ST JOHN’S, Antigua -- Prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, has reiterated his government’s policy of zero tolerance on crime and violence, as a prison officer was caught smuggling contraband into the prison during a sting operation mounted by the police.
The sting operation followed on the heels of the escape of two prisoners and a meeting between attorney general and minister responsible for the prison, Steadroy Benjamin, and the top brass of the police force and the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force.
Prison Officer Michael Mourillon was caught smuggling into the prison sixty grams of marijuana, cell phones, four lighters and bamboo. It is reported that upon reporting for his shift early on Saturday, a search was conducted of Mourillon and the food items in his possession, when the contraband items were discovered concealed in food items.
He was immediately arrested and charged and is expected to appear in court on Monday.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne
Browne said that he is very serious about having zero tolerance on crime and violence and particularly the full weight of the law will be brought to bear on individuals within the security forces including the police and prison who prejudice the integrity of the institutions.
“We want to ensure that Antigua and Barbuda remains a safe place for residents and visitors and therefore we have instituted a proactive approach, sending a strong signal to criminals that they will be dealt with severely,” Browne stated.
Benjamin said that investigations are also ongoing into two other officers who are being sought by the police for concealing in the prison drugs, alcohol and skin lightening cream.
“Any prison officer or member of the police force who is caught in any corrupt activity will be dismissed and will be dealt with by the courts. Failure is not an option for this government and we will remain proactive to ensure that we achieve this goal,” Benjamin stated.
Last week a special police task force sought and captured two dangerous criminals who escaped from the prison. One of the escaped prisoners, Avie Howell, who was serving two life sentences for murder, succumbed to gunshot wounds sustained during his recapture and died at the Mount St John’s Medical Centre.