First Lady, Sandra Granger, weighs in on the deaths of the 17 prisoners last week:
“I have been following the issue of the prison riots and the deaths of 17 prisoners and injury to others, and the comments made in the social media. Some have leapt to ascribe blame. While some recognise the common humanity we share with these men, I am disturbed that many also seem to think that they got their ‘just desserts,’ as well as the contemptuous dismissal of these men.
No one is claiming that any of these men were angels or saints.
The fact is, they were prisoners on remand.
Yes, they had been remanded for capital offences. They had not been tried and found guilty. I believe our justice system still holds that a man is innocent until proven guilty.
Some had been on remand for eight years and more. Justice delayed is justice denied.
As a woman and mother, I empathise with the mothers, spouses, children and friends of those who lost their lives. They have lost a loved one. As a Christian, I believe that he who is without sin should cast the first stone.
No one knows as yet if those who died were the ones who set the fires, were even participating in the riots, or were just victims of circumstance.
I am happy that a Board of Inquiry has been set up to enquire into the cause of the disturbances that led to these deaths and injuries. I am happy to know that the Board will meet soon and look forward to reading their findings and recommendations.
I am happy that the Chancellor of the Judiciary will be looking into the long delays in bringing these men to trial. Let us hope the process is speeded up.
John Donne said that “No man is an island entire unto himself…” Whatever affects one, affects all of us who share this space called Guyana.” – First Lady Sandra Granger, 05 March 2016