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Antigua: Answers demanded after second prisoner escapes

Antigua Observer:-  The United Progressive Party’s National Security spokesman, Leon Symister, is calling on the police to explain how a remand prisoner escaped earlier this week.

The man, 27-year-old Paul Southwell, was recaptured in Bendals by prison officials on Thursday morning, after reportedly escaping on Wednesday, though some accounts say he escaped on Tuesday.

Police only released the man’s photo and a notice of his escape on Thursday morning – nearly 24 hours after the fact. And, there has been very little official information volunteered by prison authorities or the police on how the man escaped and when exactly it was noticed.

Symister, an attorney at law, says law enforcement are obligated to speak up when something goes wrong in the course of duty, and the public is endangered.

The UPP spokesman is calling on the Minister of Public Safety Steadroy Benjamin to be the one who informs the public when such incidents occur and to follow up with what remedies have been applied to avoid repeats.

Symister is also calling on Benjamin to report to the public on the full details of exactly what led to the escape of another remand prisoner, Delano Forbes in February.

Forbes was recaptured in March, but was this week charged with the murder of Morison Thomas which occurred that same month while he was on the run.

Symister says Forbes’ being charged with a murder he allegedly committed while on the run has further put the police in a negative light for having lost him in the first place.

In March, after Forbes was recaptured, the public safety minister promised that a full report would be made public.

But to date no such report, whether written or oral, has been given to the public. Symister says it is unacceptable.

 

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