… weapons, weed, cell phones, wine among contrabands foundAs Government heightens security activities across the country following credible information of a potential domestic threat, the Joint Services conducted raids at the Georgetown and New Amsterdam Prisons, during which several contraband items were unearthed.Some of the contraband items recovered by the Joint Services during raids at the Georgetown and New Amsterdam PrisonsThis was disclosed in a release from the Ministry of the Presidency on Saturday. The joint exercise – ‘Operation Safe Guard’ – was conducted by ranks from the Guyana Police Force (GPF) and the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) in collaboration with the Guyana Prison Service.Among the contraband items found and seized at the Georgetown Prison were 21 improvised weapons and knives, 20 razor blades, 558 grams of marijuana, 22 cellular phones and five gallons of homemade wine, along with a number of other banned items.However, a lesser number of items were found at the New Amsterdam Prison during the impromptu search exercise, which concluded sometime around 11:30h on Saturday at the Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) penitentiary.In total, the raids unearthed 21 weapons, 22 cellular phones and eight phone chargers, as well as four phone batteries and five SIM cards, 558 grams marijuana along with a quantity of ziplock bags and bamboo wrapper, nine packets of cigarettes and 45 lighters, one arrow, two scissors, four grabber hooks, 20 razor blades, one tattoo machine, $300 and TT$200 in cash, and some five gallons of homemade whine.According to the statement from the Ministry of the Presidency, the security forces are concerned about the fact that the Georgetown Prison was last searched on September 23, 2016, which means that the contraband items accumulated in just under two months.Nevertheless, Government is assuring the public that it will continue to work closely with the Guyana Prison Service and the Joint Services to address on-going security weaknesses at the nation’s correctional facilities.“The Guyana Police Force, along with the Joint Services where necessary, will continue to scale up security activities in targeted areas to ensure the security of residents and visitors across Guyana as the country enters the holiday season and in light of the up tick in criminal activity. The Government of Guyana continues to urge citizens to cooperate with the security forces,” the statement from the Ministry detailed.In March, a similar raid at the Georgetown Prison resulted in one of the most deadly unrests in the country, causing the death of 17 inmates and injuring several others, including prison officers at the city penitentiary.Inmates on remand at the facility started to protest after prison officials seized several contraband items during a raid at the Capital A section on March 2, 2016. In retaliation, the prisoners started several fires that night and another the following morning, which turned out to be deadly.Then on March 4, 2016, angry inmates lashed out again, kicking out the entire wooden wall of one of the buildings located South in the compound. This behaviour prompted Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan and Minister of State Joseph Harmon to meet with 18 prisoners who voiced their concerns about the living conditions in the Camp Street penitentiary.Government subsequently conducted a $13 million Commission of Inquiry into the prison unrests, which highlighted some of the main issues affecting the penal facility such as overcrowding and relapse into criminal behaviour after serving time.