Sunday, February 25, 2018

Prisoners ‘riot’ in Arouca

‘We are not being fed’

PRISONERS staged a riot inside the Maximum Security Prison (MSP) in Arouca yesterday in response to not being fed, taken to court or being allowed outside for their daily airing, an inmate at the facility told the Express.

Another inmate at the prison told the Express that during the melee a murder accused prisoner named David George Huggins was beaten by masked prisons officers after complaining about not being taken to the San Fernando High Court for his matter.

Prisons Commissioner Martin Martinez yesterday denied the claims of a riot.

Last Thursday, prisons officer Andy Rogers, who had 19 years’ service, was gunned down near his Daniel Trace, Malabar home.

Rogers, who was on vacation, was in charge of the visit room at Golden Grove, Arouca.

He was said to have been romantically involved with the wife of an inmate currently serving time for murder.

Prisons officers assigned to the prison are said to have engaged in a “go slow” in protest of Rogers’ murder and in an attempt to get the authorities to do more to protect them both on and off duty.

The action has in turn affected the prisoners, the Express was told yesterday.

The following are text messages sent to the Express from an inmate:

“Since (Sunday) the officers not feeding the prisoners! (C) Batch working now. Prisoners vex cause they are treating them bad because an officer got shot. Just call me and hear how the prisoners getting on! Try to call now!”

The Express called and heard the commotion.

“Officers not coming to work. So batch short and it’s some work to rule the officers on, but since yesterday even we have not eaten any food. Plus some inmates are on prescribed medication, and the officers are not sending us for medication. They are trying to suffer us, it’s like Peter pay for Paul,” a text message read.

“Remember the officer who got shot and killed used to work up here in MSP. So all the officers are protesting by trying to treat us bad. I have to go, things getting hot,” another message read.

Another prisoner later called to give the Express further insight on what was going on.

Up to 3 p.m. the prisoner confirmed he had not eaten or been allowed to go outside since Saturday.

He said other prisoners were being taken to court. One of those who was not allowed to go to court yesterday was David George Huggins, the inmate said.

Huggins, Marlon Peters and Ian Little were supposed to have appeared before Judge Geoffrey Henderson at the San Fernando High Court, the prisoner said. The trio had the death sentence read to them, at around 8 p.m. on February 13, 2009 by then High Court judge Herbert Volney at the Supreme Court in San Fernando for the murder of 28-year-old oil worker Nigel Singh on September 13, 2003. 

Last year the Court of Appeal quashed the conviction and sentence of the trio.

The retrial was scheduled to start yesterday, the inmate said.

This could not be confirmed.

“Huggins started to make noise about wanting to go to court. That he had to go to court but prisons officers dressed in masks with shields beat him,” the inmate said.

Prisons Commissioner Martinez denied reports of any uprising inside the prison.

Martinez said he was “assured”  there were no riots.

“We are well manned. There were no untoward occurrences, and there is nothing that we cannot control,” Martinez said. • See Page 7