A lockdown at His Majesty’s Prison (HMP) has continued for another day, today, since inmates began protesting last Friday morning.
“Rather than be reactive, the prison administration remains proactive and as such, we will continue the 24-hour lockdown until we are reasonably satisfied that there is no longer a threat to the institution,” said Superintendent of Prisons, Jermaine Anthony.
He said the protest continued to progress over the weekend, resulting in the declaration of a state of emergency.
And although that order was since lifted, inmates have been placed on continuous 24-hour lockdowns and have been unable to leave their cells or participate in recreational activities.
Mr. Anthony, who has chosen only to speak with the Antigua Broadcasting Station (ABS), said the measure was taken to protect inmates as well as staff members. As part of those restrictions, meals are now being delivered to the inmates inside their cells.
“Any movements of inmates from their cells throughout the institution for any reason is limited to and restricted to two to three inmates at a time,” he said on state TV.
On Monday, members of the Riot Squad were mobilized to the prison since according to Mr. Anthony, inmates had been making “threats of reprisal” and continued to disturb the operations of the prison.
A prison officer was reportedly assaulted and his keys taken away from him on Monday.
“He was overpowered by that inmate at it was at that point that the riot police were brought in as that inmate then proceeded to release other inmates from their cells which is a very illegal and unlawful action,” he explained.
That inmate has since been removed from the general population and has been isolated in a more secure part of the prison, the superintendent said.