Prominent Guyanese Canadian Attorney, Selwyn Pieters will be representing the interests of the Guyana Prison Service and the Guyana Police Force in the ongoing Prison Unrest Commission of Inquiry.
Mr. Pieters flew in to Guyana overnight and is expected to make his application to participate in the Commission’s work today.
In his application to serve as an interested party, Pieters has indicated that the Prison Service and Police Force have the right to counsel and the right to receive all correspondences that are part of the Commission. Additionally, he has pointed out that the two bodies also have the right to participate in all of the Commission’s hearings and cross-examine witnesses who may appear before the Commission to offer evidence.
He has stated also that the participation of Counsel for the two bodies, will ensure that the Commission’s work is done in a fair manner with all sides being able to have their voices heard and being able to ask specific questions relevant to the Commission’s work.
So far, three prisoners have testified since the start of the public hearings last week. The Commission only got a Counsel of its own this week and last Friday granted status to the Guyana Bar Association to serve as an interested party on the Commission.
Some concern was raised about the absence of legal representation for the Prison Service, especially in wake of the many allegations being leveled against the Prison Service and Prison officers.
Seventeen prisoners lost their lives during a fiery riot in the Capital A offenses division of the prison two weeks ago. It is believed that the fire was started by the prisoners as a protest over the seizure of illegal items and to bring attention to the long wait that many of them have been enduring for the start of their court cases.
The Georgetown Prison was built to accommodate 600 inmates, but currently has a population of over 900.