As the King’s representative, the Governor-General should intervene in prison situation, DeFreitas says

Franz deFreitas is calling on the Governor-General, Sir Rodney Williams, to intervene in the situation taking place at His Majesty’s Prison.

DeFreitas, the United Progressive Party (UPP) Candidate for St. John’s City South, is reminding residents that the prison bears the name of the King – whom Sir Rodney represents in Antigua and Barbuda – and, so, the Governor-General ought to step in.

He notes that the conditions under which the inmates are being housed are unhealthy and need urgent intervention.

The UPP Candidate says the treatment meted out to the prisoners is inhumane – and not even animals should be treated like this.

While the Browne Administration continues to run this country like a dictatorship, deFreitas says that many people are burying their heads in the sand.

However, if anything unfortunate should befall any of the prisoners, deFreitas warns, this Administration – in particular, the Minister of National Security, Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin – will have to face the consequences.

Prisoners were placed on lockdown last weekend after they  complained – on radio – about the food and other poor conditions at the penal facility.

Having gotten hold of the keys to release themselves from their cells, it was reported that the inmates were becoming rowdy, and the riot squad was called in to deal with the situation. In the fracas that ensued, teargas and rubber bullets allegedly were deployed, reportedly injuring several prisoners and one man – Junior “Steel” Emmanuel reportedly was shot.

To date, inmates claim, he has not been taken to the hospital for treatment; and reports this morning, December 21, say that Emmanuel passed out in the maximum-security cell overnight.  Reportedly, because there was only one officer on duty there, Emmanuel was not removed at the time, the inmates allege.

On Tuesday, December 20 – in solidarity with the inmates – a group of private citizens joined the protest, calling for justice and better living conditions for those held at the facility.

Meanwhile, Minister Benjamin is quoted as saying that the food served to the inmates is palatable and is provided by the School Meals kitchen.

Benjamin also sought to blame the media for the situation, saying some members of the press are facilitating the prohibited calls from inmates who ought not to have phones in their possession.