Prison Officers’ Association president Ceron Richards, centre, speaks during a media conference addressing the killing of two prison officers earlier this week. Also in picture are Industrial Relations Officer Wendell Mitchell, left, and General Secretary Lester Walcott.

Prison officers say they are appalled and disgusted with the manner in which a high-profile inmate at the Wayne Jackson Building at the Maximum Security Prison in Arouca attempted to “elicit public sympathy to justify two cold-blooded assassinations of officers Trevor Serrette and Nigel Jones on November 26 and 29 respectively.”

On Tuesday, the inmate sent out a release sympathising with the murders but also accusing prison officers of abuse of inmates.

In a release yesterday, however, Prison Officers’ Association general secretary Lester Walcott said he found himself compelled to respond on behalf of the executive.

Walcott described the inmate’s claims “as a most boldfaced and callous attempt to shift responsibility for these assassinations from the monsters who committed these acts.”

“How many more daughters, sons, wives, mothers and fathers must face this trauma because your food was late or the cells were too hot? Who were the judges, juries and executioners of these officers? Who decided the fates of these men; who represented these men at their trials; there was not appeal or mercy when the death sentence was pronounced and carried out,” Walcott said.

“Tell the public whose hands are stained with their blood, which literally snuffed out the life of a father while holding the hands of his daughter. Indeed, the lie is found right there in the letter itself. The letter begins by stating that up to Friday 26 November, 2021, all was normal. So if all was normal before the assassination of officer Serrette, when did it become abnormal?”

Walcott said the association categorically denies the allegations made in the inmate’s release, which he called a “conniving and self-serving attempt to deflect from the heinous murderous acts perpetrated against these officers who were gunned down because of their failure to yield to the dictates of those housed at Building 13, or as it is said, to send a message.”

Walcott asked where was the evidence of the claims made by the inmate.

“How many inmates have died since being at this building? Answer—none. How is that force is being used on inmates, how many have been hospitalised? Answer —none. How many matters have been taken before the court by the legal representatives of those so assaulted?”

He said Building 13 houses the nation’s most high-risk and influential inmates, who have shown the ability to execute prison officers in the past, among them POI Andy Rogers and Superintendent Wayne Jackson, whose name is on the building where they are housed.

“Would prison officers brutalise these men? Answer—no. As such, this is a failed, weak attempt at propaganda at its best.”

Walcott said the Wayne Jackson Building was outfitted with washer and dryer, bathroom facilities, a camera system and other amenities, which were allegedly destroyed days after the inmates were relocated there.

“Then it is stated that the building does not have a camera system. The nation now knows why. No amount of propaganda or lies, no matter how well contrived by attorneys who have been retained for that purpose, can make a lie the truth. The truth is, two prison officers have been murdered and an attempt has been made on another. How many more shooters have been hired to carry out these acts?” Walcott said.

“The truth is that a 4-year-old daughter by that single act, unmasked the face of evil, too young to comprehend how swift death came and why someone killed her loving daddy. This evil act hit the heart of a nation which seemed to have become immune to death around them. These propaganda instructions were then published to gain public sympathy after the assassinations of these prison officers. The Prison Officers’ Association will have none of it,” he added.

Walcott said despite this, officers continue to function.

“No one has a right to blame you for the evil that is perpetrated against you. Stand strong and together in hope that justice will come.”