Escape of ‘Smallie’ from Mazaruni Prison prompts review of SOPs

The current Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the Mazaruni Prison in Region Seven are now under review following the escape of the notorious mass murderer Mark Royden Williams called ‘Smallie’ on May 19.

This was revealed by the Director of Prisons (ag), Nicklon Elliot on Friday.

Director of Prisons (ag), Nicklon Elliot

“We are currently reviewing our internal SOPs. The matter is still active and that is being led by the Guyana Police Force and the Commissioner of Police can give more details surrounding the matter but, I can say to the public that we are currently reviewing all aspects and all information coming to us and, more particularly, our SOPs in relation to what took place on that day,” Elliot told the News Room.

The Prison Director would not say what specific aspects of the SOPs are being reviewed but he explained that a report would be compiled at the end of the process.

Williams’ prison escape was by far the most daring that occurred in recent years.

He escaped while being escorted back from a visit with the aid of heavily armed accomplices in a speedboat. Six persons, including the Superintendent of Prisons, Alexander Hopkinson, were subsequently charged and remanded to prison for aiding his escape.

Mark Royden Williams

He was the most wanted man in Guyana with a $10M reward for his arrest. Williams and his accomplice Odel Roberts, known as ‘Gully Side’ were shot dead on Thursday during a Joint Services operation at 33 Miles, Potaro Road in Region Seven.

The Police Force in a statement said a tracking operation was set up within the area and this eventually led to ranks intercepting Williams and Roberts. During an alleged confrontation, they were both killed.

Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), Brigadier Omar Khan, has revealed that more than 100 ranks of the GDF were part of the Joint Services operation that led to the capture and subsequent death of William Roberts.

This information comes as local law enforcement continues to investigate how the two men came to possess military-grade weapons.

After they were killed, investigators retrieved a M70 rifle and 79 rounds of live ammunition from the men.

Neon Howard, another accomplice of Smallie, was shot dead by Police Officers last Sunday when he reportedly snatched a firearm from ranks and attempted to shoot them after they caught him.

This incident occurred at St. Mary’s Quarry, Region Seven (Cuyuni- Mazaruni).

Howard was wanted for aiding the recent escape of Williams, according to the Police.

Williams was facing nine death sentences.

The most recent was handed down in September 2022 after he was found guilty of murdering Guyana Defence Force (GDF) soldier, Ivor Williams which occurred in 2008.

In 2017, he was sentenced to death on eight counts of murder for the 2008 Bartica massacre. The mass murderer was also charged in relation to several other offences.

But this was not his first escape from prison. In July 2017, Williams was among several prisoners who fled during a massive fire at the Camp Street Prison during which 17 prisoners died. He was recaptured a few months later that same year.