As investigations into last Friday’s murder of 45-year-old prison officer Davindra Boodooram at Frederick Street, Port of Spain continues, one person identifying himself as a prisoner at the jail in the city, expressed regret over the killing.
He said he and Boodooram interacted on a few occasions and he seemed like “a cool person”. Newsday was told Boodooram would mostly work as a construction officer, treating with the masonry problems at the prison.
The prisoner, who requested anonymity, also gave an account of last Monday’s lockdown and search by prison authorities, which many believe may have led to Boodooram being killed although he was not present during the exercise.
Newsday was told things went awry when some prisoners refused to leave their cells until a senior officer was present.
“They came on a regular search with young officers, members of the Emergency Response Unit and some in masks,“ the prisoner said.
”It is a customary thing when they come to search, inmates get advantaged. So a couple of the inmates decided they were not coming out.”
After the request for a senior member to be present, the prisoner said more men in masks and police officers arrived. They were armed with riot gear. The inmate told Newsday the prison officers claimed they had been threatened.
“Next we heard was the prison officers saying ‘allyuh not coming out?’. Then one of the masked officers started opening the cells one by one and they started throwing tear gas. Then they started shooting us with rubber bullets.” He said as they ran out their cells, they were grabbed, bound with tie straps, beaten with batons and kicked. This, he said, was done in full view of the senior prison officer who was called to ensure they were not abused. Several of the inmates were taken for medical treatment.
A video of part of the incident was posted on social media.
“We are remanded prisoners still awaiting trial, and we are innocent until proven guilty, but when you reach here society sees you as guilty. Not everyone who is in remand is guilty of the offence they have been charged with.”
Commissioner of Prisons Gerard Wilson told Newsday yesterday the Prison Service is awaiting a response from Boodooram’s wife, Asha, to tell them whether his family would like a private or military funeral. He said counselling will be given to Boodooram’s family and colleagues.