…Ramjattan urges officers to speak out against wrongdoingAs the 35th Prison Service Week kicked off with a thanksgiving ceremony on Sunday morning, the issue of rogue elements being within the Guyana Prison Service and contributing to contraband smuggling within the system was highlighted, and calls have been made for ranks to speak out against wrongdoing by their colleagues.In his address to the gathering at the special service held at the Cecil Kilkenny Training School at Lusignan, East Coast Demerara, the acting Director of Prisons, Gladwin Samuels, disclosed that so far for the year, some 28 prison officers have been dismissed, 11 of whom had facilitated or directly smuggled contraband intoDirector of Prisons (ag) Gladwin Samuelsthe prison system.Samuels said 12 ranks are currently interdicted from duty, nine of whom have been charged either departmentally or criminally for trafficking-related activities.Contraband smuggling has long been a perennial problem within the prison system, and compounded by facilitation from both prison and Police officers, the illegal trade is said to be “big business”.In fact, only last week, four prison officers were arrested for smuggling a bottle of rum and a pack of cigarettes into the Lusignan Prison the weekend prior. They were subsequently charged and interdicted from duty.Further, five other prison officers were relieved of their duties back in July after they were fingered in an incident in which a parcel containing cannabis had been thrown into the Holding Bay area of the Lusignan Prisons.Samuels told the gathering that the rogue elements within the organisation will sooner or later be weeded out of the organisation.“Of course there are some rogue elements in our midst, who are like salt and pepper in a fresh wound. But by and by, they will weed themselves out… Let them remind themselves that in Guyana we say, ‘Time longer than twine’,” the Director of Prisons asserted.Also addressing the gathering at the thanksgiving service was Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan, who used the opportunity to urge ranks within the Prisons Service to do better in the face of wrong, and to speak out when collusion is observed.“The fact that we can introspect and say that ‘I should not have done that’, or ‘I should not have seen my colleague done that and not speak up’, I’ve said on several occasions that silence is violence. If we shut our mouths to the wrongdoings, (they) will occur; so we must speak out,” the Public Security Minister said.Ramjattan outlined that the Prison Service has been seeing a surge in instances of collusion by some of its members. To this end, he called for a higher level of integrity to exist among officers.“We can have all the infrastructural developments and arrangements in concrete fashion, but if we do not have the professional officers and work staff wanting to do their jobs with integrity, all that is beautiful around you (will) all come to nought,” the Minister posited.He noted that great institutions are made up of individuals who, upon seeing wrongdoing, speak out.“They [did], as we must (do) today, realise that they must grow out of the wrongdoing; grow out of the corruption; grow out of the greed and avarice; and they became institutions that are world renowned,” Ramjattan said.