Prison system more watchful of high-risk inmates – Benn

recent escape of convicted mass murderer Mark Royden Williams from recurring, Home Affairs Minister Robesen Benn has said.

The convicted mass murderer escaped the Mazaruni Prison while being escorted back from a visit with the aid of heavily armed accomplices in a speedboat. The escort party was fired upon with AK-47 automatic rifles by men inside the boat alongside the Mazaruni River.

Noting that the experience was a learning curb for the prison service, Minister Benn on Friday said a review of the prison system was conducted to ensure that the transporting of prisoners, holding areas, and disciplinary orders are more secure to avoid possible dangers, like the escape on May 19.

“A review has been within the prison service itself as to what resorts we have to [take], particularly in relation to where people ought to be kept and what interfacing that they would have with members of the public and also the maintenance of the SOP’s [Standard Operating Procedure], the maintenance of the discipline order; that in the system we cannot relax. We have to be constantly vigilant with certain persons in the prison system,” Minister Benn said.

Six persons, including a Superintendent of Prisons, Alexander Hopkinson, 59 of Bartica Housing Scheme and his second-in-command, Oldfield Romulus, 50, of Victoria Cumberland Village, East Canje, Berbice, were charged with aiding the convicted killer. The minister said this is a matter that the Court is investigating.

Benn said that the positions held by the accused are filled to ensure the prison service is operating at maximum capacity. He added that there has been some difficulty experienced with getting people to work at the prison.

“There are still challenges in relation to the number of people who are willing to work in the prison system.

“I think it has been an area in which people normally don’t want to get involved without understanding the work of the prison system itself,” the minister said.