Thursday, February 29, 2024
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Recapturing of ‘Smallie’ must be a priority, but serious questions must be answered – Opp. Leader

SEE BELOW THE STATEMENT ISSUED BY THE OFFICE OF THE OPPOSITION LEADER: 

Amidst the grave situation our country faces, it is crucial that we remain calm and vigilant as Guyanese citizens. Our top priority must be the safety and security of our people and the swift recapture of Royden Williams, also known as ‘Smallie’.

It is imperative that we hold the Minister of Home Affairs accountable for his management of this crisis. Yesterday, Robeson Benn’s press conference only reinforced our belief that he is ill-suited to manage the Ministry of Home Affairs and the internal security of Guyana. It is time for him to step aside and allow the experts to take charge of the sector and recapture this convicted murderer.

Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton

The Ministry of Home Affairs must provide answers to critical questions that have arisen. The law states that only a prison staff member, medical officer or a minister of the convict’s denomination can authorize access. The question then arises as to who authorized access to the prisoner for someone other than a prison staff member, medical officer, or a minister of his religious denomination? How many prison officers were responsible for transporting the prisoner to and from his holding cell? Why was an open vehicle used instead of an enclosed one? What was the whereabouts of the Mazaruni Prison boats at that time, and why was a suspicious boat lingering nearby without raising any concerns? What kind of shackles was the prisoner wearing, considering the difficulty of escaping and jumping into a river while being restrained? Equally important, who was monitoring the conversation between the prisoner and his visitor, and where are the video recordings of the escape? Did the cameras conveniently malfunction at that precise moment, Minister?

There are many more pressing questions that demand answers, but our immediate focus must be on recapturing this mass murderer. However, we must not overlook the fact that our safety is once again compromised. We call upon all Guyanese to exercise heightened vigilance.

The security sector has received substantial funding, with over $85 billion allocated from 2021 until now, including significant investments in the Guyana Prison Service and the Guyana Police Force, amounting to over $16 billion and $58 billion, respectively. In 2023 alone, these two entities have been allocated over $28 billion. The resources required for the recapture are available, and it is imperative that they are effectively utilized.

As we navigate through this challenging period, it is essential that we remain united and determined to ensure the safety and well-being of our nation. The recapture of this mass murderer remains our foremost concern, and we must continue to hold the government accountable for their actions and response in this critical time. It will be remiss of us if we do not note that something is not adding up.

-END-

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