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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Trinidad: Prison officer ambushed, killed

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Police said around 6.15 pm, Sherwin Francis, 48, was at his home at #52 Fossobianco Drive, Oasis Greens, when he heard a knocking on his door. Police said on checking three men jumped him and shot him several times about the body. Francis, who was attached to the Remand Yard at Golden Grove, was taken to the Chaguanas District Health Facility where he succumbed to his injuries.

Speaking with Guardian Media moments after the attack, a prison source who requested anonymity, said his colleagues were shocked over the murder and there were now fears other hits may be planned on others, especially with the disgruntled remand prisoners continuing their hunger strike.

Remand Yard prisoners at both the Maximum Security and Port-of-Spain Prisons started hunger strikes Thursday, following allegations of the abuse of a “high-profile” prisoner by prison and police officers and what they called oppression going on during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a statement disclosing the proposed hunger strike that was released on Wednesday via the social media platform, the prisoners are calling for speedy trials for those accused of murders; reasonable bail for petty offenders; the immediate release of all remanded inmates from Building 13 at the Maximum Security Prison (MSP); clothing and medication requests from their respective family members and a full-scale investigation into the alleged government involvement in obtaining and torturing remanded prisoners housed at building 13 (MSP).

Contacted last night, however, Acting Commissioner of Prisons Dennis Pulchan said he did not want to speculate on the cause of the attack.

“I’m not sure what went on,” Pulchan admitted.

Francis was one of two members of the protective services to be killed between midnight Thursday and yesterday. The murder count for the year now stands at 300.

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