FIVE prison officers and seven inmates at the Remand Section of Maximum Security Prison in Golden Grove were injured in a violent confrontation during a routine search of cells by prison officers.
Four of the injured prisoners have been identified as Christopher Lewis, Ijah Braithwaite, Hakeem Brathwaite, Ryan Stephen and Jason Raymond. Newsday was told that at about 7.30 pm on Tuesday, officers of the Special Operations Group from within the prison began searching cells at the North Wing Remand and the North Deep Wings.
According to sources, prisoners began to resist the searching of their cells and began retaliating claiming religious victimisation because they were Muslims. Shouting, Allah u Akbar (God is Great) the defiant prisoners — some brandishing improvised weapons — attacked officers leading to one being stabbed, another officer being cuffed in the eye while three other officers were beaten. Other officers went to the rescue of their colleagues and during attempts to subdue the fighting prisoners, seven of the inmates sustained injuries. During the brawl, the wing was placed under lockdown and officers called for backup from the police and the National Operations Centre (NOC).
Medical personnel were also alerted and the five injured prison officers as well as seven prisoners were taken in ambulances to the Arima hospital where they were being treated up until yesterday amid heavy, armed police presence.
A decision was later taken to lockdown the entire prison and this continued all of Tuesday night. By 10 am yesterday the lockdown was lifted and prisoners were served meals, allowed to be taken to court while some were allowed airing out. Remand prisoners who were identified as the main instigators of the violent clashes remain in isolation.
Several prisoners telephoned Newsday claiming the prison officers unfairly targeted them for being involved in illegal activities behind bars. The prisoners claim they are being persecuted because they are Muslims. They further alleged that real trouble makers who are not Muslims are allowed free rein in the prisons by officers.
“This is not the first time we have been targeted and no one seems to want to know the truth, so we have to do what we have to do to defend ourselves from this unfair practice from within prison walls,” said a prisoner who claimed he witnessed the confrontation. One prisoner identified as Christopher Lewis who was injured in the fracas was able to alert relatives of his plight and photos of his injuries were sent to friends and relatives. The photos are now believed to be in the hands of the prisoner’s attorney.
Newsday understands that officers seized a quantity of marijuana, cellphones and improvised weapons during the searches….