Prison break in Dominica

Four escaped; two shot and being treated

THE military might sent to Dominica from across the region following the passage of Hurricane Maria, were immediately tasked to stamp out the looting and other forms of lawlessness. On Sunday night they were faced with another challenge, a prison break.

This was revealed during a press conference hosted yesterday by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit in conjunction with officials from the Dominica Police Force and Regional Security System (RSS), where it was revealed that four persons escaped the island’s jail.

Chief of Police, Daniel Carbon, revealed that three of the four prisoners were on remand and one was serving a term. Two prisoners were subsequently shot and apprehended and are now undergoing treatment at the Princess Margaret Hospital, including one of the prisoners whom he said was of concern to law enforcement officials since he was on remand on a murder charge. Carbon expressed confidence that the other two will be captured in short order.

The chief also told the media that since the passage of Hurricane Maria, 40 arrests were made in relation to criminal matters and 86 arrests in violation of the curfew.

He revealed that there are to date 27 confirmed deaths, 27 confirmed missing and 18 unconfirmed persons missing. No police officers were lost during the hurricane.

The Chief of Police said immediately following the passage of Hurricane Maria, which affected several places in the city of Roseau and to a lesser extent Portsmouth, the looting began.

Deputy Chief Davidson Valerie noted that “many young men and ladies”, who can be called “mobs”, were seen around the city at that time, searching premises and looting.

He noted that many of these young people have been arrested for looting and being in violation of the Curfew Order. “The Curfew Order recommends people are inside at 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. If found on streets without permit, they will be arrested,” noted Valerie, who added that these permits have to be requested from the Commissioner of Police.

Stressing that the command and control structure of the Dominica Police Force is in place, he commended the deployment of regional forces including St. Lucia, Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, the Royal Antigua & Barbuda Defence Force and officers from the Regional Security System. A large contingent from Jamaica is expected on the island shortly.

The officers, along with Prime Minister Skerrit, noted that they have to out these fires, which have been a distraction for the officers, who could be spending more time assisting with the widespread relief and distribution efforts.

The officers also assured that contrary to rumours being circulated, the ports of entry are safe and are being protected by security forces. (JH)

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