#Grand Turk, January 28, 2019 – Turks and Caicos – At approximately 0910 hours on the 24th of January, a single prisoner was legitimately restrained after offering a serious threat of violence to the prison officers and the prison estate. He had armed himself with a number of stones, and was throwing them without care of other people or the immediate circumstances.
As a consequence, and the impressive bravery of the prison officers, he was restrained to prevent injury to himself, to the prison staff, other prisoners and the surrounding buildings. This violent act, by a prisoner, occurred immediately in front of a residential wing, and within the vicinity of a number of other prisoners who were involved in outdoor activities in the exercise yard.
Regrettably, a number of prisoners in the exercise yard took exception to the bravery of the prison officers and wanted to shout their protests at this action, that was being managed by the Prison Superintendent. Equally, other prisoners on blue wing took exception to this swift and effective intervention by the prison staff, and they proceeded to damage their own TV used for social purposes, a water cooler to provide them with refreshment and a micro wave cooker. The protest was noisy, but managed and with no occurrence of violence towards the prison staff beyond the damaged items.
The issue that underpinned the initial incident was a prisoner that had a legitimate belief that he should be in court for a judicial hearing. He reacted badly to being told he would not attend court, and used a violent protest as a way of trying to get his problems fixed.
The prison returned to normal very soon after the incident had started, and could never be described as a riot, nor did it last 3 hours. Sadly, in the world of social media, there will always be the potential for the spread false information.
The Prison Superintendent Mr. Grahame Hawkins said; “I know people may believe what they read on social media, and of course, it is always difficult to get information about incidents that occur in a prison. I can assure the community and the families of those in custody, that the event was handled professionally. My aim is to always get the prison back to normal as quickly as possible, and we achieved this within about 45 minutes and once it was safe to do so.”
Hon. Vaden Delroy Williams, Minister for Home Affairs Transportation and Communication in his comments on the matter noted; “Prison staff are exceptionally brave people who we ask to walk into danger whenever it presents itself, and I pay tribute to the brave staff who helped manage one person, and then started working on the de-escalation of what was obviously a brief but challenging incident.”