being used here and persons getting a slap on the wrist and getting away,” the minister observed.

He noted that police officers are risking their lives.

Francis  also recalled this week’s incident on Riverside Road where an off duty police officer in civilian clothing  was shot at when he went after a gunman after a citizen raised an alarm.

According to reports, the gunman opened fire after the officer identified himself and ordered the suspect to stop.

The officer, who was unhurt in the incident, returned fire and the gunman fled.

It was not clear whether the assailant had been hit.

Francis also made reference to another recent incident in which a Security Guard was shot and killed by bandits outside the Caribbean Cinemas complex at Choc Estate.

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ramlogan

TRINIDAD-CRIME-Former attorney general formally charged

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Aug 30, CMC – Former attorney general Anand Ramlogan was on Wednesday formally charged with misbehaviour in public office more than 30 hours after he was picked up at his southern home by police.

ramlogan
Anand Ramlogan

A statement issued by the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) stated that Ramlogan, who served as attorney general here from 2010-15, was charged “with misbehaviour in public office and obstruction of justice arising from allegations contained in a report made by Mr. David west to the Commissioner of Police on January 28, 2015”.

The statement said that the charges were laid against Ramlogan, 45, following consultation with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution and that he will appear in court on Friday September 1, “to answer the charges”. He was released on TT$750,00 (One TT dollar =US$0.16 cents) bail.

Earlier, one of Ramlogan’s attorneys, Senior Counsel Pamela Elder, told reporters that she was disappointed at the lengthy period it had taken to lay charges against him and that ““it is becoming oppressive now because he has been in continuous detention since 6o’clock yesterday and he has been cooperating fully with the police officers”.

The police picked up Ramlogan at his residence in Palmiste, south of here, early Tuesday morning as they continue their probe into allegations that he had sought to pervert the course of justice by asking West, the director of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) to withdraw a statement he had made in support of the then Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Rowley in a lawsuit more than two years ago.

In 2015, then Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar fired Ramlogan and her national security minister Gary Griffith over the allegations.

The lawsuit followed statement allegedly made by Rowley during a news conference relating to the failed extradition involving businessmen Steve Ferguson and Ishwar Galbaransingh, who are reported to be financiers of the United National Congress, and are wanted to the United States on corruption charges.

Ramlogan has denied that he asked David West to withdraw his witness statement in support of Rowley six days before the PCA director took up his new post.

Persad Bissessar said that Griffith had failed to inform her that he had been allegedly asked by Ramlogan to telephone West asking him to withdraw the statement.

Meanwhile, the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago (LATT) Wednesday urged members of the public to refrain from making comments on the detention of Ramlogan. As it chided two politicians for expressing an opinion on the matter.

In a statement, the LATT sought to remind the public of the importance of the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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Court

RINIDAD – Government gets nod to liquidate CFL

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Jul. 26, CMC  – The government has been granted permission to appoint provisional liquidators to preserve the assets of CL Financial as it seeks to recover a $15 billion debt left from the 2009 bailout of the conglomerate’s insurance subsidiaries Colonial Life Insurance Company (Clico) and British American Insurance Company (BAICO).

CourtIn the ruling handed down late Tuesday, appellate court judges Peter Rajkumar, Andre des Vignes and Charmaine Pemberton overturned a ruling by Justice Kevin Ramcharan and granted Government’s application for the appointment of two provisional liquidators.

The court also varied the orders sought by the Government as relative to the powers of the provisional liquidators.

Rajkumar  told the court that the reversal of Justice Ramcharan’s ruling given last Wednesday, was justified and weighed heavily in favour of the application to preserve and protect the further dissipation of CLF assets, in the public’s interest, as taxpayers are the conglomerate’s major creditors.

Based on this ruling, Hugh Dickson and Marcus Wide of international accounting firm Grant Thornton, will be appointed joint provisional liquidators in accordance with provisions set out in the appellate judges’ order.

Senior Counsel Deborah Peake who represented Government at the hearing, insisted the State did not rush to have the company wound-up. “We came to court when it became clear the company does not have the assets to pay its debt,” she said. “An insolvent company is not supposed to be trading.

This company is not temporarily insolvent, this company is chronically insolvent.

“Since 2009, government has been in rescue mode to see what can be done to recover the debt without liquidation. But there comes a time when enough is enough. This application is to stop the haemorrhaging of the company,” Peake said.

The hearing on Tuesday, was deemed urgent by government as there was the possibility that a meeting of CLF shareholders also carded for yesterday, would have seen them appointing Kirk Carpenter and Carlton Reis to the board which would have given majority shareholders control of the board and thus, control of the company.

As it stands, government controls the CLF Board by a four to three margin.

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CCJ

CCJ orders release of men on death row in Barbados

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Jul. 25, CMC – The Trinidad based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), on Tuesday quashed the convictions of the two men  – Vincent Edwards and Richard Haynes  – who sentenced to death for  murder  committed in Barbados in 2006.

The men  were set free on Tuesday, after being imprisoned since 2007.

CCJThey were charged for the murder of Damien Alleyne on July 21, 2007, almost a year after Alleyne’s death on August 11, 2006.

The court records stated that Alleyne was discovered by his girlfriend not far from her residence on the night of August 11, 2006.

She told the police that she heard explosions, which sounded like gunshots and later found him lying on the road. He was pronounced dead shortly afterward.

Following their arrest Edwards and Haynes were  convicted of murder and sentenced the death.

On August 19, 2015, the appellants sought leave to appeal to the CCJ.

The regional court in handing down its ruling,  held that the convictions could not be upheld as the sole evidence presented by the  Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) was “not sufficient to ground a conviction having regard to the provisions and the general spirit of the Evidence Act”.

In a statement, the CCJ said the only evidence linking the appellants to the murder was their alleged oral confessions made to police officers in separate interviews with the officers while at a police station July 19, 2007 –  almost a year after Alleyne’s murder.

“Mr. Andrew Pilgrim, QC argued that there was no case to answer as this sole evidence was unreliable and as such the judge should have dismissed the case against the appellants.”

The CCJ considered whether a defendant may be convicted in circumstances where the only evidence against him is a disputed and uncorroborated oral confession allegedly made to investigating police officers whilst the accused was in police custody.

The judgment of the Court was delivered by the Justice Anderson, with a concurring judgment by  Justice Saunders.

“The Court acknowledged that, prior to the Evidence Act, there was case law that supported the position that a man could be convicted of an offence where the sole evidence against him was an alleged oral confession provided that the jury was warned that such a conviction may be unsafe.

The CCJ, however, highlighted that the purpose of the Evidence Act which was passed by the Parliament of Barbados in 1994 was “to reform the law relating to evidence in proceedings in courts…” and to apply “standards that are more stringent than the common law, [compel] the judiciary to be guided by fresh approaches and [require] the executive to make available to the police new technologies.”

The Court stressed that the evidence against the accused men had to meet the appropriate standards outlined in the well-known decision of  R v Galbraith.

This meant that the evidence had to be reliable, especially in these proceedings where the punishment for murder in Barbados was death.

The CCJ stated that based on the spirit of the Evidence Act “alleged confessions made while in police custody could only meet this standard where it was supported by sound or video recordings of or by some other independent evidence linking the accused to the offence.”

The CCJ said that in this case, there was no other evidence and as such the judge should have dismissed the case against the appellants.

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criminal-justice

Application to inspect election ballots to be heard in new law term

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Jul 13,  CMC – The application by lawyers for the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) to inspect documents from the December 2015 general elections as part of the two petitions filed to challenge the outcome of that poll, will not be heard before mid September.

When the matter came up for hearing on Wednesday, it was adjourned to a date to be fixed by the Registrar of the High Court in the new law term.

criminal-justiceThe current law term ends this month.

Justice Esco Henry, who is presiding over the matter, also gave a six-point order outlining actions that the parties must take and their timeline.

Ben Exeter, who was the NDP’s candidate in Central Leeward in the 2015 general elections, has filed a petition challenging the outcome of the elections there.

His colleague, Lauron Baptiste, the NDP’s candidate in North Windward, has mounted a similar challenge in that district.

Electoral officials say those constituencies are among the eight won by the Unity Labour Party of Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves to secure a fourth consecutive term in office while the remaining seven seats went to the NDP.

When the motion to inspect the ballot boxes and other election documents came up for hearing on Wednesday, there was a long delay to allow for three foreign lawyers who have joined the government’s team to be called to the Vincentian Bar.

After they were seated, the court having processed their documents, which the judge noted were “hurriedly filed”, Senior Counsel Douglas Mendez of Trinidad and Tobago, who this month took over from Dominican Anthony Astaphan, SC as lead counsel for the respondents, asked for an adjournment.

He said he was requesting an adjournment, hopefully, to later this month, to give the respondents an opportunity to file affidavits in response to the petitioners’ request to inspect the election documents.

The petitions, which have been before the court since December 2015, will go to trial after a ruling by Justice Henry on June 30 that they are not invalid, as the respondents had claimed.

After that ruling, Astaphan said he has been battling ill health for some time and cannot continue as lead counsel, since he also has a backlog in Dominica.

Mendez told the court that it was only after the June 30 ruling by Justice Henry that the parties knew that they had to proceed to the next stage.

He said he was approached not long after that ruling, but, when questioned by Justice Henry, said he could not recall the exact date when he was retained, but said it was one or two days after the June 30 ruling.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves had announced on June 30 that the legal team for the respondents was in consultation with Mendez.

Mendez told the court on Wednesday that there hasn’t been enough time to take instructions from the respondents.

He said he was asking for a seven-day adjournment to be able to file affidavits and respond to the motion.

Lead counsel for the petitioners, Queen’s Counsel Stanley “Stalky” John, told the court that he had no objections to the seven-day adjournment, providing that the matter definitely proceeds then.

He noted that Mendez had referred to the petitions being before the court for more than 18 months.

John said he was making this point to say that a lot of time can be saved if disclosure is made.

But Justice Henry was having none of it and told John that that is a discussion that could take place in the corridors among the parties.

Kay Bacchus-Baptiste, who is lead counsel for Baptiste, said that his legal team intends to file a similar application to inspect the ballots.

John further told the court that submissions related to the application to inspect the ballots were first filed on March 4, 2016 and served on the respondents shortly after.

He said that while they were discontinued because of a ruling of the court, the new application would rely on the same submissions.

Mendez told the court that he was not aware of those submissions.

Justice Brian Cottle, who had later thrown out the petitions as improperly filed, had ruled that allowing the parties to inspect the ballot boxes would amount to a fishing expedition.

He had further claimed that doing so would allow the inspector to determine how electors voted, a claim that has shocked the nation, but upon which electoral officials have refused to comment.

The law terms end in July and the judge said that she has to attend the annual judicial conference from July 26 to 29, adding that she doesn’t think that the court can entertain the motion before the new law term.

Mendez also said that he had commitments in court in Trinidad that would make him unavailable for a few days towards the end of this month.

Among other things, by inspecting the ballot boxes, Exeter is hoping to determine whether 769 ballots from four polling stations in Central Leeward were validly cast.

The petitioners also want to determine whether the counterfoils for such defective ballots were endorsed by the initials of the presiding officer.  .

Exeter’s lawyers have laid out a number of grounds to support their motion, noting that their client has complained of undue return or undue election of Sir Louis Straker, who has been declared the winner of the Central Leeward seat.

They say that by inspecting the ballot boxes, it may be determined that Sir Louis was unduly elected or returned and that the election was void, or that he, Exeter, was duly elected and ought to be returned.

The lawyers are asking the court for an order for scrutiny and recount in respect of the defective ballots to which the objections were made by Exeter and/or his representative/agents.

A lawyer for the petitioners has told iWitness News that “the pivotal objective of the petitions is to establish that the form of the ballots was illegal and that as a result the sanctity of the secrecy of voting was compromised and that hundreds of illegally cast ballots were counted in contravention of the Representation of the People’s Act and regulations made under that law.

“Both the Supervisor and the Returning Officer for Central Leeward have each filed sworn affidavits admitting to the latter fact. The petitioner, Exeter, has filed a motion seeking inspection of the ballots, scrutiny and a recount as part of the trial process.”

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Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit

Prime Minister to sue member of Election Commission

ROSEAU, Dominica, Jul. 12, CMC – Lawyers for  Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit of Dominica  say they will be filing a lawsuit against a member of the Election Commission for statements made on a radio programme that they determined to be defamatory .

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit

The lawyers had written to Hillary Shillingford demanding a “prompt reaction and an apology  in terms to be agreed by him and his attorneys”.

The lawyers gave Shillingford a deadline of  July 5 at 12:00pm and also demanded payment of compensation and costs.

It was also noted that if Shillingford failed to meet the demands, a lawsuit would be filed.

The lawyers also demanded a retraction and apology from the management of the radio station Q95fm .

The radio station was given the deadline of July 7.

The legal team said if this was not done, legal proceedings will also be instituted against them.

According to the head of the Skerrit’s team of lawyers, Senior Counsel Anthony Astaphan, during a radio programme June 27, Shillingford made statements that implied that the Prime Minister abused his office.

“The words meant and were understood by the listeners of Q95 Radio on live radio and via the internet to mean that our client misused and abused the office and Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and unlawfully in breach of his duties, diverted and used public moneys and in particular moneys intended for use at the Princess Margaret Hospital, for the illegal and unlawful purpose of paying for the transportation of supporters in the Diaspora to travel to Dominica to vote.”

Hillary Shillingford
Hillary Shillingford

These allegations are not only completely false , disc hones and lies manufactured by you, but are premised on a factual impossibility,” the lawyers said in a letter to Shillingford.

In an interview with the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC), Astaphan said the Prime Minister has now decided on “zero-tolerance”.

“The Prime Minister of  the Commonwealth of Dominica has decided that after many years of tolerance and patience and non-stop smear campaign against him by the leader of the United Workers Party and his supporters and members that he appoints through various commissions  – he has decided on zero tolerance on matters such as this.”

Astaphan said the Prime Minister had no alternative to instruct his legal team to write Shillingford and a case will be filed in a matter of days

“This foolishness must stop – this prostitution of the freedom of the media, freedom of press and freedom of speech that you can use it as a platform to manufacture lies ad spread fake news and false news repeatedly has to stop. – somebody has to take action , and we are moving forward,” Astaphan said.

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 Khemraj Ramjattan

Twenty two inmates from gutted prison granted bail – driver abducted by escapees found

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Jul. 11, CMC – Twenty two prisoners who were remanded to the Georgetown Prison were granted bail on Monday as a means of easing the congestion in the penal system.

The prisoners who were behind bars for minor non-violent offences were offered bail  as six Magistrates held special bail hearing at the Lusignan Prison, where hundreds of prisoners were taken following Sunday’s devastating fire and prison break at the Georgetown prison.

Public Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan told reporters that other major decisions  will include the relocation of over 1,000  prisoners from the Lusignan facility.

 Khemraj Ramjattan
Khemraj Ramjattan

He said the prisoners have been in open spaces even as efforts are afoot to make them comfortable until they can be transferred to the Timerhi, New Amsterdam or Mazaruni prisons.

Ramjattan acknowledged that the inmates are still exposed to the elements but said that tents and temporary accommodation are being established.

He added that on Monday, the Civil Defence Commission delivered tents, water and food items to the prisoners .

Police Commissioner, Seelall Persaud also promised that the prisoners at Lusignan will see significant improvement within the next 24hrs.

“There are five that are still at large, four of the five we have confirmed their identities and we are still to confirm the identity of the fifth person, we had information that has been partially confirmed of one escapee sighting in Georgetown” he said.

Meanwhile, a 22-year-old man who was reportedly kidnapped by four of the prison escapees on Sunday afternoon and forced to drive them away from the prison, has been found alive and safe.

According to police reports Matthew Shivtahal was found late Monday by investigators.

He was questioned by Police then taken for medical checks at a city hospital. He had no serious injuries according to relatives.

His mother, in an interview with News Source Guyana said she received a call from the police just after 10 pm (local time) on Monday.

“I am thankful, very thankful. That is my only child so I am very happy he is alive and well”, the mother said.

On Sunday, a major fire engulfed the prison during a jail break. Security officials reported that four prisoners who are on the run, are believed to be armed and dangerous.

The security personnel say road blocks have been set up in several parts of the city and a major joint services operation has been launched.

It is suspected that there might have been a number of casualties as a result of the fire.

It was just after 4:00pm (local time)  on Sunday that fire was seen in one of the sections of the jailhouse just after reports surfaced about the prison break.

The prison was built to accommodate just over 600 inmates but for several years, it has found itself overcrowded by more than 400 inmates.

At the time of Sunday’s jailbreak and fire, there were 1018 prisoners at the facility.

Related: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/guyana-prison-on-fire-one-prison-officer-dies/
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