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Dec 15, 1999

Prison drug search yields small results

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This morning a heavy police presence at the Hattieville Prison lead to rumors that a guard had been taken hostage. Fortunately this was not the case, but police were there for a different reason: to do another intensive search for drugs and weapons. The search started at six a.m. and included all one thousand and fifty-two inmates and all buildings from Bootcamp to Maximum security. Based on past experience, however, the inmates were not happy.

When we arrived on the scene, the operation had concluded and the security force was being briefed by Hugh Cain, the Assistant Commissioner of police, the man in charge.

Q: “Mr. Cain can you tell me about the operation this morning? Is it routine?”

Hugh Cain, Assistant Commissioner of Police

“Christy… talk to Christy. Christy will give you the details. None of these operations are routine. They are special operations.”

Jacqueline Woods

“Last year when the first exercise was conducted, the operation was criticized for the way it was carried out. Prison officials tell News Five, the police stormed into the institution and used unnecessary force to search the cells and inmates. This time, the prisoners fearing the same thing would happen, objected to this morning’s spot check.”

Some of the prisoners chose not to cooperate.

Errol Gentle, Assistant Superintendent of Prisons

“We had some prisoners inside the cells who were a bit irritated because they thought that they are already in here, they are already prisoners, they didn’t want to cooperate. But after a while they were very hyped up and myself and the Assistant Commissioner went over and talked to them. We got them to cool down and they went through with their search.”

In the end two prisoners were taken into custody and charged. Kenrick Domingo better known as “Buck Dougal” was charged with obstruction of justice and Michael White for the possession of drugs after a small quantity of weed was found on his bed. Both are already serving five years each for robbery and burglary.

Michael White, Inmate

“They send the men to waste a whole day to pick up a little piece of weed like that and escort man way the Belize when they can charge me right here for that, if they want to charge me. And then let the policeman take me to court when they are going to court.

Me no get nothing from nobody and they no get nothing from me. I was not even by my bed. The man gone there and say he find a piece of weed on my bed. I was not even there at all.”

Kenrick Domingo, Inmate

“It’s advantage that people are taking of us at the back here. Much less if you no have no one come look for you. When I tell you advantage, big advantage, big time advantage; not small. The word I use is big — B.I.G. — big advantage they are taking of you in that place there.”

Domingo alleges it is the prison officers who have been supplying inmates with drugs. He thinks they should be searched.

Kenrick Domingo

“The officers are bringing it in; the officers are bringing it in. And it is not only weed, from cocaine and they are harassing we the prisoners who are locked down, who are not going anywhere. They are bringing it in and they are still harassing we.

The policeman tell me that they would be taking me for obstruction and when I come outside, one of the serious crimes fire a kick to my private and I blocked it off. And then he took my hand against the cement wall for the Prison Department and scrape my hand.”

Although prison officials would not allow our vehicle to enter the compound, they did speak to us on camera. Errol Gentle, who was appointed Assistant Superintendent of Prisons three days ago, said prison officials and officers are subjected to searches and those who are found guilty of any offense are dealt with accordingly.

Errol Gentle

“It is very difficult. In fact right now we have a rule that everybody who comes through this gate from the Superintendent of Prisons including all the officers, they would go in there into the control and if you have whatever bags it is placed on the desk and the officers search it. And we are also subjected to a body search.”

According to police, zero point four grams of cannabis was found for which White has been charged. Domingo has also been charged with assaulting an officer. The search concluded at twelve thirty this afternoon.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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