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By Jarryl Bryan Yesterday, Capital Block inmate, Owen Belfield,Cheap NFL Jerseys China, took the witness box before the tribunal probingInmate Owen Belfieldthe circumstances surrounding the March 3, 2016 deaths of 17 inmates at the Camp Street prison. He testified that in his 11 months at the facility, there was a noticeable absence of measures that are mandated to be in place.Belfield, under questioning from Guyana Bar Association President, Christopher Ram, testified that he has never seen the visiting Justices who are mandated to visit the prison as the civilian authority and upon receiving feedback, report to the subject Minister.Belfield testified that prisoners are very poorly informed of their rights and that drills were not carried out in the time leading up to the fire.Belfield said that he was never told that a visiting committee or board existed, nor did he get a chance to ever speak with the committee. Asked by Ram whether there was any documentation in his dormitory regarding his rights as a prisoner or the rules of the prison, Belfield answered in the negative.Chapter 11:01, part six,Wholesale NFL Jerseys China, 47 (1) of the Prison Act dating from 1957 states “There shall be in respect of each prison in Guyana a Board of visiting Justices and the Minister may appoint for such time as may be specified in the appointment such and so many Justices to be members of such Board.”(2) “All Judges of the High Court and Magistrates shall be ex-officio visiting Justices for each of the prisons of Guyana.”In addition, 48 (1) says “A visiting Justice may at any time visit any prison in respect of which he is a visiting justice and may inspect any part of such prison, may enquire into and examine the food, diet, clothing, treatment and conduct ofGuyana Bar Association President Christopher Ramprisoners, may question any member of the prison staff or prisoner,Wholesale Jerseys Free Shipping, may hear complaints from any prisoner, may enquire into any abuses and irregularities in any prison and shall ascertain as far as possible whether the provisions of this Act and the prison rules are being complied with and may make a report upon any such matters to the Minister.”“A court composed of two visiting Justices appointed under section 47 (1) or of one ex-officio visiting Justice, sitting in prison shall have all the powers of the Director in relation to the trial of any major or other prison offence or in relation to any appeal under Section 43.”Such a provision is important, as it is supposed to weed out mal-administration and preempt disturbances stemming from prisoners’ discontent.Former Minister of Home Affairs,Wholesale Authentic Jerseys, Clement Rohee had stated, after the fire that such a committee was in place during his time and was supposed to be functioning, though he could not be sure that prison authorities were allowing it to.Speaking to Kaieteur News afterwards, Ram noted how telling it was that a body,Wholesale Cheap NFL Football Jerseys, set up to gather information, anticipate and prevent incidents such as occurred on March 2 and March 3, was not functioning at the time. He noted that the individuals responsible for setting up these bodies ought to testify before the Commission.“This is why we need the records,” Ram related. “Just to test how well they have been doing their jobs. And if they were doing their jobs as well as they should, we should not have had that kind of overcrowding in place. We would have had the parole board and visiting Justice doing their work.”“There is no evidence,” he continued. “Certainly, the witness has never seen any of those things in place. It is extremely troubling for the state. And it would be good if Rohee could come and testify in front of this Commission, as well as past and present Ministers of Home Affairs, now Public Security. It is the Minister of Public Security who is responsible for the prison, the fire service, and the police.”Meanwhile, Attorney-at-Law Slewyn Pieters, who is representing the Guyana Prison Service (GPS) and the Guyana Police Force (GPF), labeled the prisoner’s testimony as it relates to drills as “inaccurate.” He stated that prisoners have, in fact, been taking part in drills.“Fire drills were conducted only the week before,” Pieters said. “(There is) evidence of a full joint operation one week prior to the fire at the prison. That was a reckless comment. There is objective evidence that one can see and touch.”As regards the purportedly non functioning visiting committee, Pieters was confident that he would provide evidence to contradict this.The COI, which was set up on the orders of President David Granger, has been tasked with investigating the circumstances leading up to the fatal camp street fire, including the role and functioning of authorities in the prison.The COI, which has been taking place at the Ministry of Public Service boardroom,China NBA Jerseys, has so far painted a bleak picture of those roles, with testimony from prisoners attesting to, among other things, orders from officials that the prisoners be locked in prior to the fire.
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